Film Review – Dune: Part One (2021)

Title – Dune: Part One (2021) 

Director – Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners

Cast – Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem, Zendaya

Plot – A partial adaptation of Frank Herbert’s famous Dune novel that follows the exploits of Paul Atreides (Chalamet) and his family as they are sent to rule over the spice filled lands of the dessert clad planet of Arrakis, a planet that will become the epicenter of a galaxy defining war.  

“Dreams make good stories, but everything important happens when we’re awake”

Review by Eddie on 06/12/2021

Disclaimer – This review is based off the IMAX 2D version of the film. 

Thank goodness the wait is over!

Since 2010 when his critically acclaimed Incendies was released, director Denis Villeneuve has staked a fairly undeniable claim to be regarded as the most consistent and high functioning director working in Hollywood over the past decade, with his first of a hopeful trilogy Dune: Part One only strengthening his reputation as an elite and visionary filmmaker. 

Following on fellow genre classics Blade Runner: 2049 and Arrival, as well as acclaimed thrillers Sicario and Prisoners, Villeneuve brings Frank Herbert’s esteemed novel to life in unforgettable fashion with a sweeping and grandiose epic that demands to be seen on the big screen, offering up an unrivaled cinematic experience that transports you to another time and place as we are thrown into the dangerous sand covered lands of the spice rich world of Arrakis.

Favoring practical sets, locations and effects as much as possible and clearly operating under significant amounts of labors of love, Dune is that rare type of modern Hollywood blockbuster that feels both new and old in approach, with Villeneuve and his team that includes Oscar worthy work from the films cinematographer Greig Fraser, legendary composer Hans Zimmer (ensuring some seat rattling and unique accompaniments) and fine work from Villeneuve and his fellow screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth who manage to create a partial adaptation of Herbert’s book that is easy to understand for newcomers and respectful of those that are long time fans, create an all round package that still leaves you wanting more after two and half hours of running time. 

Featuring a smorgasbord of some of the most instantly iconic imagery of the year and set pieces that put many other counterparts to shame, for all its visual and atheistic glory, what is most pleasing about Villeneuve’s grand adventure is the fact his managed to ensure all the films main characters are fully lived in and either likable or in the case of Stellan Skarsgård’s downright detestable and grotesque Baron Vladimir Harkonnen absolutely someone you love to hate and thanks to this the small moments of Dune are just as enjoyable as any moments featuring hand to hand combat or worms you most definitely would not want in your garden. 

In perhaps his most star testing outing yet being front and centre to Villeneuve’s outing, rising Hollywood star Timothee Chalamet does some of his finest work yet as the complicated Paul Atreides and in moments where he is sharing the screen with his parents played by Oscar Isaac (staking a claim to the years best movie beard) and Rebecca Ferguson or trusted friend Duncan (played by a shockingly beardless Jason Momoa) or other moments where he is fighting for his life in the unforgiving landscape of Arrakis, Chalamet makes for the perfect centerpiece to what is going to be one of the modern eras greatest cinematic trilogies.

There’s the potential that some viewers may find Dune’s proceedings slow or viewers that are unable to invest themselves into the many concepts and avenues Dune is keen to explore but for those that are willing, their time on Villeneuve’s Arrakis will be a trip they will want to partake in on more than one occasion. 

Final Say – 

An absolute must-see big screen spectacle, Dune: Part One is pure unadulterated cinematic bliss that sets in motion a journey that is hopefully only just beginning, further strengthening Denis Villeneuve’s claim to be seen as the best director currently working today. 

5 bagpipe players out of 5  

27 responses to “Film Review – Dune: Part One (2021)

  1. I don’t know if Villeneuve is the best director of his time, but I do agree he did an amazing job on Arrakis. Superb translation of the Herbert spirit, thanks to Roth certainly, absolutely the best ever made on screen. “that demands to be seen on the big screen”, you’re absolutely right on this too.

    • I think Villeneuve has been the most consistent filmmaker over the last 10 years, in another few decades we can see where his at in the all time list but his so far had a fairly flawless filmography.
      E

  2. Thanks for the astute review. I’ve been hearing various notes about his latest version–both positive and negative–but having discovered Dune the novel many (many) years ago and loving every sci-fi aspect, I was truly hoping this would be a good treatment. (Of course I have seen the previous 1984 version as well and found it excellent as well — albeit a bit quirky at times)

  3. I saw Dune yesterday and loved it. Maybe not as much as I had hope – 4/5 stars for me. It’s is an exceptional film though. Villeneuve is a master director. As much as it felt like a slow burn at times, it had some very fine moments. As part 1 of 2 of Villeneuve’s vision for Dune, it definitely sets up the story and gives its characters much depth.

    • Glad you enjoyed it mate! I have been telling everyone regardless of how they might feel at the end its one they need to try see on the big screen for the maximum effect!
      I am intrigued to see whether they try and tell everything in two films or perhaps go for the trilogy.
      E

      • This is definitely a movie you want to see on the big screen. I’m tipping Dune will get a few Oscar nominations. Possibly editing and sound. I was blown away by the sound yesterday. My seat vibrated so much I thought I was going to take off.

      • The production and sound design was incredible mate! I think it will clean sweep all the technical awards at the Oscars.
        I really enjoyed Hans Zimmer’s very unique soundtrack too.
        E

      • By the way, I was left perplexed a little with the fate of Gurney Halleck’s fate, the character played by Josh Brolin. I don’t know if that was an oversight or deliberate plot point. I haven’t read the book, so we will see. I’m going to assume he is alive!

      • I am with you but my assumption is that if we didn’t see it it didn’t happen! I would love to see more of his character.
        E

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  5. I saw Dune in late October and I was absolutely blown away with the visuals and the story telling. I never read any of the novels so in a sense, I went into the movie blind and did not know what to expect but I left the cinema very pleased with the movie.

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