Denis Villeneuve reimagines Frank Herbert’s high-flown science fiction novel Dune. Adapting a book seems like a daunting task, especially for timeless classics. Dune’s rich and complex universe might seem unrealizable in a concrete visual form. Many have tried but have proven to be ineffective interpretations. David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune, released in 1984, gained poor reception by fans and critics during its time. Venerated director Alejandro Jorodovsky also sought to make his film. It was said to be one of the greatest films to be made but later was halted for financial reasons. Villeneuve, on the other hand, is no stranger to adaptation or the science-fiction genre. Much like his Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Villeneuve's venture into Dune presents us with compelling visuals that encompass a tasteful mix of thrill, action, gore, and fantasy.

 

To those unfamiliar with the lore of Dune: the story revolves around a young Paul Atreides, played by Timothy Chalamet, the son of Duke Leto, leader of the house of Atreides. The family is commanded to seize control of Arrakis, a desert planet rich in spice melange. Spice is one of the most valuable resources in the galaxy. It provides medicinal, psychoactive, and life-enhancing benefits to people. The young Paul, prophesied to be the messiah, is pitted against Baron Vladimir of the House of Harnoken, Arrakis' long-serving ruler. The Baron attempts to destroy the whole house of Atreides to gain the full power of Arrakis. And in order to defeat the regime, Paul seeks an alliance with the Fremen who are natives of the desert planet. They are skeptical about his intentions. Paul's journey is to unfold in the later films.

The universe of Dune offers us a complex world-building. With so many ideologies and sub-themes to be tackled, Dune: Part One, offers us but a glimpse of Frank Herbet’s novel. The film perfectly fits into our self-aware culture covering political, environmental, and religious issues. As it does not overlook the most pressing socioeconomic predicament confronting each generation, past or future: the never-ending struggle between imperial elites and the masses. Even though Dune is in a universe that is much different from our own, its ideas and concerns resonate with current affairs, making it remarkably relevant.

The production filmed on location in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates to capture the magnificence of Arrakis deserts. The production company, Legendary Studios, partnered with London-based visual effects and animation company DNEG to bring us the best dynamic imagery. Unlike many science fiction films, Dune does not spoon-feed you with establishing shots. Instead, Dune allows you to feel the world around it with sensory details. Bringing you an immersive experience like the feeling of the sand or the sound of The Voice. The visuals coupled with the non-linear editing makes Dune a cinematic masterpiece.

Even though the movie is two hours and 35 minutes long, it still leaves a lot out. Some might say that the film is too ambitious and it is impossible to fit all aspects of the book into one movie. They are right. As expected, Dune will not give you much closer as the long-awaited sequel Dune: Part Two is to be released on October 20, 2023, by Warner Bros. Studios.

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