Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Running Time: 155 mins
Dune is an American film about the arrival of a powerful dukedom on the planet of Arrakis, whose presence serves to continue mining of valuable spice, and to bring peace after the planet’s previous oppressors.
A blockbuster on a grand scale like no other, Dune is a mesmerising, massive sci-fi epic that blends spectacular visuals, thrilling action and detailed, patient storytelling to deliver a truly enthralling watch from start to finish.
Lasting for over two and a half hours and playing out at a fairly leisurely pace, Dune may seem like a daunting prospect for fans of the sci-fi blockbuster. However, while it may not be as fast-paced as the likes of Star Wars, Dune is so rich in depth and detail that there’s never a dull moment throughout.
Based on the legendary novel by Frank Herbert, and directed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049), there’s no denying that Dune is something truly special, which has both the appeal of a grand, exciting Hollywood blockbuster and a fresh, thought-provoking and emotionally enthralling story.
Dune combines the classic tale of a chosen one rising to hero status with a complex and intricate story of political and economic wrangling in an interstellar society in the near future, meaning it has far more to offer than just another hero’s quest.
Admittedly, there’s a lot about Dune that feels very familiar to Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, with that hero’s journey comparable to Luke Skywalker’s own story, and the political context of the world the film takes place in reminiscent of the Galactic Empire in the galaxy far, far away.
However, while Dune will certainly appeal to Star Wars fans, this film isn’t afraid to go a little further into the depths of emotional darkness, combining the depth of its sci-fi lore with brilliant character exposition that makes enthralling personalities out of every member of its A-list ensemble cast.
From Timothée Chalamet to Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Zendaya and many more, this film is so much more than the classic hero’s journey it might seem on the surface, with riveting political and emotional depth to be found wherever you look.
While its runtime and slow pace may seem dauting, director Denis Villeneuve wastes not a single moment here, using every scene in Dune to further the mystery at the heart of its story, and to develop the lore that makes it such an exhilarating watch throughout.
The slow pacing, dark visuals and ominous score from Hans Zimmer all serve to give the film a mesmerising atmosphere, but Dune doesn’t neglect the importance of fun, action-packed blockbuster fare either.
In between the film’s slowest and darkest moments, there are a handful of genuinely thrilling action scenes, brought to life by spectacular visual effects, and made all the more exhilarating by the stakes that the film explains to you through its patient and perfectly-plotted screenplay.
All of this makes Dune one of the most complete sci-fi experiences you’ll have seen on the big screen in a long time. And with the promise of more to come in future, the film is a mouth-watering prospect to watch again and again to dive deeper into its enthralling fantasy. So, that’s why I’m giving Dune an 8.3 overall.