Section: Arts

“Dune” is a thought-provoking blockbuster, despite its flaws

With an influx of new films hitting the theaters this fall, moviegoers flocked to the big screen once again for the new sci-fi film “Dune.” Adapted from the six-book saga by Frank Herbert and directed by Denis Villanueve, this epic story begins to unfold in the first movie of what will be a duology in the “Dune” universe. 

With such an unfamiliar dystopian storyline, the film might seem a bit strange to movie-watchers not normally interested in sci-fi (such as myself). Additionally, even though the movie has a massive cast of A-list actors and actresses, the reality of those characters’ time on screen falls a bit short. But after watching the two-and-a-half-hour, action-packed motion picture, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

First, I should emphasize that “Dune” is only the first half of the story. Because of this, the climaxes of the storyline don’t really occur in this movie — “Dune” acts more as a prequel for the other half of the story. Many reviews of the movie seemed disappointed by its incomplete nature and weren’t satisfied with the number of unanswered questions and cliffhangers. However, as filming for the second movie is already planned for this coming July, many fans (including myself) are excited that the story will continue. 

Second, as monumental as it seems, the movie’s cast is a bit lacking in terms of their screen time in the movie. The main characters of the noble Atreides family — Lord Atreides, Lady Atreides and their son Paul, played by Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson and Timothee Chalamet, respectively — are the only figures constantly shown throughout the movie. The Atreides family is the new noble line appointed by the emperor of their intergalactic world to rule over a land called Arrakis — similar in landscape and atmosphere to the Star Wars planet of Tatooine — where the majority of the plot takes place. Characters played by Josh Brolin and Jason Mamoa serve the Atreides family and are close to Paul, but are not seen often in the movie. 

Other main actors that fans expected to have big roles in the huge film, such as Zendaya or Javier Bardem, serve as supplementary characters to Paul’s development, but only act in about 10-15 minutes cumulatively in the two-and-a-half-hour movie. Despite only being on screen with Lady Atreides and Paul in the last five minutes of the film, the characters were supposed to share deep connections with the Atreides family. Some fans were disappointed, but other members of the audience seemed very excited to see where these characters would take the plot in the sequel.

After “Dune” finished and I walked out of the theater, my head was filled with many unanswered questions. More so, however, I was fascinated by Villenueve’s world building. Ultimately, the plot and setting explain the extraterrestrial world phenomenally, and the storytelling definitely makes “Dune” one of the more memorable and impressive cinematic feats of the year. 

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