Some films are produced without the intention of creating an enjoyable theater-specific experience, but instead for home viewing. Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, on the other hand, seems to be the exact reason theaters were created. Based on Frank Herbert’s acclaimed book series, Dune, titled onscreen as Dune: Part One, is a modern-day cinematic epic that tells a simple yet substantial story. The original book is regarded as one of the most influential science fiction novels of all time, providing inspiration to Star Wars, Star Trek, and various other works. When Legendary Entertainment acquired the rights to Herbert’s works after David Lynch’s poorly received film adaptation in 1984, the studio decided to split the project into two chapters. The sequel officially received the green-light days after Dune’s release, as the studio had wished to see the critical reception of the first film before a deal was solidified.
Since the novel has had a mixed history of adaptations, a coherent story and an all-star cast is required to make it successful, both of which are present in the 2021 picture. The movie follows Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet, as he and his family are assigned by the Galactic Emperor to take control of the harsh desert world of Arrakis. However, a series of mysterious visions and political intrigue bring the planet close to another formidable force that threatens Paul and House Atreides. Other cast members include Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Zendaya as Chani, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, and Stellan Skarsgård as the terrifying Baron of Harkonnen. The high-quality cast is complemented by the captivating tale being told. In an age of extreme film criticism, the cast and plot were both vital factors in the movie’s success, as well as maintaining a fan’s perception of the original story.
While the film’s ensemble cast and narrative is entertaining, an audience member’s biggest takeaway from Dune is bound to be its visuals. Villeneuve’s impressive utilization of cinematography and scope can only be properly experienced on the big screen, as the imagery and camerawork is commonly used to express the sheer size of the monstrous dune worms, massive starships, and vast desert landscapes. Dune is a visually beautiful movie that allows movie theaters to unleash their full potential.
Villeneuve’s 2021 adaptation of Dune is not just an enthralling or visually stunning film. It is a love letter to Frank Herbert’s original work that introduces the tale to a new generation of moviegoers. Audiences will peruse and appreciate the movie they have been given as they await the release of Dune: Part Two in 2023.