Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Dune (2021)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Author

An epic film which straddles the line between fantasy and science fiction. People and places and times so far removed from us and moments of magic push us towards fantasy, but the implied, very distant ties to Earth history, bull imagery, bagpipes, and palm trees remind us that this is our future, nudging things back toward science fiction.

Story is somewhat reminiscent of The Matrix (Paul is the “chosen one”) or even Avatar (love interest from another world), but there’s enough here to call it original. The “voice” reminds me of the “force” in Star Wars.

The technology and visual effects are dazzling, also reminiscent of Star Wars at times, especially in the desert scenes, though this all feels a bit more cyberpunk. The dragonfly ships are particularly cool, and the sand worm effects are spectacular.

Complementing the visuals is a wonderfully droning, bassy synth score. The music is an interesting mix of various cultures, with Arabic melodies and some didgeridoo added for good measure.

Chalamet, with his soulful eyes, definitely has a presence, even with that scrawny body. While he sometimes mumbles a bit, most of his dialogue is efficient and conscientious. Ferguson is one of the most underrated and beautiful actresses working today.

One issue I have with the film (and maybe the same issue exists in the source material) is the confusing array of characters, races, planets, and histories. In a fantasy, it’s often hard to keep everything straight, might need a second viewing to put it all together. The other issue I have is the pacing of the dialogue. I like what everyone is saying, but sometimes it’s delivered too quickly, especially when contrasted with other scenes that feature longer, contemplative landscape shots.

Villeneuve is becoming THE sci-fi guy for our generation. Can’t wait to see more from him, though I guess we’ll have to wait until he’s done with the Dune sequel.

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