Dune: A Fully Epic Review


After incessant delays and a production rocked by Covid-19, Dune has finally arrived in theaters as the messiah of cinema, moviegoers eagerly awaiting their rich and witty show. After revealing about twenty promising minutes, it was on Lido of Venice that the SF blockbuster directed by Denis Villeneuve and adapted from the cycle written by Frank Herbert presented itself to the world for the first time. Save the new epic or failure to adapt?

What Dune lacks to be a (nearly) perfect film: we’re talking about it here.

Many have broken teeth trying to adapt Dune behind the camera, even suggesting that Frank Herbert’s novel is doomed. And so, Arthur P. Jacobs, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Ridley Scott failed one by one, before David Lynch managed to meet the challenge. Unfortunately, his feature film was lambasted by the press and received a poor reception at the box office, closing Arrakis’ doors to theaters for over thirty years (we’ll avoid talking about the 2000 series no one remembers).

Hearing in 2017 that a new film was released by Warner and Legendary Pictures, helmed by Denis Villeneuve ( Sicario , Enemy , and especially the sequel to Blade Runner 2049 ) was more than a new hope for the spice fan community as well as fiction lovers. scientific. Finally, digital advances may be able to bring Herbert’s overcrowded and complex universe to life.

After four busy years of production, the film crew has stuck with it and Dune Part One (its official title) is for real. To avoid the suspense to linger any longer, you might as well reassure everyone by saying that Denis Villeneuve has succeeded with flying colors despite his reputation as a misfit book.

Dune is indeed based on a complex universe, with a plot that seems simple yet so rich, and has so many quirks (the way in which each character’s mind is diverted in the story, among other things) that getting to n’ capturing it’s substantive marrow is already a formidable challenge. large enough. Wisely, this project was soon announced as a diptych, allowing for better character development, to avoid boring shortcuts and finally, to better respect the scope of the story.

It’s impossible to know, at the time of writing this review, whether a second work will one day arrive on screen. However, Warner’s choice to accompany the Dune title with a thoughtful Part 1 has left a convincing hint about the studio’s desire not to stop the adventure along the way (and this, no matter what). It has to be said that it would be ridiculous not to finish Denis Villeneuve’s work because that’s all that the blockbuster genre hasn’t had in recent years.

Far from being simple Marvel and other superhero movies, Dune is carried by a mind-boggling density. Subtly, the screenplay co-written by Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve depicts both the political predicaments of the vast universe, while never forgetting to reflect on the impact of Man and his way of life, living with or against the environment that surrounds him. It’s usually the current question (for the ecology part) that clearly provides a story of more compelling relevance, resonance that dresses up the characters with just as much (if not more) challenges as ours.

However, it would be a waste to develop the subject of a cult novel if Dune’s screenplay didn’t go to great lengths to present the distinct specifics of Houses, planets, and other tribes. And however crazy, herein lies one of the feature film’s masterpieces: the ease of contextualizing one’s universe.

Without ever falling into excessive voiceover (except for its apt prologue), this feature film depicts its violence a bit more as the sequence progresses: Paul Atréides lessons, natural discussions between characters, encounters… Every second, the story is enriched without ever stopping to move forward. Except that his fortune was so great that he almost ended up being a deputy.

It’s simple enough, the feature film barely omits the main sequence from the first book of the Dune cycle (or at least, from the first two chapters) and is almost too faithful to it, preventing it from completely having its personality. But what’s more, feature films are meant to complement the book. In fact, some scenes were added to the already very busy adaptation program itself and if some of the choices hit the mark, others were somewhat to the detriment of a layman’s good understanding of Dune.

For example, if the introduction of the more luxurious Atreides houseled by Duke Leto (the impeccable Oscar Isaac) on the planet Caladan to be, the almost nonexistent characterization of Doctor Yueh (Chang Chen) is a shame given his role as a turning point. The whole number is also very confusing. If this is far from a real glitch (on the other hand, we won’t spit on a film with such complex problems and such a rich universe), on the. .

It is impossible to get bored in front of 2h35 Dune, but it is possible not to assimilate it all when one is new to the universe. Between Paul’s visions, Bene Gesserit’s quirks, Fremen’s prophecies, and regular bombardment, there’s rarely a moment where the audience can catch their breath to better internalize and be therefore moved. A little junkie however doesn’t prevent feature films from convincing, and just not at this level.