“Dune”: a story sanded in glory


Warner Bros

Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson demonstrate the fullest of their talents in Denis Villeneuve’s recent sci-fi epic “Dune.”

Sanchali Pandey, Staff Writer

Bursting with stunning visuals, magnificent set pieces and phenomenal acting, director Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” is nothing short of a masterpiece. “Dune,” which debuted on Oct. 22, 2021 is the second film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s bestselling, quasi-biblical novel of the same name. Set in the far future, the movie follows Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet) and his parents the noble Duke Leto Atreides (played by Oscar Issac) and Lady Jessica (played by Rebecca Ferguson) as they are pulled into a war for Arrakis, the danger-strewn desert planet.

In spite of the novel “Dune’s” abounding popularity, any cinematic adaptations thus far have been firecelry rejected—as seen by the Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt to bring the book to the big screen in the mid-1970s and David Lynch’s spectacularly subpar 1984 version. Here is where Villeneuve (who is most prominently known for his ambitious science fiction films like “Blade Runner 2049”) comes in. What he manages to do with his new big-screen adaption of the book is—unlike its predecessors—truly remarkable. What, perhaps, “Dune” does best is make itself equally engrossing to those who have read the novel and those who have not. 

While viewers who come from having no previous background knowledge of the movie’s origins may be quick to dismiss the film as “too complicated” or “hard to understand,” what they likely fail to understand is that “Dune” is not looking to be utterly understood by non-book readers. Rather, they must simply sit back and understand that every little detail in the movie might not be understood, and that it is okay. “Dune” is meant to be experienced, not nitpicked extensively. For viewers who have come reading the novel, “Dune” is simply a delight as it follows its origins closely and feels almost exactly as if the book has been brought to life. 

One of the key elements of this movie’s elevated nature is its stunning visuals and cinematography. Immediately from the first few scenes, you are whisked away to an unknown world awash with breathtaking stretches of sand, glimmering images of the sun, and absolutely chilling yet equally mesmerizing sandworms that plow their way through the story. Villeneuve’s immersive storytelling brings the fictional world of “Dune” to life and shockingly does so with the use of minimal CGI, with it primarily being filmed in the deserts of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. 

The casting is a spectacle in and of itself. With Timothée Chalamet shining in the central role of Paul Atreides, your eyes are even further opened to his undeniable talent. His astounding ability to make even a mere glance scream a thousand words is reflected in his character’s portrayal, further adding to the film. Rebbeca Ferguson’s depiction of Lady Jessica is also completely enthralling, with her finding the tough balance between showing stoicism and emotion and bringing it to the screen to elevate her character. It can be said that truly all of those who acted in this movie had a role in further bringing it to life. 

“Dune” did what it had intended to do and more. It weaves all of us into a deep, intricate tale of science fiction and keeps it in our minds for long after watching it. It highly deserves a watch (or two!).