‘Dune’ doesn’t disappoint

Film is a refreshing take on an old classic


Fair use from Warner Bros.

Maren Wilsey

“Dune” has undoubtedly been one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. After several delays, the film has finally been released — and I have to say I was impressed. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, it boasts an impressive cast of Hollywood A-listers including Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya. 

The film was the second adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert. I’ve seen the original movie before and I can safely say it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Naturally, I couldn’t help but compare the two as I watched this version. I was hoping for a significant improvement, as sci-fi movie technology has improved a lot since the ‘80s and Denis Villeneuve is one of the best sci-fi directors in the business. I am happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.

My biggest issue from the 1984 original was how sloppy it felt. There were countless plot holes, the story felt rushed to the point of absurdity in some parts and it was so slow that I nearly fell asleep in others. I spent a large part of the time just trying to understand the premise due to the lack of worldbuilding. One of the things that bothered me most was that it tried to take itself so seriously, yet had Sting’s character (who is absent from the 2021 version) introduced by stepping through a wall of steam in an armored Speedo. Yes, it was the ‘80s but it was absurd even for the time. 

I am very happy to say the 2021 adaptation had none of these issues. The film spent lots of time meticulously laying out the background for the complicated story. Having some background knowledge definitely helped me understand it better, however, even without it, it would have been clear and understandable. The plot seemed very carefully thought out and was easy to follow. It was a beautifully made film all around — the cinematography was incredible. I think the creators took care to make sure none of the past mistakes of the old version were repeated. 

The film not only told a powerful story visually, but it masterfully used the music to tell it as well. With a score by Hans Zimmer, this isn’t surprising. The composer is widely renowned as one of the best in his field. Much of the drama and suspense of the story is communicated by the contrast of noise and silence so the music plays as crucial a role as the actors themselves. Zimmer captures the magic of the story perfectly.

A small disappointment was how abruptly the film ended. It felt like a lot of the time was spent building up to a moment that never happened. It says in the opening credits that this was “Part One,” implying there will be a sequel at some point in the future. However, after a quick Google search I learned there currently aren’t any official plans for a sequel in the works. Villeneuve said he always intended to have two films, splitting the plot of the book into two. I hope this plan becomes a reality, as it would give so much more closure to the story that is set up in the first movie. 

Another issue I had with the movie was it’s length. With a runtime of two hours and 35 minutes, it is a very long movie. The story is well-done, but could have easily been cut down in places to speed it up. There are several action packed moments but almost everything in between is pretty boring — a good story, but boring. I think we definitely could have done with half as many shots of Zendaya gazing pensively into the desert. 

In conclusion, I was very impressed with ‘Dune.’ The cinematography was top-notch, the score was stunning and the acting so real it felt like you were there. I’m very happy I chose to see it in theaters as the sweeping shots of the film felt like they were made to be seen on the big screen. So long as you’re willing to commit three hours to watching it, I promise you won’t be disappointed. 

“Dune”: ★★★★☆