So this is it. Our first Dune review at Last Movie Outpost.
I am a fan of the original Dune (1984). It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid movie in my opinion. The story of Frank Herbert’s Dune is complex and really well told. The movie does suffer from the SFX and the casting. The SFX are now very dated. Some of the sets are amazing, but overall it’s let down. Same with the cast, some of them are great in the roles but then you have people like Sting and Alicia Witt, who let it down.
I have been looking forward to seeing Dune (2021) since I heard about it. I have always thought the movie needed a remake and then finding out it was Denis Villenueve directing it I couldn’t have been happier. I loved his Blade Runner 2049 and some of his other movies. I was excited.
I should have been watching the movie last December, but no, it was pushed back and back again. So today was the day I was able to put my ass in a cinema seat and experience it on the big screen, just as Denis wanted me to.
If you love sci-fi, as I do, then you must have seen the original movie and have probably read the book. I don’t read much, so I only knew the original movie. I’m not going to say much about the story since it is wonderfully complex…in a good way. It’s not overly done, but there is a great narrative to follow. I will be comparing it a lot to the original, for all the obvious reasons.
This movie is spectacular for the eyes and the ears. The visuals are amazing. In fact I’d say this is the most stunning sci-fi movie I have ever seen. There wasn’t a single moment or scene where I didn’t believe was real. You know how in some movies there is a bit of dodgy CG and it takes you out of the movie for a moment? Dune had none of this, they have really spent the time making sure it is set in a “real” universe.
In my head, I was trying to think of when I had last seen something so epic. Gladiator maybe? I would have said the end of The Rise of Skywalker, but that scene at the end where all the ships turn up is just bloody stupid! It didn’t feel epic in any way.
Dune, however, felt epic. There was definitely nothing stupid about it. I put it on a scale of things like (the original) Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments or Cleopatra. There are huge sets, a huge cast, lots of costumes, and a great big budget. Things that you need to be able to use the word ‘epic’.
The same with the sound and music. I don’t have a big sound system at home, I have never been bothered with it, but the sound in the cinema… wow! You can feel the bass. When Paul uses ‘the voice’ the bass shakes your seat.
The music is, well… interesting. I couldn’t make up my mind if I like it or not. All of the music fits the scenes, such as when it cuts to the Harkonnen homeworld with a kind of Mongolian throat singing which really fits the dark and dingy world of the villains.
One minor issue I did have was with the sound, as there were a couple of times I just couldn’t hear what was being said. I found a few lines spoken by the Baron, especially, that I just didn’t get at all. It was annoying, but I will get them on the next watch, because I will definitely be seeing this again.
The story is very close to the book, so my friend I saw it with told me. It is a simple story about different worlds and different families battling for power over one planet, Arrakis. Here is where spice, the most expensive commodity in the universe, is found. That is the bare minimum of the story, there is so much more to it, but I’m going to take it you know the story. If you don’t then you are in for a treat of a political adventure on an epic scale.
This is where I did have a problem, the end of the movie is not the end I expected. If you know the original, Paul and Jessica find the Fremen and befriend them, get taken into their culture, train them, and lead them to victory over the planet…well, none of that happens in this movie. It ends as Paul and Jessica meet the Fremen. That is when it ends!
This actually really pissed me off! I could have happily watched another hour of the movie, but it was over and I had the knowledge that Part 2 has apparently been greenlit, according to some inside Warner Bros sources who remain unconfirmed. I just want to see it now!
*End Of Spoilers*
There is a huge difference with the storytelling from the 1984 version. There is a lot more detail. The characters are expanded a lot and the relationships are explored more. I was very happy about this. It added a lot more for me, only knowing the original movie.
I won’t go into detail about all the characters, but here is what I noticed.
Paul Atreides is the main focus of the movie, played originally by Kyle MacLachlan and in the new version played by Timothy Chalamet. I found that in the original MacLachlan was a much more confident Paul. He was the son of a Duke and you could tell he had had formal training. I liked how he felt strong and confident.
Chalamet was wimpy at first. This annoyed me to begin with, but as the movie went on you really saw him grow and become more of a man. I’m really interested to see how Paul develops over the next (hopefully) movie.
I will say that Chalamet is a really good actor. His performance is believable and you feel for him all the way through the movie.
Lady Jessica, Paul’s mother and wife of the Duke, was played by Francsca Annis in the original. Here it is Rebecca Fergusson and there was a huge difference here. In the Lunch version Jessica is just kind of there and helps the story along. In this new version you understand her a lot better.
Fergusson plays this really well, she loves her husband and her son, but she is also devoted to her religion. The Bene Gesserit sisters have been planning and arranging things for thousands of years. You really feel for Jessica in this version and see the conflict she has to face which may cost her her son.
The Baron was my biggest issue or disappointment. In the original, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was played by Kenneth McMillan. He was perfect for the role. He is covered with face sores and so fat he cannot walk. In the original, I loved how you could practically smell him he was so disgusting.
In this new version the Baron is played by Stellan Skarsgard. He is great and yet… and yet, I didn’t feel repulsed by him. He is evil, gross, and overweight. You completely get how bad he is, but he just didn’t have the same effect as McMillan.
Chani was played by Sean Young in the original and here is played by Zendaya. I will say I’m not a fan of Zendaya. There’s nothing wrong with her or her acting, I just don’t rate her as much as some people do. I can’t say I didn’t like her in this, she was very good, but I felt they made more of a big deal out of her.
At the beginning of the movie, she is talking about the struggle of her people on Arrakis. It feels a little political with social commentary overtones. They do move past this quickly and I soon forgot about it all, since I was quickly became invested in Paul and his story.
I would go into more details about the rest of the cast. There isn’t much to say about them other than they are all pretty much perfect as their characters. Beast Rabban is Dave Bautista, Stilga is Javier Bardem, Gurney is Josh Brolin and they all do a really good job.
When you see this new version, you will compare it to both the 1984 movie and the novel. I feel a little jealous of those who haven’t seen the Lynch movie and will experience this for the first time. It is a big-screen movie. I know there is a copy kicking around online but I’m so glad I didn’t spoil it for myself and experienced it on the big screen.
This was the first time back at the cinema for me since Tenet and I’m so glad I did wait to see it on the big screen, it was totally worth it.
I will be watching Dune again, and again, and again! If rumors are true, there is a 4 hour plus directors cut, which I would love to see!
According to rumors Dune Part 2 has been green lit… so pull you finger out Denis, crack on!