Dune - New Release Review
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Oscar Issac, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård , Javier Bardem
Written by: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
Produced by: Cale Boyter, Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr.
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Original Score by: Hans Zimmer
Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
'Dune' is very much the beginning of something very, very exciting. From the offset Villeneuve injects the movie with heavy foreshadowing and character establishment. The pacing of this film may feel slow for some, but I found the highs and lows to be well balanced and kept me drawn into the unfolding story of galactic power play and space Jesus prophecy.
The members of this star-studded cast give A+ performances, in particular, the Chalamet/Ferguson/Isaac family dynamic has us rooting for House Atreides. In addition, Duncan Idaho (Momoa), the sword-master of House Atreides and one of Paul's mentors, enters the film with a similar energy as his 'Aquaman' character. However, as his narrative progresses, we get a far greater sense of purpose and added another string to House Atreides’ audience appeal bow.
All the character's alignments and intentions are laid bare for the audience, and the performances reinforce what we’re seeing but the prophecy laid before us may not be as straightforward as we and the characters first perceive. It is through the conviction of the cast's performance that maintain that same wavelength. Denis Villeneuve and Grieg Fraser’s impact on this reimagining is simply stunning. Each shot is a visual feast for the eyes. Every detail and action are done with such careful intent that there is no mistaking the passionate consideration that has been taken to bring Herbert’s words to the screen. There is one particular shot involving water that produced an audible exhale of admiration from me.
Hans Zimmer’s score is expectantly epic and does not disappoint. It has been said that Zimmer is a big fan of Frank Herbert’s original novel and turned down scoring Christopher Nolan’s 'Tenet' to work on this score instead. The range and diversity of the score’s pieces are phenomenal, with different soundscapes for each of the worlds and the galactic houses. My personal favourite track is House Atreides, 5 minutes in features synthesized bagpipes and military style percussion, played during the arrival of House Atreides on Arrakis. Another track of note is Shai-hulud, a particularly ominous piece of music that accompanies the Sardaukar, an elite military force of the Padishah Emperor who served prominently during the Corrino Empire, as they prepare for battle with a sacred ritual that involves a low, droning throat chant in one of the film's scenes.
For me, the 'Dune' (trilogy, possibly saga?) has the potential to be an epic space opera. A slow burn that fills me with anticipation for what is to come in Part Two. Watch this space.
- Danny Brown