Movie #24 2022: Dune (2021)

Most remakes never needed to be remade. I think we can all agree on that. The weird thing about Dune is that the original 1984 film was almost universally panned by critics (click HERE to read a scathing Roger Ebert review as an example), and therefore there was a clear need for something to be done about that. Don’t look now… But this is absolutely my favourite new watch of the year so far. No doubt.

It’s pretty difficult to condense the plot into a short synopsis and frankly, I’m not sure I could do it justice. So let me just leave this here from my friends at Letterboxd:

Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

I didn’t really know if anything this awards season would top CODA for me. But I stand corrected. You know though, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy Dune very much… but fuck it all, I think Denis Villeneuve is officially now one of my favourite directors. What a filmmaker he is. 

As someone who has never seen David Lynch’s divisive 1984 movie or read the Frank Herbert novel, I had absolutely no pre-conceived thoughts on what this was going to be. Now though, I feel fully immersed in this world and am eager to see what happens next in Part II. It is incredibly well-written, everything is necessary to the plot and to aid audience understanding, and there is nothing I feel should have been cut… which is something I rarely say, especially about movies of this length. (Perhaps I made a genius choice when I decided to watch it with subtitles, and so I challenge anyone who disliked Dune even slightly to go and re-watch it with the closed captions on.)

On the contrary to my usual qualms about film length, the 156 minute run time absolutely flew by. If anything, I could have sat through another 90 minutes. Visually, Dune is simply and utterly compelling; the rolling desert landscapes, the often ominous and villainous shadows, even the lighting design provided me with something I’d never quite seen before. Fully deserving of every Oscar nomination it has garnered, I’ll be gutted if it doesn’t actually win anything. 

Man, it’s actually quite hard to describe how good this movie is. Even Hans Zimmer – with all his accolades and prowess – outdoes himself with this one. Yep, it is even Hans Zimmer’s best work, for crying out loud. There’s not a single moment I’d change, actually. Not to mention that every single cast member in a rock solid ensemble cast was wonderful, especially Rebecca Ferguson, who does some phenomenal acting here. 

I have no choice but to give Dune 5 stars, to be honest. Usually it’s quite easy to find a negative within a movie, or at least something that could be improved upon. But I’m struggling to do so with this one. Pure cinematic goodness of the highest calibre.

Dune is available to rent on Apple TV+ and the Google Play Store for £4.99 in the UK – trust me, it’s well worth the current price tag. Make sure you watch it in the dark.

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