Review: Dune (2021)

Dune is probably my most anticipated film of the year so when my local cinema was offering up a preview screening on Monday night, I wasn’t about to turn it down. I read Frank Herbert’s novel in high school and I was obsessed with Dune 2000 on the PS1. There was a time where pretty obsessed with Dune.

So, fast forward to present day and after what seems like forever, Denis Villeneuve’s adaption is about to hit screens big and small across the globe. I’ve really enjoyed a lot of Denis Villeneuve’s previous work such as Prisoners, Blade Runner 2049 and personally think that Sicario is one of the best films of the last decade but with all that in mind I can’t help but feel a little disappointed in Dune.

There’s no denying the film looks spectacular. It is a visual masterpiece and the sound design of the film is just as impressive. The score, simply amazing and the acting simply sublime. So, why was I disappointed? Well, it has been well documented going into Dune that the film was only the first half the Frank Herbert’s novel leaving much of the story untold and as a result the film feels incomplete.

I don’t think it really works on it’s own merit as a lot of what the film does is lay the groundwork for what’s still to come in the currently unproduced sequel. Imagine watching Jurassic Park and the film cuts off just as the island loses power. That’s effectively what’s happening here. Dune is a 2hr prologue of a better, more interesting film and it just doesn’t work for me.

Should Dune not do well and Dune Part Two ends up unmade, then Denis Villeneuve version of Dune is going to become a bigger failure than the David Lynch film from 1984. I hope, beyond all hope, that everyone goes out to see this film and the sequel gets fast tracked because I’d honestly love to see it but there’s another issue I have with Dune that may stop that from happening and that’s just the scope of what’s happening.

You see, I don’t really think Dune is a particularly easy film to digest for the masses. There’s a lot of complexity and moving parts and maybe I’m just dumb, but if it wasn’t for my pre existing knowledge of what was going on, I’m not really sure how easy it would be to follow certain things.

I wanted to love this film, I really did but essentially Dune is nothing more than proof of concept for a sequel that may never come. I’d love to be wrong, I really would but I don’t see this doing as well as Warner Bros. are hoping and in turn I find it highly unlikely we’re going to get the second part that everyone is going to want.

Maybe, it would have been better as a big budget limited series on HBO or maybe they could have just made one, 3hr epic with an extended version for home video or something because no matter what way I look at this, no matter how much I enjoyed what I saw, I can’t get away from this feeling that I’ve been short changed and given a half a movie because Warner Bros. didn’t have the faith required to see the project through to completion.

by Edward Laing

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for the good article, I hope you continue to work as well.

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