Director: Denis Villeneuve Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgaard, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster Running Time: 156 minutes
Frank Herbert’s Dune is today considered one of the sci-fi forefathers, a richly told epic with much on its mind and an influence on everyone, from George Lucas to Hayao Miyazaki. Adapting the story itself on screen has proven…challenging, for many reasons, the material dense on its own merits and a challenge to capture the eye of audiences without everything that drew from it already obscuring the view.
Where Jodorowsky failed and David Lynch befuddled, now Denis Villeneuve steps in with a new effort to make Dune a success. His weapon of choice is the modern blockbuster model, a brutalist exercise in asserting box-office through sheer force of will. Every tool in the arsenal – the all-star cast, the source material devotion, the enormous runtime, the spoiler seclusion and sequel hooks – they’re all out there to get Dune over and get the Part Two in future that this film’s opening title implies, fans, stans and studios. The drive is considerable, and tautological: Dune here is a big name franchise because it looks like, moves like and is certainly budgeted like a big name franchise.
Has it got ambition? Unquestionably. Scale? Massively. Heart? Well. Um.