The highly anticipated movie “Dune” was released in theaters across the U.S. on Oct. 22, 2021 after a delay from an initial release date of Nov. 20, 2020.
“Dune” is a science fiction movie based on the 1965 book written by Frank Herbert and is not the first film adaptation; the first was released in 1984. I have not had a chance to watch the original attempt at adapting “Dune,” but the majority of the reviews are negative, as viewers have complained that it’s confusing and catered to die-hard fans of the novel.
With that being said, there was room for improvement with the new movie. Having read the book, I was skeptical that the movie would be able to capture all of the intricacies and details Herbert crafted within his nearly 1,000 page novel. However, I was pleasantly surprised and almost shocked at the film’s adherence to the book. For me, a film adaptation of a book should be just that—as close as possible to the content and essence of the book, without taking liberties to make it more “cinematic” or “exciting” just to make more money. Luckily, “Dune” avoided that and instead very effectively captured the intense scenes and unique settings that made the book so memorable. It was revealed at the end of the movie that this was just the first part and a second addition would be released later, which I think was the right move in order not to miss any details.
Prior to viewing the movie, I heard various reviews across the board, some giving high praise, and others calling it a “flop,” claiming it didn’t live up to their expectations. Many of the more negative reviews complained of false expectations the trailer set up. Some felt that the movie did not include nearly as much action or scenes with Zendaya as was suggested. As a lover of the more contemplative, personal aspects of movies, I did not mind the lack of action at all and appreciated the boundary they were willing to break by creating a sci-fi movie with minimal action. In fact, the focus on developing the characters was very clear, with stand-out performances from Timotheé Chalamet as Paul Altreides and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica. You felt the strong mother-son bond Chalamet and Ferguson were able to convey through heart-breaking, stressful, and thrilling scenes throughout the film.
In addition to stellar acting, the visuals of the movie were amazing. Desert scenes filmed in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates transformed the viewing experience and were completely convincing in conveying the vibe of a foreign planet. Special effects were able to create hyper-realistic monstrosities like the sandworm—the gigantic beast that is one of the many threats of the Arrakis desert.
Overall, “Dune” exceeded all of my expectations with its captivating plot, acting, and visuals. I might recommend reading the book beforehand to understand the inspiration, but even without the background knowledge, it is an expertly crafted film for all to enjoy.