There is an urban legend that persists for decades that 'Dune‘, masterpiece of the Frank Herbert legend launched in 1965, it could never be satisfactorily adapted to a film or television production. There are many reasons, of course, but the 600 pages, on average, are extremely detailed of a carefully created universe - not to mention the cult perfection, however flawed that was the live action 1984, in the hands of David Lynch – already sufficiently endorse the argument.
At least for the “Dune-fans”, only a visionary mind and a bit daring such as the protagonist Paul Atreides would be able to try to produce such a feat. Director Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt, considered “the greatest film that was ever made”, succumbed to the desert proposed by the urban legend and it was left to an ascendant Denis Villeneuve to “deal with the slap” and risk the name to bring the acclaimed life to life. constructions. Fortunately, the filmmaker has enough baggage for the feat.
Like Peter Jackson's 'Lord of the Rings' at the start of the millennium, 'Dune' isn't afraid to be a fantasy movie that flirts with pop. Not only for the highly-known cast with currently contested faces in the industry, but also for valuing the emotional factor of the characters' trajectories and relationships more than the political conflict and war itself.
As it is a complex and uneven work, and which will definitely require another film or two to close the proposal, the director chooses to take the audience on a “walk in the desert” and in the beauty of extraterrestrial landscapes rather than simply creating an epic of futuristic warfare – but that's where the biggest hit is in the sci-fi aspect: the presentation of the concept. Over 2 hours and 30 minutes, Villeneuve doesn't mind explaining in short steps details of the universe, displaying different languages and abnormal beings. He even insists that you learn.
So, as much as 'Duna' has a strong cast and is, yes, a poetic and beautiful novel linked to the emotions and trajectory of the characters, the film never ceases to be science fiction – which should be good news for fans of Herbert's work and the genre, but something complicated to swallow for the general public. Coupled with phenomenal photography by Greig Fraser (which is reminiscent of his work in 'Star Wars: Rogue One') and a divine and adoring soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, the production borders on technical perfection in many ways.
Whether in the technical construction of sound editing and mixing, in the sequences in the beautiful and vast desert both in the morning and at night, or even in the characterization of the characters and the impressive giant worms, Villeneuve's film is a master of special effects and tries to maximum respect and approach all possible material of the original work, while adapting it for the general public and leaving it chewy. In short, all the behind-the-scenes production trumps the equally magnificent acting and script work.
A sin of Villeneuve, however, is to drag the second act longer than it should. Like 'Blade Runner 2049', 'The Arrival' and 'Sicario', the director doesn't quite lose the tone, but slightly disfavors the script and the infamous “hero's journey” to highlight the production of the sci-fi universe and the psychological conflict – which, if you stop to think about it, are the foundations of the filmmaker's career. The technical appreciation of the construction of the environment is something common in feature films of the genre and is not bothersome, of course, but it is noteworthy to notice that some scenes of Chani (Zendaya) were placed only to show the actress's face on screen - which, I warn you. beforehand, it appears less than 4 minutes in the film.
Even so, 'Dune' is not at all tedious at all, despite being extremely slow to develop in certain sequences. It is noteworthy that, as it is proven to be the beginning of an imminent franchise, Villeneuve escapes the typical elaboration of a trajectory in three acts and practically makes the film in question a great, long, extensive and impactful beginning of a story. Don't be scared, then, when the film ends at a moment when it seems that the plot “will catch fire”. It's totally on purpose.
Anyway, the director showed in 'Dune' that he learned from the mistakes made by Lynch 37 years ago and combined with the technology of the present times (in addition to the support of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.), he delivered in 'Dune' the best he could. it could be done in the technical aspect of a cinematographic work and in the construction of a sci-fi universe. Approximately US$165 million invested in the film did very well for the gigantic production, which, like 'The Fellowship of the Ring', could be the kick-off of a franchise that will mark the decade and the history of the industry.
Acts and script are great, even with the production being the protagonist
After the first 10-minute sequence, a small sign saying 'Dune – Part 1' will be readable by the audience. This is both good and bad. Good because we can almost officially hope for a beginning, middle and end worthy of what Herbert's masterpiece deserves. However, the film industry is unstable, and it's not new. Why promise something you might not deliver?
The factor in question about a crisis or not of cinemas, or about the imminent continuation is not the main point of the argument, but it serves to criticize the proposed script made by the trio of writers - formed by Jon Spaihts, Eric Roth and Villeneuve - , which should not please everyone. As mentioned before, the production is slowly developed and, in the end, it is a great introduction to a new cinematographic universe and to the unfolding of a story that has yet to reach its apex.
Fans of “Dunaverse” and science fiction enthusiasts, like the one who writes to you, shouldn't mind the question, but some viewers who are buying tickets for the little they saw in the trailers or even for the renowned cast may leave the movie theater a little disappointed and with that feeling of “little having understood” the complexity of the story.
But for those who are not fond of Herbert's universe and decide to share some good news: safe and impressive performances are not lacking in the production. The film's plot takes place in the distant future, where several houses live under the governance of a powerful emperor. Leader of one of an important family in the universe, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) is asked to manage the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, the only source of a rare spice used to extend human life. speed of light and so on.
In an attempt to secure his future and that of his people, Leto goes to Arrakis with son Paul (Timothée Chalamet), a talented young man destined to rule, and concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), who is also a Bene Gesserit – religious order of female witches who are keys to the maintenance of the political system of the universe. However, an upheaval changes the direction of the Atreides family and Paul embarks on a journey of discovery and survival through the desert in search of the planet's natives, the Fremen, and the girl who appears repeatedly in his dreams, Chani (Zendaya).
Chalamet He looms large every day in the industry and on the pop scene after his impeccable performance in 'Call Me by Your Name in 2017 – which earned him an Oscar nomination, as well. In 'Duna', however, the 25-year-old actor fully embraces the heroic and sci-fi side, unafraid of appearing exaggerated when setting himself in the universe and in the construction of the entire production.
Fans of 'Dune' point out that he is an almost exact characterization of the Paul Atreides of the books, however what is most impressive is really the strength of the protagonist he shows on screen – something surprising for an actor who, until then, had not starred in megaproductions and appeared more in the cult scene "material oscar".
The supporting highlights are many, but it is worth noting the veteran power of Stellan Skarsgard like Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and Josh Brolin like Gurney Halleck, Paul's mentor. The first is “pure juice” of villainy and, even in an extremely caricatured way, it attributes to 'Dune' the fanciful character dark necessary, in addition to a de facto antagonistic face. The second maintains the same pose as a “tough guy” à la Thanos, but allows himself to be more sympathetic on screen and easy to get attached to the audience, just like a “second father” to the protagonist.
And, let's face it, it's good to see Jason Momoa on screen being, well, Jason Momoa. The role of Duncan Idaho fits the 'Aquaman' interpreter well and has enough room to squander his charisma, great connection to the character of Chalamet and star in good fight scenes. She is the typical figure that audiences will easily cling to and stare at looking for more sequels with her.
Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto is less memorable as he makes it sound like he is, but how nice to see the Guatemalan actor back in the galaxy after the latest 'Star Wars' trilogy – even more so with a slight reference to his character in the George Lucas saga. Already Rebecca ferguson as Lady Jessica, the royal member's concubine and Paul's mother, impresses for her vigor in the action scenes and desert races, making a good partnership with Chamalet. For those who don't know the original story, he proves to be one of the most intriguing characters for the upcoming 'Part 2'.
Dave Bautista like Glossu Rabban, the Baron's nephew, doesn't have enough screen time to show the threat he could become, but he makes up for it with a frightening characterization. something other than Javier Bardem as Stilgar, leader of the Fremen tribe in Sietch Tabr. It's amazing how the Spaniard, even with a few minutes of prominence, proves to be a true “gentleman” even spitting grotesquely on the floor or disdaining a certain moment experienced by Paul and Jessica.
It's also good to emphasize how nice it is to see on screen Stephen McKinley Henderson and the eternal muse Charlotte Rampling acting in a fervent and immersive way, even in his 70s. David Dastmalchian, in turn, is always cartoonish and almost the same character on screen virtually every movie? Yes, but so what? Even though he's just a personal assistant to Baron Harkonnen, it's nice to see the actor appearing in big projects – with Villeneuve, he's already third.
let's not forget Zendaya like Chani. Such as anticipated by the director himself in previous interviews, the young actress narrates certain points, but barely appears in 'Duna' – 4 minutes maximum. However, the character is clearly a key part of the entire work and must be the main figure, if not the protagonist, of an upcoming 'Part 2'. It would even be unfair for any critic to evaluate her performance in the film, as it serves more as a cameo.
'Dune – Part 1' is grandiose and has the potential to be something that will mark history
Ambitious – just because it's done – and contemplative sci-fi epic that may turn out to be Villeneuve's most monumental achievement to date, 'Dune' may not be for everyone. But for those who find themselves fully immersed in the universe created by Herbert, and for those who give the chance to immerse themselves, a sublime cinematic experience awaits.
It may seem redundant to say that the production is grand in many ways – it is, after all, a Villeneuve film – but in the case of 'Dune', size and beauty couldn't be done any other way. And even though it appeals to the story and the characters grow in the face of development at different times, the film is still a sci-fi epic that has the most primordial characteristics for a feature film in the genre, complemented by magnificent photographs and a soundtrack (thank you, Hans Zimmer, thank you!).
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The director's work with Warner Bros. and Lionsgate allowed for an experience where reading the book can really get in the way of movie appreciation. And, truth be told, it's the kind of adaptation that needs to be treated as such, and not as an attempt to cosplay and imitate any of the work. More incisive fan critiques are sure to come, of course, but truth be told: 'Duna's honor and legacy have never been portrayed so well outside of the book.
Beautifully filmed, made with imagination and with a narrative clarity that David Lynch eluded, Villeneuve's 'Dune' still benefits from being only half told. The decision may be controversial, but at the same time it was wise, as it will have space to work the work with the necessary detail and also have time to present the plot of the last century to a new generation.
Whatever can be said about 'Dune' seems suitably monumental. It's an impressive feat and a plunge into a richly designed world that feels both ancient and futuristic at the same time. Looking objectively at what was put together, you couldn't wish for a better performance on screen. Finally, the sci-fi epic is thought-provoking, exciting and breathtaking, with a renowned cast that fulfills the task of presenting the feature film with the potential to mark a generation, as did 'The Lord of the Rings'.
In short, 'Duna' is, in fact, one of the biggest and most ambitious shows blockbusters made for cinema to this day.
Oh, and here's the tip: for “extreme level” fans of Herbert's original work, there is a critical version of the new 'Duna' written by the intrepid Renato Mota (read here), which covers minute details of the universe and makes comparisons of Villeneuve's production with the original 1965 book – and that's a great read. Check out the trailer and synopsis oficiais below:
“Inspired by Frank Herbert's book series, Dune is set in the far future. Duke Leto Atreides administers the desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, the only source of the rare substance called “melange”, used to extend human life, reach the speed of light and grant superhuman powers. To this he sends his son, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and talented young man born to a great destiny beyond his imagination, and his servants and concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Fergunson), who is also a Bene Gesserit. They go to Dune in order to secure the future of their family and their people. However, a bitter betrayal by the possession of the melange causes Paul and Jessica to flee to the Fremen, natives of the planet who live in the farthest corners of the desert.”
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