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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Release Date: October 15th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Dune (2021) - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Director Denis Villeneuve is keeping his science-fiction streak hot with his epic re-creation of Dune, based on the 1965 Frank Herbert novel. Through different planets, strange creatures, and mystics on faraway worlds, this deep in the distant future movie tells a tale as old as time about different factions fighting against one another over a sandy planet that contains a valuable commodity called Spice. The novel inspired the likes of Star Wars and a number of other sci-fi classics - this version of Dune is epic in scale and has an elegance in its delivery that will certainly wow almost anyone who watches but will stick with the big science-fiction buffs long after. Dune is impressive. Flawed, but quite impressive.

In Theaters and on HBO Max October, 22nd - Order Your Tickets On Fandango! 

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
In theaters and HBO Max
Release Date:
October 15th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


The 1965 novel took the world by storm and ignited fans around the world to rejoice with the characters and planets of Dune. In 1984, David Lynch's film polarized audiences and critics alike - and it does to this day. After several attempts with various directors, the Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve came aboard to make this new version of Dune with an all-star cast including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, and Dave Bautista.

What Villeneuve and Warner Bros. have sneakily but wisely done is not tell the full story of Dune in a single. It was not advertised nor was it mentioned until the actual screen reads Dune: Part One that this will be at least a two-part story. This is good and all, but unfortunately there are no hard confirmed plans to make a sequel - yet. There will be a sequel at some point if this first film does well financially, which will be a giant uphill battle because it has so many elements going against it given COVID's impact on theaters and the decision to stream day and date on HBO Max. That and the film ends with a lot of story meat and potatoes left on the plate for the next installment that's yet to be seen. It leaves you wanting more right now.

Those unfamiliar with the story of Dune might be confused with what's happening on screen, but it's rather a simple tale. A dune-covered desert planet called Arrakis is the only source in the galaxy for the mineral called Spice that is mined for other worlds to purchase and use in their respective planets. The noble and respectable people of House Atreides have been tasked by the planetary Emperor to take control and look after the spice production on Arrakis, along with the native Fremen people who work and mine the spice. However, the evil and sinister House Harkonnen people attack everyone and start an epic war.

Dune follows Paul Atreides (Chalamet), son of the leader of House Atreides (Isaac) and his bound concubine (Ferguson) who is trained in the mystic arts of the Bene Gesserit. The Bene Gesserit are part of an interplanetary breading system designed to ensure that the power structure of the empire is retained. They also have certain abilities not unlike the Jedi's Mind Trick that allow them to overcome the will of weak-minded individuals. Paul has learned these skills from his mother and is perfecting his abilities. It's foretold that he might be the chosen one to lead the Fremin people and bring peace to Arrakis and the empire - sound familiar, Skywalker fans?

This version of Dune is not exactly for the casual movie-goer, looking to be highly entertained or for something funny or amusing. This film is not that cup of tea. This Dune is smart, grande in scale, and has a slow burn effect of its astonishing world-building and character development with only a couple of action sequences. There aren't any one-liners or jokes to be had here. It takes itself seriously, at least with this first outing with the exception of a couple of moments with Momoa's warrior character Duncan Idaho. That being said, the few action sequences are here to impress and are fully immersive from all aspects of a battle. These fights are well-choreographed, expertly filmed and timed, and pack a banger of a punch with suspense and ferocity.

The rest of the time is spent with a few characters, usually talking softly in dark corners or hallways of the giant sandy castle about the politics and tensions of this new situation forced upon House Atreides. The film is written extremely well by two veteran writers John Spaihts (Prometheus) and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) and allows for their audience to be drawn into every emotion from each angle - both good and bad. The movie isn't energetic until it needs to be, but is rather concerned about developing these characters without a promise to deliver a big payoff of a sequel. And that's its ultimate downfall. If there isn't going to be a sequel we're left with a spectacular first half of an unfinished story.

The performances by everyone are excellent and nuanced as Isaac leads his army and family, trying to balance keeping the peace and dealing with warmongers.  Brolin and Momoa are wonderful in their respective action-hero roles and hold true to their personal nature. Ferguson shines as the mother of Paul who tries to protect him but houses a secret, and Chalamet does a great job of a warrior in training. Bautista and Skarsgard play perfect villains with the little screen time they have. The style and look of Dune are fantastically epic and beautiful. Every single shot deserves to be in an art gallery with its beauty that has been found in unexpected places like a sandy planet. And Hans Zimmer's score packs a brutal percussive hit that lets everyone know every inch of the way that something wicked this way comes.


Video Review


Audio Review


Special Features


Final Thoughts

Dune: Part One is dazzling to the eye and is expertly told in the grandest of ways. The issue is the film was more concerned with the serious side of world-building and character development that it completely forgot to have a good time. It's expected that there will be a ton more action sequences in Part 2, but with a 155 minute run time that is slow-paced, and the fact that this movie will really appeal only to hardcore sci-fi buffs only coupled with the day and date release in theaters and HBO Max, the sequel's prospects are on some shaky ground. Hopefully enough people line up at the theater and stream this to be a huge success. Despite its flaws, this Dune is spectacular in every way. Highly Recommended!

In Theaters and on HBO Max October, 22nd - Order Your Tickets On Fandango!