Dune: The sandiest movie of the year

From Issue 3


Based on a book supposedly impossible to convert to film, Denis Villenue’s adaption surprisingly is able to contribute to Dune’s reputation of being the greatest sci-fi novel.

Dune was first published in 1965 and was written by Frank Herbert. Herbert had a lot to say about ecology, politics, religion, and the fate of humanity. Herbert was inspired by the governmental efforts of his time to keep sand dunes at bay, and in Dune he creates a desert planet where water is its petroleum. Many interpret this book to be a warning about the destruction of the environment. 

On the whole, Dune was able to maintain Herbert’s ideas on ecology, politics, religion, and the fate of humanity. However, due to the limitations of film, such as time restrictions and the inability to read each character’s thoughts, many of Herbert’s ideas were lost. For example, Villenue left out one of Herbert’s main discussions of politics by omitting an important dinner scene from when the House of Atreides had first landed on Arrakis. Additionally, Villenue chose to reveal the traitor immediately rather than allow suspicions to arise about the main female protagonist of the story, Jessica.

Villenue decided to split the movie into two parts in order to prevent a five hour running time and to prevent omitting too much of what makes Dune a masterpiece. Unfortunately, many viewers were not aware of this split, such as Prep student Edward Wilson, who exclaimed that he would have rather watched a five-hour movie than have to wait another year for the second part.

Dune follows the House of Atreides as the Emperor asks them to move from Caladan to the desert planet, Arrakis. Duke Leto(Oscar Isaac), Paul Atreides(Timothee Chalamet), and Jessica(Rebecca Furgosun) face many challenges in their new home. Almost immediately after arriving, a traitor for the Harkonnens, a family that constantly feuds with the Atreides, infiltrates and causes the fall of the House of Atreides. 

The rest of the movie follows Paul and Jessica as they search for the Fremen, while subsequently developing Paul into a messianic figure. Many of the inhibitors on Arrkais believe that Paul is the kwisatz haderach. Throughout the movie, Paul has visions of war and of a mysterious Fremen named Chani(Zendaya). The movie finished with Chani’s line, “This is only the beginning”.

Timothee Chalamet, who plays the lead Paul Atreides, was a phenomenal choice in casting. He is the perfect fit for the Byronic hero persona which Paul Atreides exhibits. Through his dark hair, dark eyes, and dark clothing, Chalamet radiates the Byronic energy that Herbert imagined in Paul. Like other Byronic figures, such as Loki, Rochester, and Mr. Darcy, Chalamet portrays Paul to be one who is struggling psychologically, is extremely intelligent, and also moody. 

Receiving 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, Dune is a must watch not only because of its loaded cast but also due to its phenomenal storyline. Villenueve’s movie adaption of Herbert’s book, Dune, is truly a masterpiece.