Set in the year 10191, in a science-fiction world, “Dune," directed by Denis Villeneuve, tells the story of young Paul Atreides as he discovers his truth on the desert planet Arrakis.
While lengthy, the film is more than just that. It is an experience—an audial and visual experience that breaks dimensional confines of space and matter.
This 155-minute long grandeur is only part one of the story that has been adapted from Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. Therefore, it provides the exposition for what has the potential to become an epic journey of self-discovery, social change and becoming.
Paul is played by Timothée Chalamet, one of our generation's biggest Hollywood rising stars. His character is relatable to teenage and young adult viewers–well, as relatable as he can be considering the circumstances surrounding this fictional, futuristic world.
His journey of finding who he is and his place in the world, through navigating his two birthrights, is one that many of us have gone through, are going through or will go through.
The film seems reliant on special effects that interact with each of the viewers’ five senses, hence why I refer to it as an experience. The attention to detail was made so obvious that at times, it was easy to forget the fictional setting.
Everything accounted for, letting nothing go unnoticed or to waste, from still suits that recycle the wearer’s urine and sweat to provide drinking water, to certain characters’ ability to speak in a voice that takes control over one’s actions.
Zendaya plays Chani, a Fremen who consistently appears in Paul’s visions. Fremen are the blue-eyed native people of planet Arrakis; they have had to fight for their cultural identity for quite some time.
Chani arguably does not play a major role in the series of events that take place in the movie, but it can be assumed that she will have more of a role in the next film of the series—the making of which is not yet confirmed.
Knowing Zendaya’s capability as an actress, I hope that we get to see how she takes on this role of Chani in a larger sense.
What truly spoke to me is that although there was an abundance of otherworldly elements in every way possible, Villeneuve did a phenomenal job at ensuring genuine human emotion was not missing. There was still a connection between family members, which made the plot significantly more touching. Without that aspect of humanity, the audience is less likely to care about each character.
Going into the film, I had zero expectations—a clean pallet, if you will. I had not read the book nor any type of summary about it. I had not seen movie trailers nor clips. I had not watched interviews with the cast. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to witness.
Usually, this would bother me; it would make me feel as though there is something missing. In this case, contrastingly, it made the film come full circle—even though it did leave me with many questions. Not having preconceived notions allowed the movie to become itself in my mind instead of living up to certain standards.
The one thing I wish I had known: it was truly only the first part of an epic plotline. In all honesty, I was confused for most of the time I was watching the movie because I was wondering where the climax was.
Yes, there were issues that would arise—but they would get resolved. It all felt like they were mini-events leading up to something huge, but when I had been sitting there for two hours, all I could think about was what if I missed it? What if the major conflict had happened and I didn’t realize it?
It was not until the end screen that I realized I had all these thoughts because this in fact was just the exposition, which was made obvious when Chani exclaimed, “This is only the beginning.”
It’s also important to note that the film’s title is officially “Dune: Part One," but that is not incredibly clear in the advertising.
“Dune” is destined to be a top movie of the year and that can be attributed to the effects that have a direct influence on the tone and mood, Chalamet and Zendaya’s chemistry, Villeneuve’s directorial decisions and the timeless storyline that never fails to teach us a lesson.
Experience this new world on HBO this Thursday, Oct. 21 or in theaters this Friday, Oct. 22.
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