Stellar “Dune” cast doesn’t excuse confusion


Photo courtesy of @dunemovie on Instagram.

This Dune photo cover displays the leading actors in the movie. The film is starring Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, and many others and was released on October 22nd.

By Paige Tasin, Assistant Arts Editor

“Dune” has been one of the most widely-anticipated films of the year. Everyone has been patiently waiting to see Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya and many others star in an action-packed film based on the popular science fiction novel series.

“Dune” is the first of two movies that will tell the story of the eponymous first novel. But the story largely revolves around themes present in the book that are not necessarily explained in the movie. Therefore, unless audiences are well versed in the novel’s contents, it is likely that the movie will be a terrible let-down. The film seemed as if it focused more on worldbuilding than the actual plot, while leaving out the basic introduction to the political structure of this world. Viewers who read the book already understand the social structure of these worlds and who many characters are that movie goers are given no background information about. 

This is not the first time Hollywood has attempted to bring “Dune” to the big screen. There was an eponymous film made in 1984, starring Kyle MacLachlan and Francesca Annis, as well as two television series adaptations. The film was labeled the worst movie of 1984 by viewers of the time and both TV serieses only had one season and were never able to take off. Therefore, 2021’s “Dune” is the series’ chance for a revival.

The movie stars Timothee Chalamet, known from “Call Me By Your Name” and “Little Women;” Rebecca Ferguson, known from “Mission Impossible” and “The Greatest Showman;” and supposedly Zendaya, known from the “Spiderman” trilogy and “Euphoria.” In many promotions, Zendaya was shown to be one of the primary characters. She was in interviews, magazine covers and trailers promoting this movie. However, she barely has five minutes of screen time. It is clear that she will play a prominent role in the sequel, but this movie was a very big let-down for those looking to watch her performance.

Director Denis Villeneuve, known for “Blade Runner 2049”, clearly understands how to make films with wonderful aesthetics. Partnered with cinematographer, Greig Fraser, they were able to make a film that aesthetically did not disappoint. The captivating scenes were clearly well-made and gave the visuals from the book a great life. Despite how beautiful the film may have been, it does not make up for the incomprehensible plot.

The movie follows Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) as he is being awakened to his destiny as the Lisan al Gaib meaning “voice from the Outer World.” He is meant to lead the Fremen people into a better future. He can see different alternatives of the future and must use these powers to choose the right path and bring the world to the Golden Path. Upon traveling to reach the Fremen, Paul and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) face many challenges and go through countless dangerous events.

The acting in the movie is very well done. Each character embodied the perfect personality of their character and played very convincing roles. Whenever serious emotions were addressed throughout the film, the actors portrayed these feelings with the utmost realism. Along with that, the characters are established fairly-well. The audience can interpret what the characters are likely to do in given situations, based on their established personalities. This allows certain situations to give the audience a clear idea of what the characters will do and how they will react, providing insight into the overall plot.

The music was composed by Hans Zimmer who has worked on many famous films, including “Interstellar,” “Inception” and “The Lion King.” Therefore, it is no surprise that the music in the film was composed beautifully and fits the film perfectly. The music, in particular, felt very new, as the composer aimed to make the score like nothing anyone had ever heard before. According to the New York Times, Zimmer used scraping metal, Indian bamboo flutes, Irish whistles, a juddering drum phrase, a war horn and many other unique instruments to create an unheard of soundtrack. It felt perfect because of how unique the entire concept of the film was.

The CGI in the movie was also absolutely amazing. Every aspect of the movie looked incredibly convincing. The beginning of the film shifts from planet to planet bringing breathtaking scenes that look very real. There is not a single flaw in the editing. 

Although the film had some of the best cinematography, amazing acting and a wonderful soundtrack, this did not excuse the fact that it does not have a deep enough plot explanation to keep the large majority of audiences engaged. 

It is clear that this is the best “Dune” adaptation thus far, but that does not make it any easier for those that have not read or seen the previous versions to understand what the plot is about.