The noble Atreides are charged with taking over the desert planet Arrakis and production of the valuable commodity Spice from the cruel Harkonnens. And do you think the Harkonnens are happy about this? Are they foop! Lies are told and slaps are thrown. Stuck in the middle are the indigenous Fremen who just want to be left alone to live in (or under) the sand. Can anyone bring peace to the planet and end the bloodshed? Paul, maybe?
Rated PG-13 for scraps, explosions and a fat man in some goop
House Atreides have just been given control of the planet Arrakis, a desert planet which is home to one of the universe’s most valuable commodity – Spice. Spice is not just good for a jambolaya, it’s also used to navigate interstellar travel – it’s not mentioned how but it’s kind of implied someone snorts a bunch and then picks a direction while hallucinating, like Denzel in Flight. Up until now the harvesting of spice has been under the remit of House Harkonnen, a cruel and brutal race of bald guys, and it’s fair to say they are unhappy about the new arrangements.
Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is the only son of the Duke of House Atreides and lately he’s been having terrible nightmares. Regularly he wakes up sweating after dreaming about a beautiful woman with mysterious blue eyes on some kind of sandy beach, and she’s trying to snog him! Ok, maybe they’re not strictly nightmares per say, but he knows there’s something more behind these dreams than just an excessive amount of teenage testosterone. When they move to Arrakis to take up their new post, Paul finds the surroundings and the indigenous Fremen all too familiar and feels his dreams are maybe premonitions of things to come. Also, did I mention he’s got some magic voice which can make people fetch him water? It’s probably good for other things too but his mum has only taught him how to do that it seems.
Naturally it doesn’t take long for the Harkonnens, led by the corpulent Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård), to make a nuisance of themselves in the only way they know how. It’s up to Paul and his mum to escape from the evil Harkonnens, find his dream sand girl and somehow not get eaten by one of the 400 metre long sand worms, which for some reason I am only mentioning now for the first time
Will House Atreides survive the Harkonnen attacks? Will Paul get that glass of water or will he need to say please first? Will someone plese feed Timothée Chalamet a sandwich before he disappears completely!! (I’m not jealous, you’re jealous)
- Beautiful Cinematography
- Dramatic and Suspenseful
- Compared to Lynch’s version it’s a masterpiece
- Some minor plot holes
- Sound feels unbalanced – music is too loud, voices too quiet
Full disclosure, I did not read Frank Herbert’s novels from the 1960s. I also do not remember David Lynch’s flop from 1984. Prior to watching this movie, my entire knowledge of the Dune universe came from the 1992 computer game, which was epic. So I had a base knowledge of the main players, what spice was and that you always bet on House Harkonnen, but when it came to plot I was pretty much as in the dark as regular, non-nerdy folk. Witnessing this film on the big screen was epic – it’s visually stunning, Zimmer’s industrial soundtrack complements the harsh landscape and climate perfectly and the Arrakis setting is perfect for director Villeneuve’s trademark style.
There are some small issues with plot – eg. for some reason these advanced races, equipped with space travel, fancy sand suits and body shields seem only interested in hand to hand combat with swords. Also Baron Harkonnen suddenly flying confused me – however if you’ve got a nerdier brother like I do, he can explain that the Baron is too fat to support his own weight and uses anti-gravity Holtzman suspensors to float around. I just wished they explained that in the movie instead, I still wouldn’t have understood it but I could’ve pretended god damn it
All that said, the slight negatives don’t distract from the positives and on the large screen at least this is an impressive experience. I give it an 8 out of 10, which is a fine score and they should all be super proud