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Sands of time will be kind to sci-fi epic
Villeneuve delivers another triumph
Dune Cinemas ●●●●● Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 – it’s fair to say Denis Villeneuve has been on a bit of a roll behind the camera.
And now the French-canadian director has turned his hand to adapting Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, which paved the way for Star Wars and many other genre favourites.
Unlike mega-fan Villeneuve, I am no Dune aficionado, having never read the book or seen David Lynch’s mostly derided 1984 take on the source material.
Given the original book is around 500 pages long and crammed with world-building and lots of characters, Villeneuve wisely took the decision to split the story into two movies.
This first adventure sees Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides entrusted with protecting the most valuable asset and vital element in the galaxy.
As has come to be the way with Villeneuve’s work, Dune is an exceptional looking film; you quickly get swept away in the desert planet of Arrakis and the sandy, dusty surroundings are punctuated by cloudy blue eyes, neon lasers and sun-kissed skies.
Talking of things we have become accustomed to, Hans Zimmer has created another awesome musical score that perfectly belongs in this futuristic interstellar society.
The scale is epic and you should see Dune on as big a screen as possible, with the moment the famous giant sand worms finally make their appearance counting as event cinema at its best.
Villeneuve’s cast are suitably stellar. At first I was concerned Chalamet might struggle to carry the weight of his key role but he grows into it masterfully.
Other standouts include Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), Oscar Isaac (Duke Leto), Zendaya (Chani) and Josh Brolin (Gurney), while there are slender but unsettling turns from Stellan Skarsgård (Baron Harkonnen) and Charlotte Rampling (Reverend Mother Mohiam).
Some characters are clearly set up for bigger things in the next movie and this also leads to a lack of resolution which, along with a lot of dialogue that will go over non-fans’ heads, grates at times.
But make no mistake about it, Dune is another triumph for Villeneuve and I can’t wait to see him finish his epic.
●What are your thoughts on Dune? Pop me an email at ian.bunting@reachplc. com and I will pass on your comments to your fellow readers.