‘Dune’: A Classic Sci-Fi Story Brought to the Screen

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Photo By Dune (2021)

Dune, starring Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet, premiered in theatres Friday, Oct. 22. Image Courtesy of IMDb.

By Mallory Milner, Reporter

The blockbuster film Dune (2021) directed by Denis Villeneuve made its premiere in theatres on Friday, Oct. 22. This film was an immersive and stunning cinematic success that remained truthful to Frank Herbert’s original novel, written in 1965.

Dune, a gripping tale of geopolitics, cultural immersion, and mental strength, follows the story of the promising heir to the Atreides family, Paul Atreides. With political tensions rising, his family is sent to govern the spice-rich desert planet of Arrakis, a harsh terrain inhabited by natives known as the Fremen. The film boasts multiple well known actors and actresses, such as Timothee Chalamet (Paul Atreides), Zendaya (Chani), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), Jason Momoa (Duncan Idaho), and many more. 

The story of Dune originates from the first half of Frank Hebert’s award-winning novel Dune, published in 1965. This past spring, I read it in preparation for viewing the movie. As a person who has read the book as well as watched the movie, I can confirm that the movie was accurate to the book, even down to some of the smallest details. I found this impressive, as staying true to the book yet maintaining a distinct plot is no easy feat. The plot of the movie was identical to that of the book, and also managed to emphasize important and complex themes, themes that seem like they would be difficult to portray in film. For instance, the significance of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and the stoicism exhibited by the story’s main characters is captivating to watch on screen, with the notorious quote “fear is the mindkiller” a prime example of that. 

Dune exhibits themes such as religion, power, and human control over ecology. Frank Herbert carefully crafted the complexities of this fictional world, resulting in Dune’s events being comparable to real world issues and events. Although some may find this concept boring, I personally found it fascinating how they managed to combine complex politics and economics along with sci-fi exhilaration into the film.

Frank Herbert carefully crafted the complexities of this fictional world, resulting in Dune’s events being comparable to real world issues and events.”

 

The acting in this film was truly exceptional. Each actor portrayed their character exactly how I had imagined them while reading the book. I found myself especially impressed by Timothee Chalamet’s role as the lead protagonist, Paul Atreides. He not only portrayed Paul’s nobility, but hinted at his underlying teenage angst and unrest, which I found admirable. 

Amongst Dune’s watchers, there was controversy over Chani’s seven minutes of screentime. I can understand the disappointment, as Zendaya’s role in Dune had sparked notable anticipation in younger viewers. However, this should be expected, as Chani made minimal appearances before the second half of the book. Giving her more screen time would be dishonest to the book.  

My favorite part of Dune was the stunning, breathtaking videography. Every scene was absolutely alluring in its own way, switching between unique angles and detailed close up shots. The scenery not only entertained the eye, but represented the film’s themes of beauty, darkness, and chaos as well. 

A significant component to the story of Dune is the existence of the humongous, mighty creatures that ruled the deserts of Arrakis: the sandworms. The sandworms play a very important role in the book, and I was anxious to see how they would appear in live action. To say the least, I was absolutely blown away by the design of these creatures. They were haunting yet entrancing, and exactly how they were described in the book. I am confident to say that visually, this was one of most beautiful films I have seen in a very long time.

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, Legendary Entertainment officially confirmed Dune’s sequel. The sequel is scheduled for release on Oct. 20, 2023, sparking excitement amongst fans. Frank Herbert’s original series consists of 15 books total, therefore raising the question of whether Dune could potentially become a sci-fi saga similar to Star Wars.

Those who watch this movie will find themselves enveloped in an intricate, merciless, and stunning world of space travel, desert winds, and unshakable ambition. In general, I absolutely loved Dune, and I recommend it to anybody who enjoys sci-fi or action films in general.