Many have long considered Frank Herbert's mid-century sci-fi 'Dune' as unadaptable. Contrary to popular belief, it is not so because of the story's complexities; it is so because showcasing it on the silver screen necessitates the 'ideal' team.
Years after two 'Dune' adaptations had failed, a third attempt was made to bring justice to this iconic novel.
But is it worth watching? Or does the concept of space and times puzzle you to the point of boredom?
One of the eminent dialogues of this movie is: "Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration". This dialogue made me decide to fearlessly watch the movie till the end. I then realised why its theatrical release kept getting delayed. Because only a theatrical experience can help us adequately appreciate Greig Fraiser's stunning cinematography.
Before we delve deeper in dissecting the movie, here's a fun fact. When Dune (1984) was first released, people were given a one page prospectus to help them understand the peculiar terminologies used throughout the movie. While having to read the guidelines in the dark theatre might sound crazy to some, it was necessary.
David Villenue's Dune, on the other hand, is just half of the first novel.
The movie is set in the dystopian future of the year 10,191. The story revolves around protagonist Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), who sees strange visions of the future that include a mysterious woman with blue eyes (Zendaya) haunting him repeatedly.
These visions make him more eager to visit the dangerous desert planet 'Arrakis'. Coincidentally, House of Atreides is taking over the planet where House Harkonnen is preparing to show their brutality to them.
While watching the movie, you might have to think hard to merely comprehend the different ideas of this rather complex story based on convoluted intergalactic politics. That is, if you are not familiar with the Dune universe.
So, it's always a good idea to read the book first or at least have some idea about the alien terminologies.
Irrespective of the depth of your 'Dune' knowledge, you can still enjoy the film by simply focusing more on the actors' performances, delivery of the baffling dialogues, cinematography's intricacy and, of course, the director's execution of this famed epic.
Throughout the movie, Paul is continuously seen going through an emotional roller coaster. He feels the pressure of being the successor of his father's (Oscar Isaac) powerful dynasty. His visions also compel him to think that his existence has an exceptional purpose.
Paul's arrival in the desert makes the plot more baffling as the people of Arrakis treated him as their long-cherished 'messiah'.
Playing Paul, Timothee yet again proved his worth through his realistic performance, as his portrayal of Paul not only moves us but also makes us feel like we are a part of his journey.
Apart from him, Ferguson as Lady Jessica justly delivered her role as one of the most prominent characters of the film.
Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgård and Jason Mamoa's skillful acting highlighted Frank's characters and helped Villenueve make this story more believable.
The terrific makeup and costume designing helped the movie shine better. Lady Jessica's styling, Baron Harkonnen's scary but perfect makeup and the contemporary yet futuristic costumes are a stunning reminder as to how cool sci-fi films can be.
The director did not force or con his way to make the audience get immersed in the story. He, however, left us with a cliffhanger. Unlike many other sci-fi films, Dune did not try to talk down the audience.
Instead, Villenueve has put great emphasis on the conversations and other intricate details. While at some stages, that made this almost-three-hour-long movie feel a bit slow paced, with full attention to the story, you will see that it is not overwhelmed with information but is one spectacle of experience.
The stunning visual with the monumental efforts of the actors definitely makes us more invested in Villenueve's masterpiece. It further creates the urge within us to wait for the second part of the film, which is being rumored as a more action-packed one as opposed to the dialogue-heavy Dune (2021).
Villenueve as the director has truly proven that third time's the charm as he successfully presented a much immaculately directed version of Frank Herbert's quasi-biblical science fiction.
The music department also seems to be in good hands as the 'Inception' famed Hans Zimmer provides enough thrills to feel the desert breeze.
Not making it overly complicated with thousands of futuristic universes, but making it more grounded might be one of the keys to its success. Moreover, as technological advancement has reached its peak, it was probably easier to accommodate Frank Herbert's riveting vision in 2021.