Caleb’s review published on Letterboxd:
Had some serious doubts about this from the start. Expectations were in the dirt (sand); how could a story about people fighting over psychoactive paprika be any good? It all sounded so boring to me. Glad to have been so very wrong! I thought to myself at several points, “is this what people felt in 1977 when they saw Star Wars for the first time?” It certainly has a lot in common: the epic scale, politics and an ancient religion at the core with the promise of a chosen messiah.
It could have easily been a very dense and confusing film. However, Denis Villeneuve and the rest of the creative team made it quite accessible, building out brand new worlds which are alien, but also familiar. I loved the use of the IMAX format and I feel for those who did not have access to a purpose-built theater capable of projecting the images at the complete 1.43 aspect ratio. It was a simply breathtaking experience. I think most of all, this film reinvigorated Hans Zimmer as a composer. After years of writing music for superhero movies, this score sounds unlike anything he’s done before.
Along with my doubt that the film would be any good, I was quite certain it would be a box office bomb. Again, who was going to see a movie about people running around in a desert and fighting over some cinnamon? And then it came out Denis plopped his gigantic balls on the table and put a title card that said “Part One” with no guarantees this movie would be a success. How wild was that?? And I’m actually quite happy this was an overwhelming success. To see people so invigorated coming out of this; a movie that isn’t Star Wars or a superhero picture, but an adaptation of an obscure sci-fi novel - it’s quite exciting.
“This is just the beginning.”
Update 12/12 - added 1/2 star to rating