Michael Coombs’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sheesh. This movie is a mess. It has a 137 minute run time and feels like a total rush job. The characters aren't fleshed out at all and if I hadn't listened to the book over the past year, I probably wouldn't have had any clue what was going on. I don't care about anything that happens in Dune and I had no emotional attachment to any character.
I guess I'm not really a Dune fanboy. Even when I was listening to the book I had a hard time staying tuned in. When I finished the book, I read a plot synopsis and realized there were major plot points I completely spaced out on. I figured watching this movie would help me prepare for Denis Villenueve's 2021 version next month and I guess it at least helped me better understand what was going on.
But man... the execution here is rough. I can't imagine we are going to see a lot of "inner voice" in Denis' version. And the acting here is pretty bad. The casting of Kyle MacLachlan is a total misfire. He just comes across so campy and dumb to me. The baron is unwatchable. Props to Brad Dourif and Patrick Stewart for bringing some acting gravitas to this film. It's tough to see a 1984 action film for the first time nearly 40 years later cause the visual effects seem poorly done and it's hard to say whether it was a sign of the times or if they actually sucked. But I also just watched Terminator and A Nightmare on Elm Street from the same year and while the effects do look aged in those movies, they still look pretty damn good. Dune looks like it was made for TV. Wait. Was it?
Talk about a movie in need of an update. And from one of the best filmmakers of today? I still expect Denis Villenueve to knock it out of the park. He's an absolute cinematic genius. But this movie? No thanks. My dad has always loved Dune and he was always a fan of this movie, but I don't get it. I wouldn't tell anyone they need to respect the original before seeing the remake. In fact, you should absolutely skip this version.