Dune ★★★½

It's a lot of "slow set-up for stuff that will maybe pay off in the next movie" in the first half and "the only reason this means something is Paul had a prophetic dream earlier" in the second half, but, well, you bought a ticket to "Dune", what did you expect? The big problem is that this is only the first step in a long arc that happened over the course of the series, and while it feels like Villeneuve is going to lean harder into the Middle East allegory if he gets a series than David Lynch did, when you stop here it's just sort of the Good Colonial Powers being betrayed by the Bad Colonial Powers and the (kind of savage) indigenous people not being a factor, which isn't a great look.

It is, at the least, great looking, with most scenes a great combination of "epic to us, familiar to them" that sci-fi films don't always get, shot beautifully with a nifty soundtrack. It's an odd combination of the tactile/practical and "things hovering which should be falling" (which I've sort of grown bored with), with a little "weird French sci-fi graphic novel" thrown in for spice, but when it works, it works, especially when Villeneuve can pull it together into an impressive action scene. He and the cast do their level best to make Herbert's formal dialog into something people might actually say, and there are a lot of fun supporting performances here, from Oscar Isaac to Dave Batista.

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