Dune ★★★½

I don’t think there’s much more I could have wanted from a Dune adaptation, other than the increasingly likely second part. My favorite aspect of the book is that, buried under the dense paragraphs of interstellar politics, warring houses, and universe-building via ecology, philosophy, mythology, religion, etc. is a somewhat simple coming-of-age story. Villeneuve captures this spirit but represents it visually, with our primary characters all but swallowed up by the expansive, richly detailed worlds they inhabit. The sense of grandeur is truly astonishing. Herbert’s sci-fi classic really shines when it comes to the characters, and though there’s much less time to fully develop them (or even give most of them a proper arc), the casting is incredible—this coming from a skeptic who feared that the star-studded cast would be a distraction—and the performances are excellent, even Jason Momoa who has previously never impressed me. It only starts to falter in the final half hour, racing toward a makeshift conclusion that sets the stage for the next part. Regardless, I’m excited to see how Villeneuve chooses to tackle the book’s far more challenging second half.

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