Dune

Dune ★★

Yeah Timothée, you're not the only one having "visions" of Zendaya, but most people just dare to call them what they actually are: wet dreams.

All jokes aside, I have quite a lot of thoughts on Dune (as with most of Villeneuve's films). Longer review/ramblings coming very soon.

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Dune may, in the end, prove to be unfilmable after all. Frank Herbert’s vision was one of such an epic scope that it just doesn’t seem to find a right fit in the cinematic medium. Villeneuve however tries his very, very best to fit it in there no matter what. He creates a universe so grand that it barely fits the cinema screen. One scene with unimaginably big spaceships gets put to shame by the next scene with even bigger spaceships. Spaceships the size of planets move about the universe to carry this epic story and yet, for all that stupendous spectacle, Dune feels painfully hollow. Villeneuve wants to take his sweet time to ease us into this complex saga and does so formidably at certain points, but he also gets caught up in the uncontrollable scale of it all to such a degree that the human factor almost crumbles under the weight of the story’s grandeur. The all-star cast is scrambled through the film like a joke, with some actors popping up for only a few minutes to deliver a faint impression of what their character wants and needs. Chalamet’s Paul Atreides serves perhaps the only worthwhile character arc that has some weight to it while most of the people swarming around him leave a faint impression at best. Their frail, human existence simply cannot live up to the immensity of Arrakis or the universe at large. Villeneuve lost his grasp when trying to combine the epic with the intimate and only got a little bit of both without realizing how to combine the two and make them add up to each other. And still, as much as this film is overshadowed by its epic nature, those moments are in hindsight, as flat as all the rest of it. Spectacular, grand imagery with nothing to say other than: “This is big. This is huge!” The Villeneuve-fanbase has clearly already deemed this a masterpiece despite having had zero chance to see this with a critical eye but I could bet on my life that what will stay with them about this won’t be the story but simply the visual spectacle. And Dune is so much more than that. It’s a human spectacle that happens to play on a massive scale but even with Villeneuve’s plan to split this in two to give everything its supposed bit of gravitas, Dune (part one) falls painfully short. At best it’s an oversized prologue, filled with exposition both in its dialogue and in its imagery to prepare you for the (hopefully) more in-depth approach of the second part.

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