Dune ★★★

I haven't read the Herbert novel, so I'm not sure how seriously serious this tale is. What I surmise--and why people like it so--is the psychedelia laced through a sci-fi fantasy about three peoples battling it out over a metaphor for imperialism. Villenueve doesn't feel visionary enough as a director to do this. Even though the production design and special effects are all amazing (some shots look straight out of 1970s sci-fi covers) it never feels poetic, or trippy, or dreamlike. There's *a lot* of vehicles taking off and landing, A LOT. See how huge this ship is? See how these dragonfly copters start up *and* take off *and* land? Pretty cool, huh! Not a laugh to be had. A lot of "is he the chosen one?" "I dreamt I was the chosen one" "I don't think you're ready to be the chosen one" "Those people think you're the chosen one." So many flash forwards/dreams of Zendaya's Chani that when she finally reveals herself it's not awe inspiring, just "finally, now we can get on with it." Lots of wide shots, lots of close-ups, not a lot of mediums. Hans Zimmer crashes and bangs a lot, another opportunity to be out of this world that feels too earthbound. Felt exhausted by the end of this, can't imagine it's gonna get zippy in part two. That third star added for the sheer amount of visual effect work and production design.