Dune ★★★★

Lots of phenomenal elements here and very evocative world building as Denis Villeneuve brings to screen probably as faithful an adaptation as Dune fans can hope for.

But the faithfulness of that adaptation is also the film's stumbling block. There's so much material to cover, that even with Villeneuve's efficient and concise exposition and world-building most of this film feels like setup, and we never get quite enough time with any of the characters to really develop emotional connection or resonance with them.

The quality and arc of the second film (assuming we get it) may elevate this one in its fulfillment of that setup, but for now it's very much a mixed bag. The most interesting moments and characters are towards the back half, and I can't wait to spend more time with them, especially Javier Bardem's incredibly realized Stilgar (knockout performance of the entire film).

It does its world building, mood, and the details so well. But can a film subsist on world, image, and music alone? I'm happy to sit through it, multiple times even, just to hang out in that world, but for many I doubt it will be enough.

(More to come in a video)