Dune ★★★½

An extraordinary quantity of Movie-with-a-capital-M; you feel every frame of the running time, but it seems like that was part of the strategy, making the weight of the images and the pacing bear down upon you with all the grandeur that the book put across with its endless worldbuilding, something any film would have to get to indirectly. It is exhausting to watch, feeling like an endless plunge into the inhumane trudge of history unfolding as it must. I wouldn't shorten it by a minute.

That all being the (very impressive) case, I wish it felt like the film was showing as much as it was telling. Just wrangling this material in a straightforward, comprehensible narrative is miracle-level screenwriting, so by no means do I want to diminish it. But feels throughout that there are bravura epic images creating a sense of mythic scale, densely written scenes establishing vast political import, and no real attempt to connect those two things into one experience. The much-ness of the images and the earbreaking sound mix leveled me in a way I much enjoyed, but there's a way in which it's "just" spectacle, in an awesome but somewhat generic way. There are no mad Lynchian grace notes, that is to say, which is maybe what it took to finally get this beast adapted in a mostly comprehensible form. But it's not convincing me that Villeneuve has an actual vision of his own; nevertheless, I'll be waiting with breathless impatience for Part Two.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)

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