va24mar’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Dune” is not the best film of the year, but “Dune” is THE film of the year. Villeneuve’s film is far better executed than Lynch’s failed film and you can feel his passion for the world in every scene, in every shot and every frame.
First of all, it is not just a good idea not to put the whole story into this film, but to only tell a part, which makes the film a kind of prologue that still feels independent, it is essential. Lynch’s version failed mainly because it told too much in too short a time. This is where Villeneuve’s film scores. The film is not rushed or incoherent, it is told calmly and takes its time. This benefits not only the plot, which feels more organic and it is actually clear what is going on, but above all the characters. They feel alive and it is shown who they are and not just said. In addition, the relationships between, for example, Paul and Lady Jessica and Paul and Duncan Idaho are much more believable. Nevertheless, I missed the connection to the characters a little and Lady Jessica was the only one who really caught me.
I don't think I have to say a lot about the cast. It hardly gets better than this and everyone, really everyone, delivers a fantastic performance, but the highlight for me was definitely Rebecca Ferguson, who brought the most emotionality.
Audiovisually the film is also masterful. The score by Hans Zimmer is great, unfortunately it sometimes is to booming, but it is especially convincing with the smaller and more special sounds. The cinematography is also great and does its best to capture the huge scale of the world, lightning and framing are great and the film sometimes has really nice colors, even if I don't think the general color grading is outstanding.
What I was missing was that certain something. Audiovisually the film is top, the content is the best version of the material and the world is fascinating and interesting, but I missed something like atmosphere, tension, investment in the plot and a real connection. Everything Villeneuve does here is breathtakingly good and he manages to tell a story on a blockbuster level without getting lost in its clichés and conventions. Exposition is organic and necessary in this world, the focus is not on the action, which the film for the most part doesn’t even have, but on world building and characters, the storytelling is a great mix of blockbuster and almost arthouse and the film finds a good balance between mysticism, ambiguity and explanation. From a purely objective point of view, there isn't much to criticize, but I didn't find the film as outstanding as everyone else. Impressive, well made and executed and thought through from start to finish, but not as special as many others think it is.
A massively scaled sci-fi epic that probably does justice to Frank Herbert's book, at least more just than the other adaptations. Nevertheless, epicness and impact are missing for me and while I was admiring everything that happened and how it happened I was just admiring and observing, I wasn't there. Everything war very good but for me there were few highlights or outstanding moments.
Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” is a great film that you should definitely see and I very much hope that the film will be successful and that there will be sequels, because as already mentioned, the film only tells the beginning of an even bigger story, and I want to see that story!