Dune
2021
****
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

Duke Leto of House Atreides accepts the stewardship of the harsh desert planet Arrakis, the sole source of the most valuable substance in the universe. For some time, the Duke’s specially gifted son Paul has been haunted by grim visions of the future on Arrakis. Frank Herbert’s Dune (1965) is the first novel in a highly regarded but challenging science fiction series. David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation was a dull and incomprehensible mess, which was liked by no one, and that includes the director. Denis Villeneuve’s version doesn’t let its audience off easy either. There is plenty of mythology and worldbuilding to get through in 150 minutes, and I’m not sure if all the numerous characters get their fair due. And this epic only covers the first half of the book. Where Villeneuve does excel, however, is in staging some mind-blowing set pieces, which are on a scale I have never seen before and feature amazing cinematography, music, sound design, and visual effects.