Fascinating movie

Film of the year 2021 – Dune: part one


2021 was the year we finally got to see most of the blockbuster movies that should have been released a year earlier. The pandemic caused dozens of films to roll back an entire year, and even when they did finally arrive, there was no guarantee they would find the audiences they would have done another year. This was not more true than that of Denis Villeneuve Dune: part one.

Villeneuve’s adaptation of the first half of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel might have been director’s dream project Sicario and Arrival, but the difficulty of adapting such a dense and revered work – combined with the fact that it would only tell half the story – – meaning there was no guarantee the film would succeed, either artistically or commercially.

But we shouldn’t have worried. Dune was a hugely impressive achievement, which went way beyond the previous two screen adaptations (the 1984 David Lynch film and the 2000 miniseries SyFy) in bringing to life the groundbreaking and hugely influential vision of Herbert.

The movie looked and sounded amazing – which is perhaps not surprising given what Villeneuve achieved similarly with his previous movie, Blade Runner 2049. But it was a movie that used the original by Ridley Scott as a visual and sound model. Dune, although obviously based on what Herbert created in his book, allowed Villeneuve to create his own world of desert planets, rival families, mysterious cults, deadly assassins, intergalactic political intrigue, sand worms and rare narcotics. The scale of the film was immense, the often stunning production design, and the sound design – especially if you’ve seen the film in a movie theater – was incredibly loud, deep, and immersive.

Of course, none of the technical accomplishments would have mattered if Dune: Part One hadn’t performed at the story level as well. At first glance, the film had an instant drawback – Villeneuve was only adapting the first half of Herbert’s novel, meaning the traditional narrative arc we’d expected was missing. And without a doubt, some viewers were disappointed with the film’s ending, especially since the second film was not initially announced.

However, the decision to split the book in half was clearly the right one in terms of character and storyline development. While Lynch’s film traveled much of the first half of the book to arrive at the more eventful sequences, Villeneuve and co-writers Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth were able to build the relationships between the characters, as well as establish the political landscape and the conflict between the Houses of the Atreids and Harkonnen and the Padishah emperors who rule the galaxy.

Inevitably, even with 2.5 hours to play, there are still a lot of details from the book that have been left out, and Villeneuve himself admitted that there was a conscious decision to rationalize some of the political aspects in place of the film’s more personal content. The result is a film with a strong dramatic core – the relationship between Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) provides the emotional core of the film, and the constant development of Paul’s character through his experiences on Arakiss. is well handled. And of course the rest of the cast is performed perfectly, from Jason Momoa’s flamboyant sword master Duncan Idaho to world-weary Duke Leto Atreides Oscar Isaac to the mysterious Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother of Charlotte Rampling. and the terrifying Baron Harkonnen of Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd.

Dune is a mind-boggling achievement, an absolutely compelling and visually stunning slice of adult sci-fi that is suitable for both fans of Herbert’s novel and viewers who are new to this world. If the film had failed at the box office and Dune: Part Two hadn’t been lit, this could have been one of the biggest disappointments of the year, with the second half of the story never ending. But with the second movie slated for 2023, Dune is an incredible experience and GameSpot’s favorite movie of the year.