“Dune” captures audiences’ anticipation, brilliant filmography


Image courtesy of IMDb

Josiah Anderson

Adapted from Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel series, Dune (2021), directed by Denis Villeneuve, follows the life of teenager Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) as he grows from an ambitious adolescent to a smart and swift leader, capable of changing the tides of reality. “Dune” succeeds in telling a detailed and intriguing story through a multitude of film techniques and brilliant scripting. The only complaint was perhaps its finish. The film ended in the middle of the story, giving way to a possible second part which has not yet been officially confirmed.

Many science-fiction films in the 21st century such as “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “The Edge of Tomorrow” have been based around high action sequences and a quickly paced story that only slows down when a resolution has been reached. “Dune” defies this precedent as scenes are slower and more deliberate, which allows characters and settings to become further fleshed out to the audience. Even in scenes of high movement, the action isn’t always necessarily flashy and intense, which contributes to the sense of tension that flares throughout the movie. Its slower pace does not make it boring or bland, but rather makes each moment more interesting and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat awaiting an answer.

Writing a blockbuster movie is no easy task. While the writing is wonderful, the actors and actresses’ execution is arguably more so. “Dune” has a star-studded cast, from newer stars like Timothee Chalamet (Paul Atreides) and Zendaya (Chani), to more experienced performers such as Josh Bronlin (Gurney Halleck) and Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica). Chalamet’s acting shows Paul Atreides evolve from a reluctant boy to a resilient and resolved young man seeking to redeem his people and help those around him. All the while, Ferguson’s Lady Jessica shows strength in her role as Paul’s mother while also demonstrating immense fear in her shaking hands and repeated chanting to ward off such fright. 

As Paul Atreides learns and fights, it becomes clear he will have an important role in the development of his people and the world they inhabit. While the meticulous plot and reasoning for much of the world and Paul’s gifts are complex and difficult to comprehend, the movie does an excellent job of simplifying the events and details any viewer would need to know while excluding the ones less critical to the plot. 

Prophecies make up a large portion of the plot itself, and as a medium are used to relate current events to future ones and further expose Paul’s thought process. Yet as the movie draws on, it becomes clear the dreams and visions Paul has are not future possibilities, but the future itself. This kind of story-telling is not only unique, but highly captivating, as the audience only catches bits and pieces of the future, which results in building anticipation of the moment the future becomes a reality, and how it will all fit together.

Telling the story of a futuristic world of space and intergalactic travel using a screen as a medium is incredibly challenging, but “Dune” pulls it off well. The film enchants viewers with prophetic plot points and an intriguing world full of giant creatures, hidden peoples and evil rulers all brought together by a slow, but deliberate and entertaining method of presentation that is impossible to look away from.

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