Denis Villeneuve can already claim to have reinvigorated one beloved, erstwhile sci-fi classic with Blade Runner 2049, his impressive 2017 sequel to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Now he sets his sights on Frank Herbert's epic 1965 novel Dune, its tale of intergalactic feuding families and industrial empires a perfect fit for Villeneuve's grand sensibilities and mythic visual style.
Dune follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the young son of Duke Leto (the always wonderful Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Paul is haunted by mysterious dreams which hint at an extraordinary destiny, while Duke Leto has just been appointed steward of the planet Arrakis, a harsh desert world which is home to the most prized substance in this future Empire; a substance called 'spice. If this all sounds like a lot to take in, Villeneuve makes it look easy, and his skill is in dropping the audience straight into this world of secret prophecies, noble lineages and scheming, brutal villains (a menacing Stellan Skarsgård) and still making everything as bombastically entertaining as it is.
Villeneuve's visual imagination is given free rein, from the stunning desert expanses of Arrakis, to the propulsive, spectacular action sequences, and we've barely mentioned the phenomenal cast (Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Jason Momoa) and score by fan-favourite composer Hans Zimmer.
Villeneuve's film only tackles the first half of Herbert's novel, and the director has been honest about the prospects of Dune: Part Two being dependent on this first film's box office receipts. For fans of blockbuster entertainment, of grand-scale storytelling, ostentatious visuals, and dense, immersive world-building, (Dune has already earned comparisons to Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films) this should be an instant hit, and a film absolutely made for the big screen.
Information published by Leisure and Culture Dundee.
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