“Dune” (Rated T)
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard
Where to watch: In theaters/HBO Max
The nearly 110-year old classic song, “You Made Me Love You (I Didn’t Want to Do It)” – composed way back in 1913 – almost perfectly encapsulates how I feel about the biggest movie in the world right now.
Lord knows I really didn’t want to even like “Dune”. Honestly, who needs another “Star Wars” meets “Harry Potter” meets “Lord of the Rings” meets “Game of Thrones” meets plenty other sci-fi flicks over the past four decades?
And wasn’t there already a critically-panned, box-office bomb version of “Dune” back in 1984?
Plus, the ads and trailers for the new one looked pretty cheesy!
Well, never mind all that! Oscar-nominated Director Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) – who’s clearly very comfortable in the sci-fi world (“Blade Runner 2049”) – has crafted something quite remarkable: an epic, fun, thrilling, intriguing, captivating spectacle!
It’s got an amazing all-star cast too: Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”), Rebecca Ferguson (“Doctor Sleep”), Oscar Isaac (“Star Wars”), Stellan Skarsgard (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, HBO’s “Chernobyl” ), Jason Momoa (“Aquaman”), Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Josh Brolin (“Avengers: Infinity War”), and Oscar-winner Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”).
And while, for the most part, we only get incessant flashes of Emmy-winner Zendaya (HBO’s “Euphoria”), it’s obvious that these are just teasers of more substantial and exciting things to come.
Watching all these fine folks talk about the weather would be fascinating by itself, so imagine them playing well-defined characters navigating intergalactic politics and conflicts.
Chalamet plays Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.
Based on the beloved 1965 book of the same name, the film makes some subtle and some not-so-subtle statements about religion and race and even gender, and some of our contemporary global conflicts – even though it’s set in the year 10191.
Visually stunning, and fascinating in scope and scale, “Dune” is a feast on every level, including the performances. And even among this superstar cast, Chalamet shines.
Like the aforementioned “Game of Thrones”, there’s a lot going on, and yet, not much happening, all at the same time. Pretty early into the film, it’s clear there’s little chance everything (or anything) will be resolved before the end of the picture. Yet there’s never a dull moment.
This is definitely a “Dune” part one. And though I think there was never any doubt, part two was confirmed this week, after its impressive global box office performance.
Can’t wait to love that one too!
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter@morningblend969.