“Dune” Review Roundup: A Majestic, Astonishingly Vivid Epic Made for the Big Screen

Writer/director Denis Villeneuve’s hotly-anticipated Dune made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this past Friday, where it received a seven-minute standing ovation. Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic, based on Frank Herbert’s iconic 1965 book, has been on our radar since we first learned he was taking on Herbert’s notoriously dense tome. It was always going to be an immensely challenging adaptation, but one that Villeneuve, fresh off back-to-back sci-fi knockouts with Arrival and Blade Runner: 2049 was ideally suited to take on. The result of Villeneuve’s work, along with his immensely gifted cast and crew, is a sci-fi blockbuster on the grandest scale. Deadline‘s Pete Hammond calls Villeneuve’s adaptation a “spectacular and defining version of the sci-fi cult classic.”

For the uninitiated, Dune takes place largely on the desert planet of Arrakis, rich in the natural resource “spice,” the most sought-after substance in the universe. Spice has the ability to expand human capabilities and lifespans, which makes Arrakis irresistible to invasions from hostile outsiders. This is where Paul Atreides’ (Timothée Chalamet) steps in. Paul travels to Arrakis, at the behest of his father (Oscar Isaac’s Leo Atreides) where he meets the young woman he’s literally been dreaming about, Chani (Zendaya). Chani is looking for help in saving her planet, and thus Paul Atreides’ hero quest is set. Villeneuve’s film—only the first part of what he intended as a two-parter—boasts intergalactic battles, a sprawling cast, and the talents of some of the best behind-the-scenes people in the business all working in concert to create the kind of film experience that the theater was made for.

With the reviews from Venice now in, we can give you a taste of what critics are saying. Dune hits theaters and HBO Max on October 22. If you can see this movie on a big screen, you should.

Steve Pone, The Wrap: “A formidable cinematic accomplishment, a giant mood piece that can be exhilarating in its dark beauty.”

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times: “Villeneuve draws you into an astonishingly vivid, sometimes plausibly unnerving vision of the future.”

Ben Travis, Empire Magazine: “An absorbing, awe-inspiringly huge adaptation of (half of) Frank Herbert’s novel that will wow existing acolytes, and get newcomers hooked on its Spice-fuelled visions. If Part Two never happens, it’ll be a travesty.”

For more on Dune, check out these stories:

New “Dune” Images Reveal One of the Year’s Most Anticipated Films

Denis Villeneuve Writing Script For “Dune 2” & Zendaya Will Star

Chloé Zhao Has Seen “Dune” And Was “Blown Away”

The Official “Dune” Trailer is Here (And It’s Stunning)

Featured image: Caption: TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures


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