“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.
I’ve watched #Dune & it’s among the most immersive moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had w/ a sci-fi film. There is masterful filmmaking on display here. When paired w/ its big, monstrous sound, the film wondrously transports you to a new, exciting, horrific yet beautiful world pic.twitter.com/Z0oNUJbiNE
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) September 3, 2021
#Dune is the spectacle it promises to be.
Some sequences move very slowly. Some move quickly and are tremendously engaging.
Gorgeous sets and costumes. Top-notch world-building. Hans Zimmer’s music is brilliant. It’s insanely ambitious and very artistic. pic.twitter.com/NsU1cuwv3e
— BD (@BrandonDavisBD) September 3, 2021
#Dune is a cinematic thunderclap. Maybe my favorite film of the year.
Denis Villeneuve & co. created a phenomenal adaptation of Herbert’s work. It feels alien in the way the best sci-fi does and balances visceral violence and cruelty with resilience and hope. An absolute banger. pic.twitter.com/TIJ6qHaHWD
— Dan Casey (@DanCasey) September 3, 2021
I know you’re used to people raving about a movie on social media after it premieres. But trust me when I say Denis Villeneuve’s #Dune is a masterpiece not just of science-fiction but of cinema. Haven’t felt transported like that in a movie theater in a long time. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/VvJ5xg8zlb
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) September 3, 2021
#Dune is a visual spectacle. A new world is born for people like me, with no knowledge of the source material, and an achievement by Denis Villeneuve. Suspect Oscar noms in every tech category, director, picture. It opens with title card DUNE PART ONE. We better get PART TWO. pic.twitter.com/SkwjJCTlBo
— Clayton Davis (@ByClaytonDavis) September 3, 2021
#Dune is properly epic and a true blockbuster. The type we haven’t seen since Lord of the Rings. The kind of movie that no home theatre setup could do true justice. With genuine stakes and a satisfying lack of superheroics. And Hans Zimmer’s best score.
— Joe Utichi (@joeutichi) September 3, 2021
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:
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