New Dune adaptation enthralls book, movie lovers alike

Cast, setting allow film to be high-praised

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The widely-awaited film based off the 1965 book of the same name, the film has received a 74 metascore rating from IMDb, which is based off multiple critic reviews on the website.

Janka Gerber, Staff Reporter

In the weeks leading up to Oct. 22, many tattered and well-loved copies of Dune were taken off the shelves, and many new copies flew into the hands of new readers, people old and young revisiting or discovering the world of the book that is regularly cited as the world’s best selling science fiction novel.  

On Oct. 22, 2021, the long-anticipated movie Dune came roaring into theatres, appearing on 49,205 American movie screens. Within the first weekend, there were $40.1 million in ticket sales in America alone, as well as $180.6 million overseas. Dune has received high praise from the public as well as an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Based on the first book, which has sold 20 million copies, in the world-renowned series by Frank Herbert, the movie Dune follows the first part in the first book. Award-winning director Dennis Villeneuve accompanied by incredible cinematographer Greig Fraser, fit 253 pages of dense content and dramatic world-building into two hours and 35 minutes of cinematic art. Villeneuve and Fraser were exactly the duo needed to tackle this monstrous film adaptation, and they did so while keeping the integrity of the storyline, something that is not often done in film adaptations of books. The impact of this movie was so intense that a mere five days after its release, Warner Bros. and Legendary have officially greenlit Dune Part Two

The technological advancements that Herbert created in his world are like nothing seen before in literature and thus in cinema. With a budget of $165 million, the producers of Dune brought Herbert’s striking vision to life on the silver screen. Fraser’s creativity in the filming of this movie enchanted every movement every character made. A scene as simple as Paul (the main character) walking across a beach became a powerful view into the character.

The cinematography was jarring, light and desolate within the same scene. So much of the incredible acting in this movie was brought to life by Fraser’s beautiful artistic eye. Two of the most striking things in the film were the ability to so clearly differentiate what scenes were real, and what scenes were part of Paul’s visions, as well as the distinct difference between the sand and the infamous spice on the desert planet Arrakis. The color and the way the spice moved through the air in contrast to the sand were breathtaking, making the sense of the value of the spice so tangible to the audience.

Oftentimes for these otherworldly type films, directors will decide to film in a green screen area, allowing the characters to not be in harsh conditions; however, Villeneuve decided to film the majority of the film with no green screens or blue screens, immersing the actors into the environment of Abu Dhabi and Jordan. This allowed the actors to fully engross themselves into their characters, making the acting and emotion-rich and vivid. The graphics that were used in this movie are like nothing done before, the cinematography is otherworldly, and the music took this from a great film to a cinematic triumph. 

Hans Zimmer is known for gracing society with his incredible composing skills in box office hits such as No Time To Die, Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception, Dunkirk, Gladiator and countless other films. It is fitting that Zimmer should compose another masterpiece to accompany this film. Zimmer did not just create a soundtrack, he created an entire musical world, which without it, Dune would not have been nearly as strong. Dune is an extremely unique film that required extremely unique music. Zimmer’s use of tribal drums mixed with sweeping instrumentals mixed with the earth-shattering IMAX speakers created such an unearthly sound that sent a chill straight to the bone. 

Oftentimes when a movie adaptation comes to the big screen, there is a division between original book fans, and strictly movie fans. Working with a book series that has a fanbase stretching back to 1965 when the first book came out, production companies have trouble casting the beloved characters in a way that will feed long, cultivated vision, and keep fans happy. Given keeping the book fans happy is hard to do, the casting of Dune was impeccable. 

Timothee Chalamet plays the main character, Paul, with the utmost accuracy while still making the role his own. In the book, Paul is a 15-year-old boy who is the messiah of his universe, even if he does not know it yet. He is a young boy who has high expectations placed upon his shoulders as well as a legacy to uphold. Now, the thought of a 25-year-old playing a 15-year-old is definitely disheartening; however, Timothee Chalamet plays Paul beautifully. He portrays the character as a young boy who knows too much about things that he does not yet understand, a boy plagued by visions and dreams and a “terrible purpose” that he knows he must fulfill. 

Chalamet paired with the incredible Rachel Ferguson as his mom, Lady Jessica, created a fiery dynamic, both actors falling completely into their roles and portraying the raw emotion that was described in the book. Ferguson’s portrayal of the Bene Gesserit Jessica and her conflicting feelings of her duties as a Bene Gesserit and her hopes as a mother was stellar, the fervor in which her lines were delivered created such a passionate aura around Jessica, making her a character to take notice of. 

Chalamet paired with the incredible Rachel Ferguson as his mom, Lady Jessica, created a fiery dynamic, both actors falling completely into their roles and portraying the raw emotion that was described in the book. Ferguson’s portrayal of the Bene Gesserit Jessica and her conflicting feelings of her duties as a Bene Gesserit and her hopes as a mother was stellar, the fervor in which her lines were delivered created such a passionate aura around Jessica, making her a character to take notice of. 

This film has made a lot of noise globally, and it is anticipated to only make more in the weeks to come. Dune is worth every bit of hype it is getting, it is a must-see for anyone who loves science fiction, fantasy, or a genuinely beautifully developed world and plotline. Perhaps the highest praise this film can get is from the readers; while sitting in the IMAX theatre it was impossible not to notice the pure energy radiating from a man sitting two seats over. From the way his arms were flailing, his voice was squealing, and the way his girlfriend was trying in vain to relax him, it was clear that he had read the books before. When the lights came on and the roaring clapping came to a murmur looking over at the man beaming face beneath the mask, I simply couldn’t resist striking up a conversation with him, his passion was intoxicating. He admitted that he had read the books in high school and had to analyze them for classes. He had nothing but praise for the adaptation, saying it was beautiful and that if someone reads the book before seeing the film it is enough to make them “lose their mind.”