Dune Review: Dry as dust

My expectations going into this movie were slim to none. I like to keep an optimistic view on all movies I watch; whether or not I think I will enjoy them or not. After reading the plot online, I was honestly hoping for a mash-up between notable features Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and George Lucas’s “Star Wars”. Traveling planets, intergalactic cinematography, it all seems quite enthralling. And after watching the trailer, I thought that was what I was going to be seeing. That was what I got, but it still disappointed me somehow.

Dune follows Paul Atreides (Timothy Chalamet), son of Duke Ledo House of Atreides (Oscar Isaac), in the year 10191. He is predetermined to follow his destiny, for which he does not understand. Paul is sent to the most dangerous plant in the world, Arrakis, a desert planet, to oversee the House Atreides implementation of spice. Spice is a substance vital for humans and interstellar travel. We accompany Paul as he travels to this planet with his Mom, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and experiences visions of Chani (Zendaya), a native girl to Arrakis.

I watched this movie out of the comfort of my own home. Many movies choose to show recently released movies on streaming services to reach a wider range of audiences who don’t want to or simply can’t see it in the theater, a result of quarantine. Although I didn’t watch this movie in a theater, it doesn’t take away from the simply captivating essence of this film.

From the beautiful graphics to the epic planets, the cinematography was breathtaking. If you weren’t a fan of the plot, at least you could fulfill your hunger for a film with the scenery. Every time the camera panned to a new scene or location, I was quite fascinated. Unfortunately, it seemed like they had spent the entire film’s budget on cinematography, costumes, and cast rather than in solid writing and plot. 

The costumes were designed by Jacqueline West. Her designs for the movie were spectacular. Each piece of clothing really emulated the character that was wearing it. Inspired by the intergalactic touch of futuristic style, Rather than take on a sleek, polished look you would imagine for a futuristic design, her outfits took on a more functional and modest style. 

However, the plot of the film is what I would describe as ambiguous. Although it was based off the book, I felt that how they translated it from pages to screen, much of the plot was lost in the adaptation. 

Although this movie’s casting featured some big names in the Hollywood scene, for example, Timothy Chalamet and Oscar Isaac, one of the most notable is Zendaya. Known for her significant roles in Michael Graceys’ The Greatest Showman ‘and Jon Watts’ Spiderman movies, Zendaya had made a name for herself in the movie industry. 

Spoilers:  One of my gripes with this film is that they advertise Zendaya as if she was one of the main characters. She was in countless interviews with Chalamet and was even on the movie’s main poster. In reality, she was in the film for about 7 minutes throughout the movie. A little bit at the beginning, small dreams of Paul where she appears for roughly 10 seconds throughout the middle, and quite literally 5 minutes at the end. It was disappointing to see her portrayed as a protagonist when in reality we only got a very little glimpse of her. 

I am a relatively big fan of Zendaya myself. I watched her as a child go from Disney Channel to teenage me seeing her on the big screen. I don’t mind that she had a small part in the movie, it just seemed like they exploited her to reach a younger audience. Typically, movies like Dune have an older audience; especially this being a remake of David Lynch’s 1984 Dune. The book was written in 1965 and not a lot of teenagers have read this book. Assuming adding in teenage icons of the twenty-first century would bring a wider range of fans, but it felt like clickbait rather than an actual strategy to get newcomers to see the movie. 

Overall, I thought the movie was pretty good. I Really enjoyed how they made the planets look and the liberties they took when it came to the looks of the characters. I would definitely recommend this to someone who enjoys sci-fi post-galactic movies. However, if you just watch it for the cast, I would stray away.