Dune; Grade: B+
So I originally saw Dune while I was visiting Vegas last Saturday, with my homie D’Mon. The viewing was experience was perhaps pretty normal in the beginning, I guess I was surprised we had a decent crowd for a 9:40 P.M. showing, plus the film released for a few maybe four weeks ago. Bout I would say thirty minutes in… Suddenly my viewing experience was completely wrecked, by a good fifteen teenagers storming into the theater. I assumed they just were late or just movie hopped… But no, these teenagers acted like a bunch of hooligans, as they ran up and down the aisles every couple minutes, taking turns sitting in different spots. The audience during this time got pretty aggravated and pissed off, as even one actually made a valid attempt into reporting them. So my viewing experience was pretty awful for my first go and around and for the first time ever, I had to set back my review on this film. Majority of the time I’m able to manage distractions… But since these distractions lasted a good twenty or so minutes, there was no way I could follow along with the film properly or give this film a fair review. As I’ve learned over the years: The only thing really holding back a great theatrical experience, is the movie goers themselves. I will never understand why people like this exist or even have the audacity to attend a movie theater in the first place, if you’re going to act like a bunch of pre-schooled delinquents… Please stay the fuck home.
Dune tells a story about a boy named Paul (Timothee Chalamet) whom is trained to become a leader someday, to inherit his father Leto’s (Oscar Isaac) throne. Duke Leto Atreides has acquired leadership of Arrakis bringing new leadership to the land for the first time in many years, over taking it from a group of people known as the Harrokeons. Paul not only is a fierce and strong warrior, he also is obtaining power in which only a group of women can acquire that has the ability to order people want to do in your own power. Atreides however while acquiring this hot sandy land, it appears it’s been brought to such terrible shape to which has enslaved a great amount of people due to greed within abuse of power. It appears that this land given to the Atreides was not given in which that would help develop Sand Power and control of the Spice, to where the intentions are to produce a better civilization. It appears that this was all but a trap, to lead to blood shed so The Harrokeons can once again lead the land, but to also wipe out groups to where no one can stop their reign of power for good.
First time having watched Dune, I was considering to give this film a C+ to B- level of grading. From my first viewing experience I enjoyed the visuals, the effects were top notch, and most certainly entertaining performances. However when it came to the story at hand: I was pretty confused on the whole thing, while also not being wow’d much except a couple sequences mainly in the third act. Having watching Dune for a second time in the comfort of my own home, with the captions on… I feel Dune is quite thankful I gave this another shot, as my second viewing really improved my experience with this film.
Dune for a second time around, I felt the story at hand was well written and especially for a setup of a beginning leading to an epic conclusion. It’s pretty clear as to why the Atreides were led to take over this land given by the Emperor: It was not because to build a much better civilization in which hoping to succeed peace, it was to basically wipe out this group and another so the power for the Harrokeons will continue on leaving absolutely nothing standing in their way. So it was pretty much a cruel setup, a brilliant evil setup if you ask me. Of course some people in the Atriedes thought of power say Gurney (Josh Brolin), but Paul and his father really had a vision in which to do better in which to master Sand Power so not a single evil force could stand in the way for succeeding the bigger picture.
Paul being the chosen one was all thanks to his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), whom helped trained him to acquire a forbidden power held back from men, as only women were able to have the ability to force people to their will to command them to do things. I believe Lady Jessica saw the potential in which Paul would someday be a great leader like his father, but why stop there?! Why not give Paul a secret weapon in which she knows he’s only going to use it for the greater good of humanity, as who knows there could be a day in which humanity could be lost for a lost cause. I find the whole character development of Paul to be fairly written, sometimes I wish more was developed on his training, however he’s not a perfect powerful being as he does slip up time to time as going along with the story he improves and gets stronger over the course of time.
I thought the whole element of Paul having the visions to be quite interesting. I felt within these visions, Paul was unsure as the figures he sees could be for him or against him, as the angst really builds up inside knowing something very terrible could be happening and he has more of a responsibility to prevent these things from happening. As far as the antagonists of this film goes… They’re fine. Honestly I think they’ll improve on the second film especially with The Emperor ordeal, however they were fine as you know their intentions were to only murder the Atreides so they can go back to taking control of their land, not much depth involved with them whatsoever.
The action sequences of this film were solid, I felt mainly the third act was the best portion especially with Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) clash with many fighters. The action felt pretty matured for a grand spectacle Sci-Fi like this, where you normally see some very wild explosions and of course a really fast paced fighting as far weapons and such. This honestly felt like I was partaking in Martial Arts, even with the devices by The Atreides: It fends off on quick attacks most threats normally do while fighting, as if you set yourself to a fairly slow and paced attack, you can go through their device and succeed in harming them. It felt like a breath of fresh air from what you normally see out of these films.
Same with the first viewing: I enjoyed the visuals and effects. The design of the Sand Worm was pretty cool, I would say most of the visuals and effects is a MAJOR improvement from Lynch’s Dune film especially, though it aged poorly but even viewing that film back then I say it’s pretty goofy from a visual perspective. Performances were solid as a whole, I felt there was some un-intentional hilarious acting sequences, however given the concept… It was excused, I got a nice laugh.
Flaws given to this film perhaps is pacing and I believed it was more affected the second time around, there is some sequences of dragging here and there or moments in which weren’t at all exciting nor interesting. I would say much of my confusion on the story has improved, however some areas even with characters I would say have remained unclear. YMS made a criticism of believing as a film on it’s own it’s not impressive without a sequel and I do kind of agree with it: I believe my perspective on this film would’ve differ if we didn’t have the intention of knowing more was bound to come with this as well. It can leave you a bit unsatisfied in that regard, it’s not like with Lord of the Rings or even IT where you’re perfectly satisfied with each entry because they all feel completed, with Dune however you did feel a sense that it feels incomplete.
Still for a beginning: Dune is thoroughly enjoyable and it does make you excited on the epic conclusion!
Overall, Dune is a pretty good film. I recommend checking this one out, must see in a theater I would say. Although the viewing experience was wrecked the first time around, at least afterwards D’Mon introduced me to a gal I’ve been wanting to meet for awhile… If you ever need a reliable quality friend, D’Mon is there to give ya a helping hand. -Mitch Smietana