Denis Villeneuve’s Dune – eclipses – if you will – all the past versions of the classic Frank Herbert novel already been caught on screen.
It takes the best of Lynch, Jodorosky’s insanity, the sheen of the two television adaptations, and brings his own vision of Dune to the big screen.
Dune the novel is one of the seminal science fiction novels. Count it with 1984, Animal Farm, Clockwork Orange, Brave New World, Fahrenheit, and a couple more.
Villeneuve’s work plays more like a Shakespearean tragedy with massive set pieces and set ups – and little time spent with most characters. Duke Leto and the House Atreides is assigned to mine spice on the planet Arrakis – controlled by the House Harkonnen.
Cue some betrayal and then a handful of Macbeth or Julius Caesar type early deaths to send off some of your characters - and away we go.
The film is series of one off or slight appearances by many in the film – Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgard, John Brolin, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, and Javier Bardem do much with very little screen time – which Paul Atreides and his mother -Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson- share a bulk of the screen.
The sets are incredible – the performances are top shelf and I can see Momoa getting a supporting Oscar consideration from the brief part.
The film is an epic lesson in soundscape and sound design – and clocking in at two hours and 35 minutes does see the film drag in parts – as this is only the first half of the book.
The new Dune does underline how close of an adaptation David Lynch brought to the screen in 1980s. Lose some of his quirks and additions - and now add $150 million in technology and effects and you are looking at similar film.
The sequel or second half - is bound get more sandy, more epic battles and the conclusion of the battle between the House Harkonnen and House Atriedes. Perhaps this is where Villeneuve will throw some Magma or Pink Floyd needle drops. Or Toto. A couple key parts have yet to be cast or revealed – still hope for some Sting return.
Starting Friday November 5. Dune plays nightly in Chetwynd at 8pm.