Dune | Near Mastery in Book Adaptation

Frank Herbert‘s 1965 science fiction novel of the same name, has had several big screen treatments – I’ve never seen any of them until now – but this feature adaptation is helmed by Sicario‘s Denis Villeneuve and stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Zendaya (Spiderman: Homecoming), Jason Momoa (Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Aquaman), Rebecca Ferguson (MI5, MI6, The White Queen), Josh Brolin (Infinity War, Endgame) among other talented actors.

Premise: A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Review: This movie is amazing, because the wealth of material crammed into that first book made me think that an adaptation would be very underwhelming. The reason for that i, most studios tend to adapt one book for one movie, except when they’re trying to milk the source material dry (i.e.: The Hobbit Trilogy, Breaking Dawn). In this instance they adapted most of the first book while still trimming some things from it.

Now, let’s focus on the movie itself, it’s striking. The visual effects, costume and set designs, and the acting is near perfection. Dune is a beautiful movie to look at with captivating performances in the hand of a skilled director and cinematographer but I have to admit that more needed to be done to convey some of the somewhat complex story points of this world. They did a decent job of it but during my screening, a woman next to me needed to have some of the blanks filled for her by her friends next to her. Don’t worry it wasn’t disrupting to me but whenever I felt like what I was seeing on screen wasn’t clear enough that woman, who clearly never read the books reacted in a way that confirmed my suspicions. In some instances it was a great thing because she was surprised and amazed by things that I expected but in others she wasn’t clear on some aspects and that’s what I’m referring to here.

It’s a bit nitpicky of me but part of the story was a bit wage, like some of the characters motivations, to name one. Not all of them were well defined – going deeper into this would be going into spoiler territory. However, the many themes of the original story is cleverly translated to the screen, and like the first book it allows different people to pull a variation of meaning of this movie.

Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune is a beautiful movie that does the book justice but it’s only one part of a hopefully much bigger whole.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

If you’re interested in the source material, help us by getting them from the links below:


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