Dune (2021)

Despite the enormous amount of air displaced by the arrival of this, the third screen-telling of the Frank Herbert saga, Dune is unremarkable. 

It’s not bad at all. It’s a fun, big-screen, epic watch with pleasing production design, a fine cast and nothing really wrong with it. On the other hand there’s nothing really exceptional about it. Almost everything in it recalls something we’ve seen before, probably in a star wars movie, but not so much so that it’s annoying.

To begin, our exotic Fremen heroine spells out the basics in a California-accented voice over. The next ten minutes are a bit awkward where the acting appears overwrought, the dialogue unnecessarily laboured and the whole preamble a bit uninspired apart from some nice costumes. Thereafter Herbert’s story leads the way though, and things assemble into a simple, entertaining arrangement. The writers don’t dig deep into the novel’s themes or the culture of the Imperium, we just follow the the known plot points and watch the characters duke it out, which they do ably.

To be fair, the second half of the story has yet to be told. So far it’s a fine, if light, entertainment worth the price of admission even if it boldly undersells its source material.  Good work, but it feels like someone else could still have a go. In the meantime, try the book.

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