Dune premiering at the Venice Film Festival led to what grew dangerously close to hyperbole judging by some of the reactions. It had been labelled as the new Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings which are very huge franchises to live up to, commonly not met by films that have come along with such praise beforehand. With visionary filmmaker Denis Villeneuve at the helm and one of the most impressive casts ever assembled, Dune certainly has the potential to be exactly that, audiences around the world set for one hell of a cinematic experience that you should be looking to see on the biggest screen available.

A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), 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.
Dune is a stunningly ambitious film from Denis Villeneueve, taking as much time as he needs to build a world that the audience believes in. It's not the most accessible of films and there will certainly be people who don't take to it as easy as some however, if you can bear with it and let it take you along for its journey, you are in for one of the most rewarding films of recent years. There's so much story to tell here and Villeneueve ensures every grain of sand is covered for this to feel as epic as everything pointed towards in its marketing. 

Alongside Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, Villeneueve delivers a rousing spectacle deeply rooted in family ties and prophecy as a war is fought over the most precious and valuable element in the entire galaxy. It moves along at its own pace but every exchange is vital to the film's endgame, setting things up for an ending that just leaves you wanting more from this world and the characters that inhabit it. 

The scale of Dune really is off the charts when you step out of the cinema and take it all in, Greig Fraser's cinematography working wonders with the vast landscapes and making the giant sandworms that make journeying the deserts of Arrakis so perilous seem very much so as they swallow anything in their path. If there is one person working out there who could bring such power to the film's score it's Hans Zimmer, who goes big with his sounds and manages to make the bagpipes sound delightful.
Coming to the cast, Dune possesses an abundance of quality performances to ensure it isn't just fancy visuals that catch the eye throughout. Timothée Chalamet leads the film with an impressive and commanding performance as Paul, facing a prophecy that comes with a crushing weight of expectation that allows him to grow in stature as a character throughout. Amidst an incredibly starry cast, Stellan Skarsgård chews as much scenery as possible in the villainous role of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen but it's Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Paul's mother, who serves as the MVP of the film with an incredible performance of worry for her son as the Atreides family comes under attack.

In a world of blockbuster filmmaking saturated with superhero films, it's great to see a major studio take a chance on a sci-fi property that isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. I have to applaud Denis Villeneuve for making the film he wanted to, serving as one hell of a reminder in just how spectacular cinema can be, and hope he gets the chance to make the second part to this epic.

Verdict: ½


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