Denis Villeneuve delivers for fans with ‘Dune’


Lydia Tesfaye

“Dune” was released in theaters and on HBO Max Oct. 22. This film is a remake of the 1984 version.

“Dune” 2021, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is a masterwork bringing Frank Herbert’s classic hard sci-fi novel to theatres.
I attended a late showing of the film at Century Laguna 16, on Oct. 29 with my spouse. We arrived at the theater and were greeted by a mostly empty lot and open parking about 50 yards from the front doors.
Upon arrival at the theater in our masks, we waited in the queue to have our pre-purchase tickets scanned and were given our stubs. We arrived early so there would be more concession options available, but given that our showing was at 10:20 p.m. The options remaining seemed already picked over.
I looked over the options available, there was a bartender offering alcoholic beverages and multiple options for cooked food mostly dealing with french fries and cuts of fried chicken. There were also low quantities of your more standard movie theater food, hot dogs, nachos, a wide selection of candy and soft pretzels.
My spouse and I decided that a large bucket of delicious buttered popcorn and a freestyle soda for each of us were all we needed for our film.
The staff was friendly and very helpful when I mentioned my disappointment that the theater hadn’t brought back kettle corn as an option alongside normal popcorn. They were apologetic and properly in my opinion let me know they hear that complaint all the time and let me know that they would inform management.
We then moved into auditorium 14 and found our preselected seats six rows from the front right in the center. There were four or five people in the theater already when we walked in, and maybe 12 to 15 in total attended the showing.
The seats were the newer “luxury lounger” type allowing for stowing of the armrests and a decent amount of recline, when compared to the older versions of theater seating, they live up to their luxury name.
Once we settled in and the movie began, the plot focused its attention primarily on the noble family of house Atreides who rule over the planet Caladan as they are tasked by the emperor of the known universe to take over the production of spice on the planet Arrakis from house Harkonnen.
The 156-minute running time is split between events on Caladan leading up to the house moving worlds, with the whole first hour involved building the narrative and characters for their interactions on and with the namesake Dune World of Arrakis.
The cast of the film is filled with talented and highly respected actors with the leading role of Paul Atreides played by Timothée Chalamet (“Lady Bird”), his father and mother the Duke Leto Atreides and the Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica played by Oscar Isaac (“Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”) and Rebecca Ferguson (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation“).
With other notable supporting cast members including Josh Brolin (“Avengers: Endgame”), Stellan Skarsgård (“Thor”), Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Zendaya Coleman (“Spiderman: Homecoming”), Jason Momoa (“Aquaman”) and more. The cast is stacked with some of the most talented actors working today.
The script gives each character a lot to work with and the long running time allows for audience investment.
What really makes the movie is the cinematography, special effects and score. The director took a dense, verbose, story that many would consider difficult to approach and let the setting and scale become as integral as the characters.
The first time I saw a highliner, a spice collector or sandworm, I was immediately bought into the massive scale that Villeneuve was hoping to convey.
That’s not to say the movie didn’t have some flaws. Villeneuve used cutaway flashbacks aggressively, these felt heavy handed making the story feel a little choppy at times.
All around I would say the movie is worth watching whether you’re a fan of Herbert’s books, as Villeneuve has created one of the best book adaptations since Peter Jackson’s conversions of “The Lord of the Rings.”
If you’re still not convinced or are uncomfortable attending an in-person film, there is also the option of watching on the HBO Max streaming service at least until the film is removed on November 21.
Streaming, while still a better option than not seeing the film at all, loses some of the larger-than-life scale and grandeur the film has in the theater. Think of looking at a three-foot-tall sandworm rather than 40 feet tall in the theater, that sheer scale is an integral part of this film.
“Dune” part two has been greenlit by the studio with a planned release date of October 20, 2023.