"To see in theaters or not see in the theaters?" That is the question HBO Max asks of its subscribers with each new release. But with the case of Dune, it should not really be a question at all. Dune is the type of film that BEGS to be seen on the biggest screen possible, paired with the most amazing sound system you can find. It's the type of film that swallows its viewer up whole, in the absolute best possible way...if you'll let it.
Dune centers on Paul Atreides (Timotheé Chalamet), a young man with a destiny that he doesn't quite know what to make of yet. Is he meant to be a leader like his father, the Duke (Oscar Isaac)? Or does he have greater powers like his mother, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson)? Or is he even more important than he can possibly imagine? Paul is only just learning about himself and where he fits into the world when he's thrust into the Empire's political conflict. On the alien planet Arrakis, Paul discovers a new way of life...but it is only just the beginning of his journey.
Denis Villeneuve is one of the most reliable directors in Hollywood right now and I was confident of how good this movie would be in his hands. As always, he gets the finest people working alongside him, and as such, Greig Fraser's cinematography stuns, while the musical score by Hans Zimmer is downright incredible. Villeneuve definitely gets help from his talented cast though, all of whom are very good. Paul's relationship with his parents is key to who he is, and both Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson, in particular, are very effective. I've seen criticism about there being a lack of heart in this film, which I don't think is totally fair. To me, it just shows what type of cold, bleak and rigid world in which Dune is set. So much of the story too is one of survival, so I imagine we'll get into the consequences and the resulting feelings of what happened in this movie in the sequel.
Going into this film, I actually had as little knowledge as possible about the Frank Herbert novel and its previous big-screen adaptation, which I have never seen. As a huge Star Wars fan, I knew that George Lucas had been inspired by Dune when creating his original trilogy, but I knew no other details beyond that. While the film was rich in details and lore that I tried my best to keep up with, it was just so immersive that I couldn't help but be swept up in all of it. Movies like this are special. Stories like this are special. They are few and far between these days and I can't wait to see what happens next.