Based on a book with the same name written by Frank Herbert, Dune is a 2021 science fiction movie starring Timothée Chalamet. Dune, the novel, is one of the most well-known pieces of American science fiction literature. Being unsuccessfully adapted to screen many times in the past, Dune soon gained great attention with fans looking forward to a more-developed piece of cinema.
The movie chronicles the story of House Atreides, the newly assigned rulers of Arrakis, a desert planet teeming with “spice.” In the universe of Dune, “spice” is the valuable resource needed for human interplanetary travel, making the control of Arrakis crucial for maintaining power. When the old rulers of Arrakis take action against House Atreides, political fallout and civil war ensues.
There are many reasons to love Dune. The gorgeous cinematography of sweeping alien landscapes is simply breathtaking. When seen in a movie theater, the large-scale, high-resolution shots really shine. Many movies of Dune’s scale and grandeur tend to sacrifice story for visual elements, but Dune retains both while staying undeniably stylish and entertaining. The audio department also did a great job, managing to get the great Hans Zimmer on board to score the movie. Zimmer’s beautiful, somber score compliments the grandiose scenery and creates a combination that really belongs more in a museum than a movie screen.
A variety of actors worked their heart out for Dune, and it really shows. Lead star Timothée Chalamet continues his warpath to dominate the film industry and adds to his already impressive list of credits. However, despite the great performance by Chalamet, the actor who really stole the show in Dune is Oscar Isaac, known for playing Poe Dameron in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Isaac puts on a beautiful performance as the leader of House Atreides and really sells his character well. His overwhelming screen presence is a reflection of the temporary power that House Atreides plays in the great political game that the movie portrays.
However, where Dune stumbles is unforgivable. In an industry teeming with predatory business practices, Dune is perhaps the worst offender yet. The trailer that was used to set up Dune showcased a completely different movie. Zendaya was heavily utilized in the promotional material, even going as far as narrating almost the whole trailer. It would be crazy to think that Zendaya gets more screen time in the trailer than in the movie, but she really does. The movie is sold as almost a Star Wars-type movie where the good guys blow up the bad guys, but in reality, it is a winding political thriller that rarely brings any action to the screen.
Of course, not all great movies have action—or Zendaya—but where I cannot bring myself to like Dune is what it represents. Buying a ticket and watching Dune is like buying a ticket to watch my consumer rights being stripped from me in real-time. What Dune wants to tell me is that it is willing to lie and deceive just to sell more seats, and that really does not sit right with me.
As a movie, Dune is definitely worth a watch. It is a quality film that has some beautiful cinematography and a great story. However, as a product, Dune raises some eyebrows in its business ethics. It is hard not to recommend Dune, but before paying for the ticket, you definitely should know what you are buying into and who you are supporting.