Dune takes fans to another reality

Victoria Kirova, Features Editor

Dune was one of the most highly anticipated movies of this year, starring prominent actors such as Jason Momoa, Timothée Chalamet, and Zendaya. Dune is based on the popular book franchise by Frank Herbert, and fans were eager to see if the movie was effectively able to capture the essence of the novel that Herbert diligently worked to perfect. Thankfully, this movie did not disappoint. The actors’ breathtaking portrayal of emotion and the hours the director, Denis Villeneuve, spent honing on the details regarding this new sci-fi world, greatly contributed to the masterpiece that is Dune.

This movie begins with Chani, played by Zendaya, explaining the violence that her people, the Fremen, faced due to the barbaric rule of the Harkonnens, one of the Great Houses during this time. The Harkonnens presided over the planet of Arrakis, home of the Fremen, until the abrupt order of Emperor Shaddam IV, stating that they were to immediately leave for new rulers to take over this desired planet. 

The fascination for control over this land resulted from the substance that was found only on its surface, the “spice”. This small, grainy material enhances an individual’s senses, can prolong people’s lives, as well as carry the key to interstellar travel. Considering its importance, it came as no surprise that the Harkonnens were infuriated by the decision of the emperor to give control to House Atreides. 

Paul Atreides, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet, had been having dreams about a Fremen girl on Arrakis (Chani) whom he was unfamiliar with. While he tends to suppress these dreams, when they start to hint at the future, he cannot help but be apprehensive about the true meaning of them. He tells his close friend Duncan, a swordmaster and friend, played by Jason Momoa, about his dreams, but his unwillingness to accept the possible truth behind them, shows the stubborn mindset that his character has. 

The main conflict of this movie surrounds the political problems that result from the newfound control House Atreides has, especially after everyone learns that Paul Atreides could potentially be the Lisan-al-Gaiba (a prophesied messiah on Arrakis). It is revealed that the emperor purposefully granted Atreides the planet of Arrakis, to trap them into a war with the previous rulers, the Harkonnens. 

While this major problem was the focus of the movie, the way it was explained was unclear, leading to an overall confusion surrounding the true enemies in this film. Duke Leto Atreides, played by Oscar Isaac, recognizes that the emperor probably does not have his best intentions in mind; however, he still relocates his entire family to Arrakis, which is baffling as to why he would risk the safety of his people, regardless of these suspicions.  

Another shortfall was that throughout the movie, many distinct names of people and items were referred to, making it necessary to rewatch those clips or look up some of the phrases, simply to understand the greater conflict at hand. These terms were only known to people who were familiar with the Dune series, making it challenging to understand by others, whose first introduction to the world was through the film. 

While this movie was hard to follow at times, as a whole it allowed the viewer to immerse themselves in a setting that they felt they were a part of. Throughout the movie, the relationship of Paul Atreides and the other characters is evident. This is shown through his affection towards Duncan, as well as his mother, Lady Jessica, played by Rebecca Ferguson. Paul’s bond with his mother was important because it allowed these two brilliant actors to showcase the intense emotional connection of their characters, as they were seen together for most of the movie, trying their best to survive the vastly unfamiliar territory they found themselves in.

Overall, this movie lived up to the expectations that people had for it. Though it has some faults, the fast-paced riveting plot line and phenomenal acting makeup for them. This movie is a must see for longtime fans of the Dune series, or for those who are ready to watch a film that allows them to get transported to a new world of exploration.