There is no lack of flattering Timmy shots in the highly anticipated sci-fi adventure film Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve, but unfortunately, I do not think your love for those iconic cheekbones and brown curls alone will carry you along this journey.
The protagonist, Paul Atreides (Timotheé Chalamet), is born with a great gift and an even greater destiny. As he fights to learn how to control and manipulate his powers inherited from his mother, he must also fight the voice in his head questioning if he wants to / is ready to inherit his father’s title and power.
The run time is over two and a half hours, and the pacing throughout the film is slow. Zendaya’s appearance is teased sporadically, but we don’t actually meet her character until the final half-hour of the film. Jason Momoa cracks a few one-liners early on, but the mood of the film is mostly somber and serious. Our understanding of the intricate dystopia and the gravity of Paul’s journey relies on slow-building conflict. While the plot may fail to grab your attention, you will find it impossible to look away. The gorgeous vast sand dunes, the grand dragonfly-looking space ships, and the perfectly tailored costumes will keep you fixated as the conflict gradually builds.
If you have seen any of the recent Star Wars movies, you will appreciate Villeneuve’s decision to keep the movie moving at a slow pace. There is no missing the parallels between Dune and the Star Wars franchise. There is a galaxy far far away, crazy spaceships, futuristic weapons, and a hero in the making. But unlike franchises like Star Wars or Marvel, there are not a million plots going on at once; every character and tribe introduced is thoroughly explained and serves a purpose. It doesn’t feel impossible to keep up with and doesn’t require any prior knowledge. That is not to say Villeneuve directly hands everything to you; he definitely does not. You will inevitably leave the theater with questions about the complex political structure and creepy villain of the film, but not enough to take away from the enjoyability of the film.
After keeping us in anticipation after the film was postponed almost a year due to COVID, Dune did not disappoint. But if you are looking for a variation of Elio Perlman or Laurie, you won’t find it in Dune. The young actor takes on a new challenge in the movie breaking away from the crowd-pleasing lovable character and embracing a more intricate, dimensional, and mature role. To appreciate this new chapter in our beloved Timotheé’s career, you must put in the effort to grasp the beautiful, unique, and intense world of Dune.
Cover photo: Chiabella James