Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” a “Masterpiece of Cinema”


Courtesy of the official “Dune” website

Mark Ruffin, Centurion Staff

Epic, immersive, awe-inspiring, and a visual delight to behold.
Those are the words that I would choose to describe “Dune,” Denis Villeneuve’s masterpiece of cinema.
As I sat down in the IMAX theater at REGAL Cinema located in King of Prussia, PA, I knew I was in for something special. Not since seeing Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy” was I excited to see a film in an IMAX theater, the reason being just like the “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Dune” was filmed with IMAX cameras to truly give you an immersive cinematic experience. “Dune” was meant to be seen on the biggest screen, an IMAX screen.
As The Warner Bros. logo appears on the screen, a booming, synthesized voice echoes out in an alien language while the subtitles read: “Dreams are messages from the deep.” This surreal, slightly creepy moment is designed to take you out of your comfort zone and set the tone for what’s to come: a genuinely otherworldly experience.
The film begins with a dream. Freeman warrior Chani (Zendaya) recounts her people’s oppression at the hands of the Arrakis brutal occupiers, the Harkonnens, who mine the desert planet for its valuable natural resource, the spice Melange. The dreamer is Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the son of Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and his concubine, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Paul’s abilities, passed down from his Bene Gesserit – a powerful order of sorceresses – mother, include prescient visions, and when his father is tasked with taking over from the Harkonnens on Arrakis, the young man must decide which path he wants to follow.
Upon arriving to Arrakis with his father’s army, Paul begins to comprehend the grave danger his family has been placed in, as he experiences increasingly disturbing glimpses into his violent future as both a fabled Fremen Mahdi (messiah) and the Bene Gesserit’s all-powerful “Kwisatz Haderach.”
I know this all sounds like a lot to digest and boring. However, what will suck you in is Han’s Zimmer masterful score, the cinematography, the visuals, and the epic sound mix that really makes you feel like you are on the plant of Arrakis. Villeneuve does a great job of steaming the dense material for moviegoers who may not be familiar with the material or Frank Herbert’s classic novels that the film is based on.
The supporting cast surrounding Chalamet is also great. The likes of Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, and Stellan Skarsgard bring weight and gravitas to the supporting roles.
“Dune” is just one half of the story however, and some may not be expecting the abrupt ending. It has been confirmed that Legendary and Warner Bros Pictures have officially greenlit “Dune: Part 2”.
“Dune is not a normal blockbuster, and it shows in the dense storytelling (some audiences may not be ready for that). Director Denis Villeneuve has made a film that is ambitious, harrowing and demands to be seen on the biggest screen.
Grade: A-
“Dune” is currently playing in theaters and steaming on HBO Max( 30 days of release).