YOU must have had your head buried in the sand to miss the hype around Dune.
For eager fans the wait for the big-screen release of the remake of David Lynch’s 1984 cult classic has felt like centuries. So it feels apt that in one of the first scenes of this thrilling sci-fi, the year is declared as 10,191.
The world is a very different looking place, with planets being run by noble houses. The story, adapted from Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, concentrates on the gifted young Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), who is born into a destiny beyond his understanding.
His father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) decide to ensure the future of the family and their people by relocating to the dangerous desert planet, Arrakis, which is the source of the ‘spice’ – the most valuable substance in the universe.
There are greedy enemies wanting to take the family down everywhere, with the grotesque and most repugnant being in the form of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard).
Staying-alive challenges also come from giant sandworms, blackmailed spies and even the sun, which beats down so hard it can kill in seconds.
There’s no doubt this film has a stellar cast including award winners Zendaya, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa and a scene from Brit actress Charlotte Rampling that is so terrifying it’ll have you sitting on your hands.
Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) clearly knows how to handle a sci-fi, but he also brings a gentle rawness to the film, that isn’t all visual stunts and CGI. Some scenes are stripped back to the bare basics, and the solid cast are able to keep you enthralled.
At some points the whispery dialogue is lost due to the booming music score being so loud and there’s a few too many dream sequences (the laziest trick in film) for my liking.
And with only 12 years between the son and mum actors, I spent the first half hour of the film assuming they were siblings.
That aside, Dune isn’t just one for the sci-fi super fans – it’s a big budget blockbuster that is not exclusively for those with a well-thumbed copy of the novel. Villeneuve has made this version easier to digest, which will – no doubt – help it at the box office.
At a whopping two hours 35 minutes, my top tip is to empty your bladder before the first start.
- Dune is out on October 21st