Dune (2021)

Micah Ebstein, Staff writer

Spoiler Alert

Based on Frank Herbert’s novel of the same name, Dune is the first part in the story of Paul Atreides, heir to the Duke. In the year 10191, House Atreides moves by imperial decree from their homeworld of Caladan to the harsh desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange spice, prized for its ability to prolong life and give its consumer prescience. House Harkonnen, the Atreides’ mortal nemeses had previously occupied the planet, and they left many traps before they left. One day, the Harkonnens attack. They destroy House Atreides and take back control of Arrakis. Or so they think. Paul and his mother Jessica escape, and must join forces with the deadly natives, called Fremen, to survive.

The movie does an amazing job sticking with the book. Finally there’s a movie that does the book justice, unlike the first infamous 1984 adaptation. Aside from some minor and understandable changes like the removal of the dinner party scene, the movie might as well have used the book as a script. Timothée Chalamet does a great job playing Paul, really capturing his calm decisiveness. Oscar Isaac is skilled at bringing out Duke Leto’s fatherly qualities, and shows just how much he cares for his son. The movie was very well casted. While some details may be slightly confusing to people who don’t know the story already, the plot is intriguing. The CGI added much to the movie, giving a vast scale to scenes, especially the Harkonnen attack.

If there is one word to describe the movie, it is ‘grand’. From the Guild spaceships to the Sandworms, everything is awe-inspiring in size and power. Intense battles contrast excellently with thoughtful dialogue. Above all, the world of Frank Herbert shines more brilliantly than ever, with constant allusions to the religion and politics of Dune

My favorite aspect of Frank Herbert’s storytelling is how subtly he uses names to help us relate to the characters. The protagonists have immediately familiar names, like Paul and Jessica. The villains however have more foreign names, some examples being Vladimir and Rabban. And the Stilgar, Chani, and the rest of the Fremen’s exotic names show us how different they are.

Rated 83% on Rotten Tomatoes by critics and 90% by viewers, and coming to theatres and streaming on HBO max simultaneously, the movie made over $41 million on its opening weekend: the best day-and-date debut in 2021. “I really liked it,” says Eevee Ortkiese, a sophomore here at Saugus, “especially the audio, like when they’re speaking. I was really amazed by that.” I couldn’t agree more. From the Fremen language, to the Sardaukar throat singing, to the exotic vocalization in the soundtrack, the movie did a great job of capturing the alien sounds of Dune.

All in all, I would give this movie a 9/10. I would 100% recommend it, from the calm exposition to the exciting fight scenes.