What’s Watts Watching? First installment “Dune” right

Steven Watts

After hearing mixed reviews about “Dune”, I entered the movie with cautious optimism. Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve who has made movies like “Arrival”, “Enemy, and Prisoners”, so I was rather surprised to hear that a number of people weren’t liking his new film.

“Dune” is originally based off of a book by Frank Herbert. “Dune” is a science fiction epic set in the year 10,191 in a universe highly dependent on a resource called spice, which can only be found on the planet Arrakis. When the House Atreides is given control of Arrakis by the Emperor, tensions reach a boiling point between House Atreides and House Harkonnen, who previously had control over Arrakis. With a war brewing, the fate of Arrakis falls to Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet of “Lady Bird”).

I walked out of “Dune” with only two complaints. My first issue with the film is Dave Bautista. I thought that it was already clear that Bautista could not do any serious acting, but that’s made painfully obvious in “Dune”. Whenever Bautista was on the screen, I was removed from the world of the movie. His character was underdeveloped, and offered nothing of importance to the story as a whole.

My only other issue is the marketing and release of the film. The film was marketed as simply “Dune”, but the opening title screen during the movie reads “Dune: Part One.” Though the sequel has now been confirmed, there was no guarantee that it would be made when the film first released.

When “Dune” ended I was left wanting a lot more. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means I was very invested in the story. That said, I think that both parts of the movie should have been released at the same time.

The strengths of “Dune” lie mostly in its breathtaking visuals. The sheer scale of the massive creatures and machines shown in the film are incredible. Each shot is composed in the most gorgeous way imaginable. Everything in the movie from the vast expanses of sand, to the barren indoor settings is absolutely beautiful. I highly encourage people to see “Dune” in theaters and not on HBO Max, as I’m sure the visuals would not have the same effect on a smaller screen.

The film has potential to be remembered as having the greatest acting ensemble of all time.

Villeneuve most notably cast Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, and Jason Momoa as leads for Part One, but the three are supported by the likes of Javier Bardem, Zendaya, Josh Brolin, and many more A-list actors.

All of the actors give stellar performances (besides Bautista), and all of the characters that they portray felt very fleshed out. Barring Bautista, there wasn’t a single character in the film that I felt lacked depth, and everyone added something to the story.

Hans Zimmer, as always, produced a 10/10 score for the film. Zimmer turned down the

opportunity to work with Christopher Nolan on his 2020 film “Tenet” to work on “Dune”, a surprising decision considering the long history between the two. Zimmer went above and beyond in his work on “Dune” and actually invented entire new instruments to truly capture the tone of the film.

“Dune” blew me away, and I think that it has the potential to be the greatest science fiction film ever made. Nevertheless, I only got to see half of the story. If the second part of Villeneuve’s film matches the quality of the first, there’s no doubt in my mind that the two will go down as one of the greatest stories ever told on screen.

Despite the main character being underdeveloped and the fact the sequel is incredibly crucial to this film, I think that this movie is still 5/5 stars. The good of the movie outweighed the bad.

I’ll be anxiously awaiting October 20th of next year to see how the duology ends. “Dune” has laid the foundation for an incredible sequel. Now, it’s legacy rests in the hands of Denis Villeneuve.

Dune: 5/5 Stars