No doubt you will have seen the first reviews for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Despite its international release still being 2 weeks away and the US release almost 7 weeks away. However, the movie press has seen an early screening and have come away with near universal praise. Unlike Quinn from Quinn’s Ideas I will mention some of the negative comments that have been made without attaching too much importance to them. But I cannot help but feel that some comments are merely there to draw attention to review. It appears that besides good or bad scores a review also needs a controversial comment. Here is my Dune Movie Review Roundup.
Michael Rougeau from GameSpot refers to Dune as the best possible adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel. The reviewer praises how the audience gets to learn every character from the novel properly, especially the members of House Atreides. The reviewer raves about the attention to detail that culminates in the impressive world-building. As well the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
One criticism is that the story relies too much on the white-savior trope. I disagree, the story is based on a novel published in 1965 and some allowances can be made. The suggestion by the reviewer to cast Paul with a non-white actor seems disingenuous. You merely disguise the trope, if it bothers you. The reviewer refers to it as the elephant in the room, that is way too much focus on this topic and seems tantamount to click-bait.
Eric Eisenberg from Cinemablend praises this adaptation by saying it is everything the first half of the story should be, that is a thinly veiled comment that the second movie is needed to complete the adaptation. Cinemablend also praises the world building saying it makes it feel as if we have left Earth behind. The cast is also praised as is the directors’ efforts to choose between scope and pace. The review also mentions how as an adaptation there are subtle changes from the original source material with scenes having been shifted around. Eric mentions how Part 1 of the adaptation does leave the viewer unfulfilled. But considers splitting the story in two as a necessary move.
Not all reviews gave the movie top marks. IGN is an exception in that regard. It criticizes the fact the audience is kept bereft of the third act of the story. I have nothing but ugly things to say about this comment. As a fan of Dune I know I have to wait for the second half of the adaptation to know how the story end. Just as with The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that won’t be a problem. It feels as if the reviewer remained far too conscious of that and ended up ruining the experience for themselves. Several other reviewers have mentioned they desperately want to see Part 2. But they don’t end up knocking the movie with a score of 7 out of 10.
IGN continued to praise the casting, especially Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson but also criticizes that the world building already feels too Villeneuve like.
Glenn Kenny from RogerEgbert.com points out how this Dune adaptation is specifically made for the big screen and not streaming services. He states it is rife with cinematic illusions to Lawrence of Arabia and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The reviewer mentions that the viewer will get a lot of in-universe terminology thrown at them. But that if you pay attention this is not a problem and warns that that other reviewer might not agree with him. Concluding with saying “the script does a good job with exposition without making it seem like EXPOSITION”.
He also mentions that Dune feels like two-thirds of an adaptation, and not half. Considering we know Paul’s standoff with Jamis is included – but not the duel – that seems to be a fair assessment. Kenny states this difficult choice that director Denis Villeneuve had to make more clearly than IGN.com which immediately turned negative.
David Ehrlich from IndieWire seems bent on deliberately taking a negative stance towards Dune using colorful prose. I guess for him it also comes down to the fact he misses out on the final act of the novel. But his commentary feels as if he cannot make a journey and place himself inside the story and that is a shame.
While I mentioned that it wasn’t universal praise it is time to take stock of the overall score so far. Rotten Tomatoes has an aggregated score of 8.2 / 10 while Metacritic has a score of 76 / 100. Such scores are of limited value dues to the small sample size and the fact viewers and reviewers often disagree but I think these scores are overall quite good.
Dune Movie Review Roundup
Thanks for watching this review roundup of Dune. I think we have a great movie to look forward to and I am already proud of what Denis Villeneuve managed to accomplished. I am not overly concerned about some of the negative review of negative comments of other reviews. No doubt lot of that has to do with the source material and the choices that had to be made adapting it. I do hope the hype around Dune will propel it to become a financial success. Early indicators are that the ensemble cast and shorter runtime will prevent a repeat of the mediocre box office take of Blade Runner 2049.
If you like this content please like and subscribe, that way the YouTube algorithm will rank my videos higher. I will be watching Dune Thursday next week on the 16th – so come back for my personal review immediately afterwards.
That was it for my Dune Movie Review Roundup.