Dune: Amazing or Overrated?

Jade Baxendale, Editor-in-Chief

Now that the new adaptation of Dune starring Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, and others has been out for a few weeks, there have been what seems like an endless amount of reviews. Critics and audience ratings have been very mixed regarding this large-scale two-and-a-half-hour-long movie, leaving us with the question: Is Dune Overrated?

For those who haven’t watched the movie, the basic plot is as follows. A young man named Paul (Timothee Chalamet) is the heir to the house of Atreides. When his father (Oscar Isaac) comes into control of Arrakis, a highly valued planet due to the abundance of spice in its sandy atmosphere, the family goes there to take command. During their stay there, the house of Atreides faces many challenges staying in control and making the planet functional, while trying to keep the people who already live there happy. Throughout the movie, Paul also gets glimpses into his greater destiny including visions of his romance with a native girl (Zendaya).

Now let us look at some of the pros and cons of the movie.

Pro: Perfect Casting

A poster for the movie

One great part of this movie is the casting. Having huge name actors like Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, and Oscar Isaac did much for the movie’s advertising and viewership. Who wouldn’t want to see Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Thanos (Josh Brolin) fighting side by side for their faction in an emerging cinematic universe? Maybe it wasn’t the characters themselves who met, but seeing these actors on screen together was certainly exciting.

While having big-name actors certainly brought the audience in, the casting was also perfect because each actor embodied their character and played off each other very well. Starting with Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Chalamet not only looks the part but also brought this character to life. Chalamet perfectly portrays a scrawny, future leader, who’s burdened by responsibilities as well as visions of his future. Jason Momoa is another clear example of the movie’s immaculate casting. Momoa’s character brings a witty, fun life to the story, while still being seriously dedicated to his country and willing to die for what he believes in. Each of the castings in this movie were perfectly done and added a level of enjoyment to the film.

Con: Not Enough Zendaya

Zendaya as Chani

Everyone who saw the dune trailer knows that Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya were displayed as the main characters. Every ad and trailer displayed Paul and Chani’s (Zendaya) love story as a key element to the movie. In reality, however, Paul didn’t even meet Chani until almost the end of the movie.

In fact, when appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Zendaya admitted to only being on the set for five days, and according to the Los Angeles Times, she only appears on screen for a total of about seven minutes. Keep in mind this movie is about two and a half hours long in total. In the end, this movie could have been improved if they hadn’t falsely advertised Zendaya’s involvement in the movie.

Pro: Amazing Visuals

One of the worms from the movie

As a viewer, I had never once bothered to watch a movie in IMAX before Dune. Immediately after watching the trailer, however, I knew that IMAX was the way to go, so that’s what I did.

It was worth it.

The visuals of Dune just show how far the film industry has come over the years. The difference between CGI and real props was indistinguishable and the huge planetary aspects of this movie were unmatched. From giant spaceships to huge worms to enormous planets, this movie was quite literally massive. This kind of movie just wouldn’t even be accomplishable without today’s technology and a huge budget.

Con: Just a Set-Up Movie

Paul in a desert suit

A final con to the movie is how it felt like just a set-up. Many viewers described it as feeling like a two-and-a-half-hour-long trailer. The plot felt like they were just introducing a whole new world, rather than giving us a story within the single movie. In other words, they sacrificed the film’s plot for future movies in this universe.

So maybe this movie just felt like a setup, but then again, what original film to a series doesn’t? And even if the movie felt like it was just setting up for future movies, it certainly left me as an audience member wondering what’s to come. With these pros and cons considered, Dune, although imperfect, is still an enjoyable movie. And even if the movie itself isn’t the best it could be, it’s quite possible it has created the foundation for a Dune series that will be anything but overrated.