Joe Caracciolo Jr.
Screenwriter (based on the novel by Frank Herbert):
An hour of loitering and
talkative power struggles and politics kicks off this adaptation of the
first half of Frank Herbert's "Dune". Interspersed are wonderfully
expressive shots of the landscapes and structures of the worlds of the
renowned novel. But while these help set the stage for a story of epic
proportions, director Denis Villeneuve's sluggish pacing and
overelaborate storytelling make this film a rather unengaging, detached
experience. Despite a whopping (and soporific) groundwork taking
up half the film's running time, the characters remain stuck to the
page, and Timothée Chalamet's beautiful face stays just a beautiful
face, except in a couple of scenes of real emotional and narrative
intensity. Chalamet plays Paul Atreides, the heir to the House Atreides,
who may or may not be "the one". Yes, it's the familiar Messiah concept.
And yes, it has potential in Herbert's vision, especially the aspects
which connects his powers to his mother's lineage. Unfortunately,
Villeneuve and his production company don't really want to tell you the
story as much as they want to give you a CGI overdose and transport you
safely to their faux cliffhanger so that you'll become hooked and come
back to watch the sequel. "This is only the beginning", says Zendaya at
the very end. Take her word for it. You don't need to see this film, you
can safely wait for the next one. Or, perhaps better still, see David
Lynch's 1984 version.