The Dune Saga offers a new breakthrough on the big screen. A big challenge for image maker Denis Villeneuve, who has worked on another sci-fi monument with Blade Runner 2049. Did the artist compose his most masterful work with Dune? Critical.
Denis Villeneuve was expected on the turn, and that was an understatement. Ever since David Lynch’s film, which became a masterpiece of nostalgia for many, Dune’s story was deemed unsuitable by film fans and novelist readers alike. Therefore with great courage, and no doubt as madness, the director of First Contact decided to tackle this sci-fi monument. A considerable challenge for a filmmaker who does not skimp on the financial and creative resources to deliver his project. The budget is estimated at 165 million from the film. Therefore, the story of Paul Atréides aims to seduce a large audience and establish himself as the giant of this cinematographic re-entry. With a canvas that is far from white, Denis Villeneuve has to make up, between heritage and novelty.
The plot begins on the planet Caladan, with its oceanic and misty landscape. Paul Atréides, a talented and brilliant young man, is destined to experience an extraordinary destiny that is beyond his reach. He must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe, the only one capable of providing the world’s most valuable resource: spices. But when evil forces compete for control of the planet, Paul must accept his destiny and change the world forever.
The universe is rich and the first few minutes are used above all to paint a picture of a futuristic society and its political issues. Easily, six-handed intrigue by Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth and John Spaihts explores the labyrinth of Space opera and lays the foundations of an epic that promises to be both epic and masterful. The story, much less didactic than one might imagine, pays homage to all the subtleties of the work from which it was adapted. Almost organic, the plot is political as well as poetic and benefits from Denis Villeneuve’s fine lines for characterization.
In some ways, it’s like Star Wars meets Game of Thrones. The story takes on a new dimension under the author’s pen, and is invested with an ecological, social and almost philosophical message. These messages serve as varnish for Dune’s beautiful paintings. Well put together, the various acts of this first chapter adopt a welcome narrative slowness that goes against what the genre has offered us for several years. Here, there is no struggle to keep the public’s attention, it is the heroes who captivate us. This initiation story is ambitious, profound and will not budge anyone.
Beyond the power of the story, above all, it is the visual richness of Denis Villeneuve’s feature films that leave us with lasting memories. Like a painter, the filmmaker paints a picture between the realism and dreamland of the planet Dune and its expanse of sand. Everything in Denis Villeneuve’s films is art and his innate sense of framing and staging is familiar. Far from being inspired by the equally majestic steampunk Blade Runner, Dune benefits from a filmmaker’s invention that brilliantly captures the protagonists’ internal conflicts and stunning views of the planet Arrakis. Under almost divine light, the footage takes it all in and transforms into a series of inspired portraits and landscapes, far from being just a sketch of a masterpiece.
Denis Villeneuve offers his characters room to move in front of his camera, even during clinch scenes. Rather than randomly cropping his work, the filmmaker prefers to give his actors freedom of movement to invest in frames and play with the scale of the relationship. Efficient editing and never panic. A perfect tempo for a work to enjoy.
In front of the camera, Dune summons the 7th monument of art and emerging talent. Zendaya, the excellent Street in Euphoria, for example, provides an answer to the discontinued Javier Barden. All of these little guys play symphonic scores with rare accuracy and are much quieter than one might think. Every word is expertly thought out and the melody of the dialogue sounds sweet to our ears. No big monologues or explanatory speeches, Villeneuve did less to do better.
Finally, it should be noted that Timothée Chalamet’s performance met the challenge. After largely conquering the public in Call me by your name, the young actor makes a new demonstration of the talent of his incarnation, with a rich emotional palette and a certain flair for the audience.or work. He provided answers for many other talented actors, such as Josh Brolin, perfect in the skin of master of arms or Oscar Isaac, who gave up his role as the joker pilot in Star Wars VII to play Duke Leto Astreides. Stellan Skarsgard also gave a cold and majestic appearance to Baron Harkonnen’s complexion.
He is a composer we no longer present. Having worked on scores of Inception or The Dark Knight, the musician has undoubtedly signed off on his greatest creations here. The music, which accompanies the story accurately, blends its inspiration and will draw as much from the tribal side of music as possible as a more electric composition. Sometimes jarring, sometimes dreamlike, Hans Zimmer’s original music participates in the waking dream that was Dune’s first work. If he doesn’t always appreciate the recordings he makes for music, the composers here show a lot of charm that we’ll enjoy without any displeasure when original music is available everywhere on streaming platforms.