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One of the great things about sci-fi novels, is that they are usually set far in time. The Dune film begins with a short voice over by Zendaya, as Chani, explaining her people, the Fremen’s ways of operating. These individuals are being attacked by those that are trying to take their planet away from them.

Arrakis- their home- has a dangerous desert that produces spice; this spice is so precious in the universe for space travel because it helps you navigate. This led to their land and dwellings taken over by Harkonnens who were ordered out by the emperor.

That’s how this story starts on the screen. Our main character is Paul (Timothee Chalamet), who is son to House Atreides’ leader. It seems like his mother comes from a specific women-run organization where she trains people to become psychic.

On the other hand Jessica has also gone against this and given Paul visions of what will happen in future because he’s gifted or cursed depending on how you look at it with such abilities as seeing into tomorrow. Some he can change while others he doesn’t have any control over simply because he doesn’t know how to.

Additionally, another thing that confuses him more is when he keeps seeing a Fremen girl called Chani (Zendaya) who his future self appears to be having an intimate relationship with. 

For instance, when compared to Awuijeniwa weya wakhe, Inzembezi yakhe leya futhi izinkosi zakhithi beya emaphandleni kwabo uzalwethu ku-Arrakis kanye lo gama lizokhulunywa ngumnyaka odlula umhlaba lwabo bubi bundoda nesihlahla. 

Therein begin Paul’s nightmares and there may be good reason—he could lose everything he knows. 

Since the Atreides are being targeted by the Emperor who is working with Harkonnens, all of their soldiers and his father are dead. Paul and his mom were supposed to be protected because of whatever organization she’s in but Harkonnens don’t care about that; they want to drop them off in the desert but in a lucky turn of events, they manage to escape leaving behind a bloody trail. 

If you came into this dune movie expecting Zendaya everywhere please look away. She only appears in Paul’s visions where it seems like he has become a Fremen because he now possesses blue eyes like everyone else does and just at the end of everything. 

She doesn’t appear for long though when Paul leans towards her to kiss and gets stabbed (It’s also a vision!). Nevertheless if you thought that Zendaya was going to be one of the main characters here then you were suckered. But it’s too early yet, wait.

However, even in the brief moment where we actually see her as Paul gets ready to fight her friend till death, we learn so much about Chani. She hands Paul her relative’s knife as an act of kindness telling him he is meant to die with it.

And what makes me really happy is that she gives him a good weapon instead of leaving him without anything against somebody who knows how to kill people professionally.

The thing that captivated me the most throughout the dune movie was how Paul and his mother were at odds with each other. She repeats, “I must not fear” when her son is being tortured while she stayed outside the door watching him get tortured with the small pain hand box.” 

And this sets the mood for me for all of it. They are essentially put on a new planet so as to die, only they don’t know that yet. They must confront their fears instantly after this point.

Then we see later in the story that Paul has a tantrum against his mother and accuses her of causing his predicament. But we don’t really know what her motives are at this stage of the narrative.

Nonetheless, I find nothing more interesting about this film than its cinematography and effects which are just ridiculously beautiful in every shot done on them. The desert scenes give us these exquisite frames of rising and setting suns, shining harshly into our eyes through camera angles without any characters within sight. 

Even on their home planet, Atreides’s shots of Paul standing on a beach with hills lining behind him are meticulously constructed.

After its name sake – dunes – which resembles a desert landscape in general; it takes up large portion if the entire backdrop here. It is vast but unassuming; it seems like a barren wasteland out there but still everywhere because it has its own ecosystem like there is one part where sand worms live and another inhabited by Fremen people but also like another character itself too.

At first it looks menacing then you realize that they can navigate it and not immediately die.

Though I understand why they ended up having the movie end as such an abrupt cliffhanger before moving onto its sequel since I did feel like man what a cliffhanger into next movie when Chani said “this is only beginning” which then went black before ending with credits rolling out after quite some time since film started, and this really left me unsatisfied as a viewer. I wanted it to be more.

And that’s how they’ll get more butts in seats for Dune Part II coming out because there are probably many other people like me out there.

Concluding Thoughts

This is an unbelievably slow movie—it goes on for close to three hours. But the effort put into the world building and conflict makes it worthwhile. However, I must admit that sometimes Paul seems like nothing more than a Mary Sue insert.

He gets away with not dying when he should have multiple times, then turns out to be the one thing the entire universe has been waiting for. The coloring of the dune film itself enhances this overall look and feel; it starts with a desert where everything is blindingly light during daytime, all the way up to night so dark that we can hardly see our characters moving across screen.

But as a small nitpicky thing, the mother and Paul don’t act like they’ve lost everything. It could be shock, given everyone else around them died, but Paul’s meltdown scene which triggered so badly that he just fell apart into visions was supposed to have a lot more crying from him than it actually did.

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