A sandy escapade

Newest sci-fi movie “Dune” hits the big screen

Known for its stunning visuals and mystifying plot, “Dune” quickly became a fan favorite. People all over the country rushed to watch the sci-fi movie as soon as it was released.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Known for its stunning visuals and mystifying plot, “Dune” quickly became a fan favorite. People all over the country rushed to watch the sci-fi movie as soon as it was released.

Brielle Wilson, Staff Reporter

Last Friday, movie theaters across the country swarmed with an unusually large audience. The most recent sci-fi movie “Dune” had been released, and people couldn’t wait to see it in theaters. This whirlwind of mystical powers and breathtaking cinematography left many on the edge of their seats.

 The highly anticipated sci-fi movie released on Oct. 22. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, “Dune” kicks off the first half of a two-part adaptation. A sci-fi lover, I decided to see the movie as soon as it was released. The futuristic movie follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), who must travel to the dangerous planet, Arrakis, to ensure the future of his family and his people. The planet is the only source of a very valuable substance, the “spice,” which extends human life and provides accelerated levels of thought. The film was an instant hit, grossing $220.7 million worldwide against a production budget of $165 million. Additionally, it gained $40.1 million in ticket sales.

“Dune” is the latest movie adaption of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert. Winner of the 1966 Hugo award and the first Nebula award for best novel, the franchise is popularly considered one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time. However, the novel’s success stretches far from its own pages. Herbert’s creation led to some of the biggest block blockbuster films of all time, the most notable being the popular saga “Star Wars.” 


From the very start, the cinematography blew me away. The film starts off on the homeworld of the ruling House Atreides, a planet with dazzling sunsets and dark blue seas. An emergency meeting is called between House Atreides and the Emperor, who offers stewardship to Arrakis. They accept, blind to the Emperor’s ulterior motives of overthrowing them using the vicious House Harkonnen, who previously ruled the desert planet. Duke Leto of House Atreides (Oscar Issac) is suspicious of the sudden shift in power but sees it as an opportunity to ally with the Arrakis’ native population, the Fremen.

Throughout the film, Paul Atreides, son of Leto, experiences strange visions depicting the Fremen. Unsure of what these visions could foretell, he goes to his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Paul’s mother is an acolyte of the Bene Gesserit, an advanced sisterhood that wields advanced physical and mental abilities. Hoping to pass the abilities on to her son, Lady Jessica trains Paul from a young age. When his mother hears of Paul’s visions, she sends him to Reverend Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling), a high-ranking member of the Bene Gesserit. Mohiam subjects Paul to test his impulse, which he passes. Later, Paul overhears a conversation between his mother and Mohiam about Paul being “The One.” Jessica reveals that the Bene Gesserit have been manipulating bloodlines for centuries in order to create someone who can bring peace to the houses. This was the scene I enjoyed the most, due to its originality and excellent acting. Both of these aspects made the film more interesting to watch.

As they adjust to the setting change, House Atreides quickly learn the dangers of their new home. The constant threat of danger and general unpredictableness of the film kept my attention remarkably well. Giant sandworms roam the desert, and House Harkonnen plans an attack against House Atreides. An attempt is made against Paul’s life, and Leto puts the guards on high alert. 

Midway through the movie, I found it hard to maintain interest. The film progressed slowly, and the plot was largely hard to follow. A great portion of the movie I felt dragged on and held little action. I also found it hard to connect with the characters, as they lacked much personality. Although, the acting was impressive and brought the film to life.

The plot picks up when a coalition of Harkonnen troops invade Atriedan city. Thousands of Atreides soldiers are killed as the Atriedan stronghold falls. Leto is incapacitated, and Paul and his mother are taken hostage by the Harkonnens. In a desperate attempt, Paul uses the voice of the Bene Gesserit to free his mother and himself. This scene demonstrates a huge turning point and adds depth to the plot, as Paul previously wasn’t skilled in his abilities.  The two take refuge in the desert. When they find the House Atreides signet ring in their kit, it quickly becomes clear that Leto has been killed by the Harkonnens. Jessica welcomes her son as the new Duke of Atreides.

As they continue through the desert, Paul and his mother are found by the Fremen. The woman that Paul has seen in his visions is amongst them. Although slightly predictable, this twist of events was interesting to watch, and essential to the plot of the movie. It ties the events of the film together. Paul is challenged to a duel, and against the beliefs of the Fremen, defeats his opponent. He and his mother join the Fremen on a quest to unite the houses.

All in all, the most impressive feature of “Dune” was the cinematography and creative plot. The film leaves off on a cliffhanger, preparing viewers for part two. Although it was slow-moving at times, I would consider this film to be a remarkable example of science fiction.