An Outstanding Achievement in Moviemaking
Timothée Chalamet will have another monster hit on his hands with his new film Dune, based on the classic book by Frank Herbert. Apparently, director Denis Villeneuve plans this film to be the first of two parts. The current film covers the first half of the book, and the future film will supposedly finish the story as presented in the book.
This offering is one of the most lavishly produced sci-fi films. It boasts production design by Patrice Vermette, set decoration by Richard Roberts and Zsuzsanna Sipos, and space-age motor vehicles from the imagination of David Doran. Also, Tom Brown served as supervising art director and the clever talent of costume designers Bob Morgan and Jacqueline West add to the futuristic look that distinguishes the film from any other. The alleged cost of $165 million definitely shows on the screen and seems to have been money well-spent to achieve the unique look of the far away planets and the societies living there.
Readers of the book will probably understand what’s going on with the storyline. Those who are not familiar with the characters and story may have a difficult time figuring out just who is whom. But never mind, for the gist of the story favors Timothée Chalamet as it is his movie through and through.
As young Paul Atreides, Chalamet’s character has been given the stewardship of the planet Arrakis, a forbidding and scary desert place for all – a formidable task for this barely out-of-his-teens leader. The planet lso -- known as “Dune” -- is valuable because it contains the “spice”, or substance, called mélange that extends human life and enhances the thoughts of human brain. Paul’s mother (Rebecca Ferguson) is extraordinarily protective of her son. Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides (an excellent and commanding Oscar Isaac) assumes control of the mining operations to protect it from evil doers. In addition, a giant sandworm wanders the desert while eating everything in sight. However, the worm doesn’t appear scary in the least. In fact, it looks like the bottom of an artichoke.
Obviously, not everybody in the Universe speaks English, so the producers hired language creator David Peterson, who did such an amazing job creating languages for the TV series “Game of Thrones,” to whip up some gibberish nobody can understand. Well, maybe out there in the wide Universe they do speak gibberish!
Some in the audience might remember back to the desert scenes in Lawrence of Arabia. Filmed somewhat in the same spots as Wadi Rum in Jordan and the dunes of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the desert looks both astonishingly beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Lawrence had a battle with it and so does Chalamet in his own way. Shot with incredible attention to detail by cinematographer Greig Fraser, and with a painter’s eye for beauty in a grain of sand, the camera artist should be up for an Oscar® nomination.
The movie ends up as an outstanding achievement in moviemaking. Attention is paid to details such as costume design, airplane design, motor vehicles that could only be from the future, and cinematography that will astonish audiences. This is a not-to-be-missed film by movie-fans, whether you are a sci-fi aficionado or not. And those who love Oscar® nominee Timothée Chalamet will fall in love with him all over again.
(Released by Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment/ Villeneuve Films. Rated “PG-13” for sequences of strong violence, and some disturbing images and suggestive material.)