Film Preview: Dune

by The Cowl Editor on November 4, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Film Preview: Dune

The Anticipated Film’s Release

Kate Picone ’22

After much anticipation, the sci-fi epic Dune starring Zendaya, Timotheé Chalamet, and Jason Momoa debuted on Oct. 22, 2021 on HBO Max. The film has gained much attention because of its notable cast and the intriguing themes of its source material. 

Dune was adapted from a novel of the same name written in 1965 by Frank Herbert. The book was revolutionary for its time because it deals with anti-corporatism, pro-eco radicalism, and Islamophilicism. Directors and producers have wanted to transform this book into a movie for quite some time, but have been hesitant because of the content and Herbert’s reluctance to allow them to use his ideas. However, there was one previous film based on the book prior to the 2021 adaptation. This one was released in 1984, but it was less than a success despite boasting a strong cast. 

The 2021 version seems to be doing much better. Reaching a rating of 8.3/10 on IMDb and 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is safe to say the public is enjoying the newest adaptation of Dune. Critics have expressed that it is a must-see for sci-fi fans due to the cinematography and, of course, the plot itself. 

Dune follows many different characters whose stories intertwine into a cohesive narrative, but the main character is Paul Atreides, played by Chalamet. He is an intellectually gifted young man challenged with the task of rising to power while reckoning with his father’s failure to lead well. His development from the picture of helpless youth into a true leader is a focal point of the film. Indeed, Atreides foresees a crusade coming to his planet and has a vision that he must be the one to lead his people through it in order for them to prevail. There is no shortage of action throughout the story, with everything from giant sand worms to bloody battles. 

Notably, some fans have critiqued Zendaya’s lack of presence in the film. The trailer suggests that viewers will be seeing a lot of the popular actress in the movie, but audience members have complained that she appears minimally. This has been disappointing to fans of the Dune novel, as Zendaya’s character is a prominent symbol of commentary on anti-colonialism throughout the book.

However, director Denis Villeneuve has explained that there will be a sequel to Dune that deals more extensively with the latter half of its source material. He promised that Zendaya will be a bigger part of this second, upcoming installment. 

While quite long – a whopping two hours and 35 minutes – audience and critics have agreed that Dune does a great job at drawing the audience into the story and making the time fly by. Dune is currently showing in theaters and on streaming service HBO Max.