The novel was deemed unfilmable by many, due to the density of the 400-page novel, with many failed attempts in the novel’s past. There was even an attempt to adapt the story to a television miniseries in 2000, but that could not include vital story-building details.
This movie is the first segment in Villeneuve’s attempt to retell the story, with the second part of the story in a later film. The director carefully cross-referenced all aspects of the novel’s ideas into the movie, leading to a lengthy list of new words to remember.
The film follows the rule of House Atreides, who have now come under the control of Arrakis, a desert planet desirable for its natural resource, spice, that has powerful and impactful uses. Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) brings his wife, Lady Jessica and son Paul (Timothée Chalamet) to the new colony remaining from the Harkannans, who previously governed Arrakis and the native population known as the Fremen.
After their colony comes under attack, the movie follows Lady Jessica and Paul, who flee deep into the desert planet for salvation, entering the territory of monumental desert valleys and gargantuan sandworms. The duo solicits help from the natives, with one prominent member played by Zendaya, but the indigenous colonies will be featured more in the second iteration of the film.
Villeneuve’s ability to flesh out an entire world accentuates the complexity of the novel, with costumes and spaceships like never seen before. The music composition by Hans Zimmer brought the intense nature of the film to another level as he used instruments to create a score reminiscent of a futuristic battle march.
The nature of the film leads to an abrupt stop, thoroughly exciting the watcher for a second part. Whether or not the film performs well in the box office, I hope Villeneuve is granted to complete his vision for the story and I would gladly sit through another 150 minutes to quench my thirst (no pun intended) on the conflicts of this desert drama.