Beautiful, majestic “Dune” bites some dust

The highly anticipated adaptation tries to do too much, but looks great doing it

PHOTO CREDIT/ YouTube Warner Bros. Pictures

PHOTO CREDIT/ YouTube Warner Bros. Pictures

Very rarely does a film warrant an upgrade to IMAX when visiting the movie theater. This is usually accompanied with an egregious price jump that usually many, including myself, simply cannot justify. Therefore, by rule of thumb, the average moviegoer opts for digital cinema.

I would say “Dune” should be your exception to the rule, should you plan to see it.

Director Denis Villeneuve shot this film with IMAX cameras, allowing for various aspect ratios to be utilized interchangeably throughout. Visually, with the story taking place on the desert planet Arrakis, the landscape looks incredible in the premier format. This, along with the audio enhancements, makes for an unforgettable theater experience.

Unfortunately enough, I would argue that the theater experience was the best part of seeing “Dune,” which is based on a 1965 novel of the same name. It follows the story of Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, who is next of kin to rule his father’s planetary empire while also possessing his mother’s magical abilities. The surrounding cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Mamoa, and Zendaya, the last of which gets very little screen time. The marketing for this film really sells “Dune” as a co-op story between Chalamet and Zendaya, when that simply could not be less true. Though it is ultimately the story of Paul Atreides, it is still frustrating to see false advertising occur, as I theorize, just to sell tickets. It ends up being quite disrespectful to Ferguson, who plays the largest female role in the film by far, but was disregarded in favor of Zendaya during the press tour.

As someone unfamiliar with the lore and background surrounding this story, I was genuinely intrigued by much of the world building that took place. However, “Dune” faces a heavy task in developing not only the story’s hero Paul, but also a myriad of background information about the film’s complex universe. Though this is not an impossible task by any means (all film franchises face this challenge), there is a clear motive by Villeneuve and his team to simply set up the overarching film series rather than worry about this one’s ability to stand on its own.

This is not to say that “Dune” does not have its moments. For instance, I believe Chalamet turns in one of the best performances of his career so far and I am personally excited for the next film. However, I cannot say that this is a great film because it just cannot stand on its own. With very few plot points tied up at the end, the average viewer will leave wanting much, much more. All in all, Villeneuve provides the audience with a spectacular theater experience that will make you excited to see more in the future, even if that means being dissatisfied now.

“Dune” is now playing in theaters, while it is also available to stream on HBO Max until November 21. If you want to study up on the previous lore, the 1984 “Dune” film is available to stream on HBO Max. Additionally, the original novel can be found at various retailers for under $10.