Dune: Sci-fi politics is handled beautifully


Maddie Berendt, Senior Managing Editor

Sand Politics. Confusing, yes. Captivating, surprisingly so. Based on the book written by Frank Herbert, “Dune” premiered in theaters and on HBO Max in late September. The story follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he navigates life being the son of Duke Leto of House Atreides (Oscar Isaac) during the shift in control of a hostile and seemingly alive desert planet, Arrakis, which is known for its abundance of “spice.” It’s a substance that brings those in power copious amounts of fortune, the very aspects that cause death and corruption. While taking control of the desert planet was profitable for the Atreides family, with that control came a target from the former ruler of the planet, House Harkonnen. Along with the vicious house wanting back control, the planet is inhabited by the native Fremen, who have bright blue eyes from the spice, and deadly sandworms who can sense consistent vibrations and attack anything that moves. The movie runs for two hours and thirty-five minutes, loaded with breathtaking landscape shots, soft spoken dialogue, and a beautiful soundtrack composed by none other than Hans Zimmer who has scored for films such as Inception, Interstellar, and Blade Runner 2049.

When watching Dune, viewers may get a sense of familiarity they can’t quite place. George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars franchise, was heavily inspired by Frank Herbert’s novel and brought many similar themes into his own movies, according to Den of Geek. The vast desert scenes on Arrakis suddenly felt similar to the desert planet Tatooine that was once home to Anakin and Luke Sywalker. While the esteemed Star Wars soundtrack does not seem to carry over in influence, interstellar travel, combat, and Jedi-like mind control have.

For those unfamiliar with the plot of the book and Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya fans, Dune will be fairly confusing and frustrating to keep to follow. However, if your intentions with Dune differ from one of those previously mentioned and you have a strong love for sci-fi movies with a bit of a Star Wars twist, this film is perfect for you. Though it starts off slowly and almost in the middle of what’s really going on in the movie, the action picks up later in the film and never seems to stop after. Dune has a similar feel as other sci-fi movies but the story is one like no other. It follows the same themes of other movies: war and profit, power, family bonds, mind control, a lot of sand, and intergalactic travel. But it still goes above and beyond the normal expectations of a sci-fi movie, it after all was the plot that inspired many more to come.

Within the first minute of the movie, in big letters it reads: Dune Part One. A very important note for the franchise’s future. The story is incomplete when it finishes. There was a lot of frustration from viewers saying nothing much happened throughout the movie, that it was just an over-extended trailer for part two. Part One of Dune is the introduction to this new and exciting world, where so much happens they were never going to be able to fit it in one movie. The original written by Frank Herbert before his death were Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, and Chapterhouse: Dune. To put it simply the books were ginormous and the series even more so. It would have been impossible to fit every important detail into one movie. After Frank passed his son continued building onto the expansive world by writing sixteen more books going into next year with more possibly to come.

Dune is one of a kind all on its own. At times, it could be hard to fully grasp what exactly was going on since this world is so grand. The character development is amazing and the imagery is what the audience will fall in love with. It has love, loss, drama, and nail biting action scenes- the perfect combination. One unique aspect of the movie was that the dialogue was considerably quieter than the music. At times you could be lost as to what exactly was being discussed and then the next moment loud drums are drowning out all other noise. While the movie wasn’t what most people were expecting, Zendaya’s sub ten minutes of screen time for example, it was very well put together and performed by all the actors and actresses in the movie. One interesting thing to note about the movie was the first thing that appeared on the screen: “Dreams are messages from the Deep.” Throughout the movie, it’s portrayed how the subconscious mind may have more influence on future events than believed. Dreams, thoughts, the mind as a whole are the build up for the story line and the most important message viewers of the movie can explore.

Although there are some who found the movie too confusing and incomplete, it was a great adaptation from book to movie screen and all things set aside, handled beautifully.