Dune Review


(Artwork/Amy Lauer’25)

Ethan Wang, Online Staff Writer

After many years of waiting, the second Hollywood attempt at a live-action film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction-defining Dune (1965) was released this past October. 

What made this film a must-watch for me is the attention to detail, specifically with regard to the visual and special effects (VFX and SFX). Leading up to the film’s release, I was excited to finally see the giant sandworms, one of the story’s defining and iconic components, on the big screen, and the film does not disappoint. The attention to detail is simply mind-blowing and I especially appreciate how the designers decided to make the teeth inside its mouth look like a giant eyeball.

One great aspect of the movie was that even if I had never read the original novel nor watched the previous infamous film adaptation, I could still follow along with the plot and still enjoy it. To say the least, the film’s incredible world-building is immersive. The aforementioned VFX wonderfully constructs the settings; they were so good that, at some points, I thought they were actually shooting scenes on a live-action set, but upon watching behind-the-scenes footage, I realized the cast and crew  were in front of green screens. 

However, a major drawback for the film is that it does not feel complete. Conversing with my peers and other critics on the internet, it seems as if the film feels like only two-thirds of the 700-page book. Even though I did not read the book, I still felt like something was missing; it felt as if the film was only part of a larger story. Additionally, I could see this movie being confusing for someone who has not read the book or is not a fan of the series. The film is filled with detail in ways that are good and in ways that are detrimental. There were at least three times in the film where I found myself having to Google something in order to understand the plot, so casual viewers might have a boring or—depending on one’s tolerance—frustrating viewing experience. The Cosmonaut Variety Hour YouTube channel described Dune as “Space Politics,” which I believe is an accurate description.

Another area of improvement is the film’s action, or lack thereof. Despite this, the tension-building, atmosphere, and the characters’ dread for impending threats were all enough to keep me interested. 

As someone who is new to the story, I enjoyed Dune (2021) because of its world-building and visual effects. However, the movie has a lot to explain to the audience, and as a result, has to slog through exposition to simply get the plot moving. Even after the exposition, it is still sometimes difficult as an outside viewer to grasp what is happening in the story, which is the result of the double-edged sword of the film’s immense attention to detail. 

Number Score: 8/10