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The title on the screen for Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious new adaptation of Herbert’s dense (and some say unfilmable) sci-fi novel, reads Dune: Part One. Whether or not there will be Part Two depends on how many punters will sit through a sombre 155-minute epic that doesn’t have an ending. Thankfully, at least this one manages to correct most of the earlier film’s mistakes.
The plot makes sense, the special effects are stunning, the score is by maestro Hans Zimmer (not cheesy rockers Toto) and we don’t have to suffer the sight of Sting in a codpiece.
Again, most of the action takes place on the commodity-rich planet of Arrakis where gigantic sandworms patrol the desert plains and the Fremen wage guerrilla war on their colonial masters from House Harkonnen.
Now the Emperor has told their fascistic leader Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) to skedaddle and let the nicer folk from House Atreides take over.
Their leader Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) wants a treaty with the Fremen. But before his benevolent form of colonialism can take root, the bloated Baron launches a surprise attack.
Caught in the middle are Atreides’ young heir Paul (a perfectly cast Timothee Chalamet) and his mystical mum Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson).
Both possess Jedi-like psychic powers and Paul seems to fit the Fremens’ messianic prophecies.
Villeneuve seamlessly blends the political drama with the monster movie and the sci-fi actioner.
But is Paul really “The One”? Hopefully, we’ll find out in Part Two.
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