The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

What makes ‘Dune: Part One’ so excellent

Ahead of the “Dune: Part Two” Release next month, The Tiger reviews what make part one so excellent.

It’s difficult to articulate what exactly makes Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part One” so effective. “Dune” doesn’t seem appealing on paper; it’s a long, dense movie composed mostly of political maneuvering that’s usually hinted at rather than depicted outright. It’s not even a complete story — the movie is basically an extended first act.

Despite these ostensible limitations, though, “Dune” is excellent. Its sequel, “Dune: Part Two,” which will adapt the second, more action-oriented half of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, is set for release on March 1.

I decided to revisit “Part One” and attempt to figure out why it works so well.

The most obvious virtue of Villeneuve’s film is the director’s technical mastery and perfectionism. The worlds of “Dune” are massive, marked by gigantic brutalist buildings and impossibly large spaceships. The filmmakers do everything in their power to establish this incredible scale. Cinematographer Greig Fraser frames the actors’ minuscule silhouettes against their imposing surroundings and situates his subjects within vast expanses of open space.

Herbert’s book is extremely complex, with much of its storytelling and character development accomplished through internal monologues. Villeneuve eliminates these monologues entirely, trusting his actors to sketch out the subtleties through their performances.

The film is an overwhelming sensory experience. Hans Zimmer’s score is overpowering, even in dialogue scenes, which provides a clue as to what Villeneuve is doing. “Dune” is not a story that the audience experiences with the characters; it is a film that the audience experiences as detached observers.

It feels less like a novel and more like a history book documenting the lead-up to a tragedy. Whether “Dune: Part Two” successfully dramatizes that tragedy remains to be seen, but the first film will still stand on its own as a strong prelude.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Thomas Merzlak
Thomas Merzlak, TimeOut Editor
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *