Since the “2 weeks to stop the spread” back in March of 2020, I haven’t been inside a theater. Hollywood hasn’t exactly made me excited to go back either. Ooo, I can watch a mediocre Marvel film aimed at Chinese audiences? Or a homosexual adaptation of some previously great character? Or a film that will repeat “The Narrative?” My view on new Hollywood movies was pretty aligned with one of my favorite YouTube film critics, The Critical Drinker.
But then, the Dune trailer came out. And man, it looked cool. I had heard a lot about Dune, and I knew that it was probably one of the most influential science fiction novel series of all times, but I had never watched the movie (or TV mini-series). Since I had an extra Audible credit, I grabbed the predecessor book “The Butlerian Jihad,” a book written by Frank Herbet’s son Brian and Kevin J Anderson, who has written tons of science fiction books, including some in the Star Wars expanding universe (back before Star Wars was acquired by Disney).
Excited by the trailer, and even more so as I read through the books, I saw Dune last night with a group of friends in our local theater.
And it was awesome!
First, it was a movie that took itself seriously. The acting is great. The scenes are beautifully shot. The editing is really good, and there aren’t long moments of dead space for you to be bored.
Second, no woke BS. We have a diverse array of actors because that’s what the books had! The desert people of the planet Arrakis look, feel and act like people living in a desert. I immediately had Iraq/Afghanistan insurgency vibes when I saw them, and as people trying to fight off the control of the Emperor, that’s exactly what we’re supposed to feel. Female characters feel the same way. They aren’t made out to be super strong, take on everything without emotion monstrosities like Captain Marvel. Instead, we get an outstanding performance from Rebecca Ferguson (who plays Lady Jessica Atreides) that doesn’t look like she’s trying to outperform Timothee Chalamet (who plays Paul Atreides).
The movie is genuinely enjoyable to watch. Watching it in the theater was great because of the sound. The movie places big demands on low bass sound, especially when the giant sandworms of Arrakis make an entrance. The low rumblings as the sandworms approach genuinely fills you with dread, and the rest of the musical score is well composed.
The one issue with Dune is without understanding the lore, its hard to follow. Before you see it in theater, I’d recommend watching the Looper trailer that gives you much of the backstory of the main characters.
In a world full of dumb, woke, cringy movies, Dune is a bright spot of good story and good acting. It’s not the next Iron Man or Lord of the Rings, but if you have to pick a movie to watch, you can’t do wrong with Dune.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.