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By Dune Dune Movie Poster (#16 of 23) - IMP Awards, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68273917

Dune - (2021)

I can really appreciate the care and attention that has gone into transforming Dune into a visual feast that approaches the scale and scope the written word had decades before - I actually felt that there was a real universe behind the façade, because the attention to detail is so impressive, yet seems so effortless. We've come a long way, and I have no idea how much of the film was created using practical effects, and how much computer generated effects. You have to love Stellan Skarsgård - he plays Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in a most vile way, and Oscar Isaac stands out as if he's been a king and leader all his life. Timothée Chalamet feel vulnerable, but well-trained and a young lion. A beautiful work of art and very worthy science fiction adaptation - the best sounding and best looking film of 2021. Now I've seen 9/10 of the films nominated for Best Picture at last year's Oscars - ironically, the only one I haven't seen is the winner - CODA.

I had an odd reaction to this film which was that I liked a lot of things about it, and yet it came up short for me in many of them.
The highlights, I thought, were the actors... except for one. Skarsgard and Isaac obviously stand out and Ferguson was very strong. I thought that Bardem, Momoa, and Bautista all shone in their respective roles except... they were all three so underdeveloped that it was almost like, "Hey, there's that star I know doing a great job with... basically nothing." And Zendaya has, to me at least, such astonishing on-screen presence that she nearly stole the movie without actually being in it (relatively).
And then there's Chalamet. I had only seen him in smaller roles like Ladybird and I was shocked at how flat I found him. Not just reserved or quiet or whatever one might claim he was going for but flat like a singer can be flat, unintentionally, and kind of jarringly on his own but particularly when set against the great talent around him. He was like the anti-Zendaya in that he's really pretty, striking in fact, but every time he opens his mouth I wish they'd gotten a different actor, while Zendaya is striking and when she finally opens her mouth I felt the movie should be revolving much more around her (yes, I know that's not how the story goes but still).
Finally, my biggest complaint was that, despite its 156 minutes, the whole thing felt rushed to me. Very rushed. The story is just too big. For Villeneuve to include all the necessary plot-points and action to even make it make sense and have his nice, long, silent visuals, I guess he had to sacrifice character. I felt like I barely knew any of these characters. And there are a lot of them. Isaacs is genuinely regal in this film and yet he's barely on screen and mostly in service to exposition, which is a damn shame. Momoa and Bautista almost end up completely wasted because you have to be told that they matter (Momoa) or given visual cues that they are supposed to stand out (Bautista, and even then if he wasn't famous I might have missed it) because they aren't around long enough to really have any sense of who they are or why we should care. The movie has no choice but to rush from plot-point to plot-point while pausing just long enough for Villeneuve to Villeneuve which leaves no time for me to be invested in anything that's happening.
I left, with a pair of absolute fans, feeling like I had somehow been rushed through the longest ride in amusement park history and therefore had only enjoyed moments of it, left with very little to feel about the whole, long thing.