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‘Dune’: The Unadaptable Comes to Fruition With Villeneuve’s Vision

Bless the Maker and His Water, for 'Dune' is finally here, and it is a defining new chapter in cinema.

By MovieBabblePublished 3 years ago 3 min read
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures

A film, years — even decades — in the making, Denis Villeneuve’s passion project opens with a mysteriously strange and deep voice, recognized among the Dune universe as the language of the Sardaukar — “Dreams are messages from the deep.” For Villeneuve, faithfully adapting Dune to the big screen was his dream, his biggest challenge yet; Dune is a message from the depths of his soul and heart, a creation pure in passion and enthusiasm, sparkling in Denis’ love of the source material.

Long have Frank Herbert’s dense science-fiction texts been deemed unadaptable for the screen; occupied by gargantuan scales, labyrinthine politics, and sweeping stakes, adapting Herbert’s Dune books have proved to be a venture many have dared, but in which, arguably all have failed… Until Villeneuve. With Dune: Part One — his passionately faithful adaptation of the first half of Herbert’s initial Dune book — Villeneuve brings to life the unfilmable.

It’s been mentioned countless times, but every generation has its King Kong, its Star Wars, its Lord of the Rings. In 2021, we’re invited to experience the vast, epic, brooding world of Dune, Villeneuve’s cinematic gift to this generation and its relationship with cinema. The sci-fi epic is not just an exhibition of his love for the source material and cinema, but also a way of inviting us to feel this reverence and adoration through our own newfound experience with the franchise through his impassioned and inspired film.

Often, you need the right director to adapt the specific source material. The Dune ship has seen multiple captains attempt to sail the vessel and fall overboard over the decades, but with Villeneuve, the vessel finds its stability, and he finds his footing in stormy waters that once seemed unnavigable. It often feels fated that Denis was the director to finally bring Herbert’s stories to life on the big screen successfully — Dune is the work his career has been building up to.

Through Incendies to Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve was on a gloriously successive run of seven wonderful feature films; movies that are often talked about years after in intrigue and in a good light, even if they did not perform as well at the box office (which is often an inaccurately particular avenue many tend to use to measure a film’s success). His work often confides in themes of humanity (and the lack thereof), and the conflict of conscience, something Dune’s own source material is captivatingly rich with.

Directors can be the right fit for their projects and develop great films, but what comes across as special about Villeneuve’s adaptation, elevating it beyond just greatness, translates from the director’s long admiration of the original Frank Herbert books, the film’s source material. His love and passion for Dune flow through the film in such subtle tides, like spice flows through the sands of Arrakis. There’s a clear understanding and adoration for Herbert’s texts in the vast scale, grand politics, and extensive emotions, but it’s also present in the minutiae; through phrases and visual motifs that symbolically reflect many of Herbert’s themes and expose latent underlying arcs, Villeneuve builds a compositely faithful adaptation, that packs layers upon layers of deeper intent and meaning in the smaller details of his film.

In the film’s unparalleled, unimaginably extensive scope, Villeneuve exhibits further fidelity to Herbert’s texts. He and cinematographer Greig Fraser go from the gargantuan vista of a world-sized Heighliner starship orbiting a planet and the seemingly endless terrain of the Arrakis desert, to tremendously boundless armies and towering transportation crafts, to solitary figures quietly in conversation and close-ups of a fated boy circling through every feeling of pain, to the minuscule observation of a mouse in the desert and a drop of sweat trickling down its ear. From the macro to the micro — always possessing greater details and specifics of a complex world of politics, danger, and wonder — Villeneuve and co. bring life to the miraculous, absurd, expansive, and marvelous dreamlike world of Herbert’s Dune universe.


READ THE REST OF THIS REVIEW ON OUR WEBSITE: https://moviebabble.com/2021/10/27/dune-the-unadaptable-comes-to-fruition-with-villeneuves-vision/


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