Dune, some spoilers

So we saw Dune two nights ago, via HBOmax. I’ve been mulling it over, but my major reaction is…disappointed. The media is full of reviewers gushing over the movie, but I can’t agree. And I’m the biggest Dune fan you can imagine. During the movie I stopped occasionally to explain to K what was happening and the context – it was amazing how all the details came back to me so easily. But back to why I was disappointed.

First, I really disliked Timothee Chalamet cast as Paul. Not entirely sure why, but for me he wasn’t believable as a fierce fighter and the eventual ruler of the universe. Too foppish.

Next, there was something about the cinematography that was off. Everything appeared to be filmed through gauze. I get it that Arrakis (Dune) is a world of brown sand, but…come on. Give us some color.

I had a very hard time hearing Lady Jessica’s voice – her lines – over the dominating sound track. I may have to go back and watch it with closed captioning on. As for the sound track – Hans Zimmer is great, but I could’ve used a little less mood music.

And the pacing…they told less than one half of the first book’s story in a two and a half hour movie. I love the story, but this was slow. And stopping the movie right in the middle of the story left those who don’t know the story with a big “so what” moment. That’s the end? Denis Villeneuve may get a decade-long franchise out of this, but I still think cutting the movie off there was a mistake.

Zendaya as Chani had about two lines in the whole damn film. Same for Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban. I thought they were both decent choices for those roles, but zero character development or screen time for them. What a waste.

There were some good points. I loved the scale of the interstellar ships, and the representation of tech in general was solid. Oscar Isaac was a great choice for Duke Leto, and same for Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck. And Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho stole every scene he was in.

But on balance, it just wasn’t the movie I had hoped for. I think I’ll take an afternoon soon and go see it in Imax- perhaps that will make the difference.

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