When the first trailer dropped my heart raced, finally another Dune movie. I loved the books but I must admit I haven’t seen the 1984 film adaptation by David Lynch at all. I was only 4 years old when it was released and it just disappeared from my view in the years to come.
When I was 18 years old I had to read a couple of English books for my English finals and the teacher gave us the chance to deviate of the list but only if he okay’ed your choice. I said to him that I was going to read Frank Herbert’s Dune, he told me one book would be enough for the oral exam. The oral exam had two parts, a book discussion and a presentation about something you like. I chose American Comics and we ended up nerding the complete 30 minutes and I was given an A.
What I liked about Dune was that it was heavily influenced by Arab and Islamic culture. The language contained similarities with the Arabic language and the Fremens nomadic culture fitted the exact same culture. I always feel a bit connected with Islamic culture as my great-grandmother was Muslim and she gave her grandchildren Muslim wisdoms that were then passed on to me like ‘Speak good to people’.
So I understand the disappointed of people when they discovered the chosen cast not representing any Arab or Islamic actors. Hollywood still tends to go for big names even in 2021. And a big name cast it is: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. To my shame I couldn’t remember seeing Timothée in Interstellar so for me he was a bit of an unknown actor XD. But yea, for the Fremen, there are quite a few Arab/Islamic actors they sidelined here. I’m thinking about Ali Suliman, Mena Massoud or Alia Shawkat.
Dune was a spectacle for the eyes filmed in stunning locations like Norway, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Budapest. The music was perfect, the special effects very impressive and the movie was well paced and didn’t feel at all 155 minutes. A good balance between action and suspense. I was really curious how they would implement the body shields and it was just thumbs up from me all the way. I needed a bit more sand worms, the Shai Hulud. I was on the edge of my seat when they whipped out the hooks to ride the worms, we even saw a rider at the end of the movie so I think I will get fan-girl’s satisfaction worth in Dune part 2.
I’m not going to spoil too much on the story but the premise of Dune goes as follows. In the far future Duke Leto Atreides accepts to become steward of the desert planet Arrakis in order to source the most valuable substance in the universe called spice. The drug extends human life, provides superhuman levels of thought and makes faster-than-light travel practical. Leto knows this is a trap set up by his enemies but still takes his concubine Jessica and his heir Paul, together with his trusted advisors to the planet. The spice mining is complicated by the presence of the Shai Hulud, giant sandworms. After House Atreides is betrayed Paul has to flee together with his mother to the desert and seek refuge with the Fremen. Whispers are that Paul is Muad’Dib, the Fremen messiah.
After seeing this movie I have the mood to pick up the books again and wait for part 2 to hit the theaters.