Movie Review: “Dune”; From the perspective of a Dune fan and a Timothée Chalamet fan

Sana Tahir and Brady Sternberg

Warning: This story may possibly contain spoilers about the movie.

The most anticipated movie of 2021. We all heard about this movie’s arrival, viewed the trailer, saw pictures of the numerous premiers, and after a one-year delay of its initial release, Dune has finally come out. This book, turned movie adaptation, stars big names like Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, and many more. Eagan Independent sent out 2 writers to go watch Dune: Brady who has read all the books and is a fan of the entire Dune franchise and Sana, who simply watched it for the cast. Here are their views on Dune.


Oh, do I love this story. I’ve read all of Frank Herbert’s original Dune novels, and I consider the first book my favorite. So I was ecstatic when the first photos from the Dune movie were released in 2019. And now, after several delays and arguments over the release environment, Dune has been released. This is the culmination of several years of hype for me, so my expectations were high, and Dune delivered.

I had the opportunity to watch Dune in theatres over the opening weekend and for a second time at home. As a veteran of the universe, I watched with childlike delight as my favorite characters from the book sprang to life on screen. Denis Villeneuve, the director, worked magic as he conveyed the emotion of every scene through the masterful use of lighting and camera angles. The audience is treated to vast landscape vignettes, focused in on intense moments, and sweeping audiovisual encounters. Hans Zimmer provides a cap on the experience that is viewing Dune, with ethereal vocals, striking strings, and rattling bass. All of this culminates in a movie that would be fantastic to watch, even if you never understood what was happening.

In fact, that seems to be a complaint that many who aren’t familiar with the story have. Dune is complicated, and those who haven’t read the book struggle to keep up and leave the theatre with a feeling of not knowing the whole story. Dune adapts the first part of the first book. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and trying to tell the story in only three hours would feel rushed; this is where previous adaptations have gone wrong. I think splitting up the story is good. I’d rather the audience leave with a yearning for more, rather than whiplash.

Another complaint seems to be the lack of Zendaya in the film. This headline actress brought many to see the movie who otherwise wouldn’t have, and she’s in 10 minutes. This is something I was prepared for and unperturbed by, as I know her character doesn’t come in till the second half, but it left many viewers feeling cheated.


I heard about “Dune” in early 2020 when I did a binge of all of Timothée Chalamet’s movies. I knew it was science fiction and if I’m being honest, science fiction has never interested me. “Interstellar” I fell asleep in, “Inception” flew right past me and I didn’t even bother with “The Matrix”. However, Dune’s cast looked exceptional. Having 2 of the biggest younger generation actors on the same screen along with classic Hollywood actors is what made me buy tickets for this movie.

So, on October 22nd, the day the movie premiered, I walked into the theatre with a friend ready to watch the most anticipated movie of not only 2020 but 2021. I knew absolutely nothing of the plot except what the trailer showed and from my past experience with Science Fiction movies, I knew I would be confused. Right from the 10 minutes of the story, I was always already shocked that the movie revolved around spice. I wanted to know what type of spice could have been so important that other planets fought to rule the spice planet, called Arakis. I think the movie didn’t do a great job at prefacing the characters and setting. They explained the planet of Arakis and their people, but the main character and his family, I felt, were not explained well. Paul Atreides, who is played by Chalamet, is the heir of the House of Atreides, and only after watching it and reading the Wikipedia plot did I find out that the House of Atreides ruled the Ocean Planet. Later in the movie, we find that he also inherits powers from his mother who is part of the Bene Gesserit. While watching the movie, I could only assume that the Bene Gesserit was a type of witch cult but again, after reading the Wikipedia plot, I figured out it was a sisterhood made only of women who possess powers.

Though the backstory of the movie was a little confusing, I think that the plot itself was easy to understand. Within the first hour of the movie, we were introduced to almost all the characters and knew of the basic plot. When I first saw the villain, I had to say I was a little surprised. I was anticipating something scarier but then again Dune is supposedly a teen’s book so having something overly scary probably wouldn’t be good. I was a little disappointed in the scenes Zendaya was in as I know a lot of people, including myself, were anticipating her to have a way bigger role. However, Dune is a 3 book trilogy and this movie only covered the first half of the first book so I’m assuming Zendaya will have a bigger role in the rest of the movies.

I loved Duncan’s character played by Jason Mamoa: he was an expert soldier and the duke’s right-hand man. I liked how the soldiers of the House of Atreides had a connection to Paul and treated him like he was their own child. When Chani, Zendaya’s character, and Paul met in real life, I did let out a little scream because the whole movie I was waiting for them to get together. The director definitely led us on with their kiss being part of Paul’s dream but I have hope they will get together in the next movies. Overall, I actually really enjoyed: so much, that I watched it again the next day. I have to say that if you do decide to watch it, maybe read a preview online of the characters and the backstory so you have a little knowledge going into it.

I did notice how a lot of the names and references were derived out of the Middle Eastern language and it had a lot of connections to Islam. I noticed many people caught onto this and eventually I found out the book was actually inspired by a lot of Islamic narratives. From the words like “Mahdi” to the veiled women, it was obvious the book was influenced by Islam and the Middle Eastern culture. Because of this, I was a little disappointed they didn’t have Muslim or Middle Eastern representation in the movie itself. However, I thought the movie was beautifully shot, some scenes had such amazing cinematography and the acting and sets were incredible. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone and I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next one!