“Dune” Review: Timothée Chalamet Broods in Style in Big-Scale Adaptation of Coming-of-Age Tale

Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet in “Dune.” Photo Courtesy: Warner Bros.

Rating: 8/10

I listened to Chloé Zhao. The Nomadland and Eternals director and Academy Award winner has been vocal about the need to watch Dune on the big screen. The film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel opens simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max this Friday, October 22.

Dune’s director, the Quebecois Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), has also strongly advocated for the cinema consumption of his film. “Dune is by far the best movie I’ve ever made. My team and I devoted more than three years of our lives to make it a unique big screen experience. Our movie’s image and sound were meticulously designed to be seen in theaters,” the filmmaker wrote in an essay published after he found out the movie would be available on streaming the same day it opened in theaters.

I experienced Dune at a Dolby Atmos press screening where all those meticulously designed images and sounds stood out — to the point where my seat literally vibrated every time a ship took flight or there was a sandstorm taking place in the movie — and I’d say this is one of those cinematic events you may want to enjoy on the biggest screen possible. But I would also understand if you decide to just stay in and watch it at home.

Let me also warn you. This is Dune: Part One. Villeneuve approached this epic endeavor as a two-movie adaptation. He co-wrote this first film with Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) and Eric Roth (A Star Is Born); all three screenwriters had read Dune as teenagers and were influenced from a young age by the coming-of-age story. Dune: Part Two hasn’t been greenlit yet. Its fate depends on how well Part One performs, but Villeneuve has said he’d be ready to start filming in 2022. I’m just telling you this in case you’re one of those viewers who don’t like inconclusive endings and unfinished narratives. But even if it lacks closure, the movie is a possible Oscar contender