The film is beautiful and appealing in every sense: the CGI and direction is masterful, and the audial design (both the soundtrack and then backing effects) are terrific. The acting is solid (even Chamalet, who feels a little too modern for this work, bring his A Game). I was riveted watching it.

But the entire thing is a trailer for another movie. Nothing happened, and what happened felt rushed, like a race to cover as many plot points as quickly as possible (is it unfair to accuse the film of both being too boring and too fast, like the Jewish grandmother who says of a meal "terrible — and such small portions!"? perhaps!) It's hard to say how much of my experience is colored by having read the books, and getting to follow along the plot without much exposition needed (the only person I watched with that hadn't read the books was Haley, who liked it enough to download the book after the fact.)

But it's hard not to see a bit of Blade Runner 2049 in this movie, which is to say a commitment to futuristic vibes without actually much of a gestalt tying many of the individually breathtaking settings together. I trust Villeneuve, and perhaps I am salty that one of the most exciting parts of the book — the revelation that the Bene Gesserit planted the messianic legend amongst the Fremen, and the implication that all savior narratives are manufactured — is a throwaway line twenty minutes into the movie.


Lightning bolt
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