matt qt’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yes, here it is. Villeneuve’s long awaited follow up to the atmospheric masterwork that is Blade Runner 2049, and the film that I have spent the better part of two years waiting for. I had imagined what this night would be like for so long, and now that it’s over, I am just sad. It’s not like Dune was a disappointment or anything, as you can see by my rating, it was incredible, but what am I going to have to look forward to now? This has been touted as the spectacle of the year for such a long time, and it certainly delivered on that. This film has the most grandiose scope I have ever seen in my entire life I think, so this was never really in danger of garnering a negative review from me. Each frame is just so big, which left me in awe from beginning to end. From a purely visual standpoint, Dune is the greatest film of all time, and I mean that. The sets, the effects, the symmetry of shots, it’s all perfect.
Now here is where I talk about what I didn’t enjoy, albeit not much falls under that distinction. I will say, not much happens in terms of story progression in these two and a half hours. This isn’t something that hinders my enjoyment, but it will for many. This is a Villeneuve directed semi-arthouse epic after all, so I’m not sure what people expected, but the pacing here is comparable to Arrival and BR2049, if not a bit slower. But for me, it is the pure ambience that carries this film, not it’s story. The sound design here is absolutely wonderful, especially in an IMAX setting, where I felt each sound effect echo deep within my soul. Zimmer’s scores usually do annoy me, and this basically captures the quintessence of a Zimmer score, but I was still able to tune this out when I needed to and maintain my total immersion.
The performances aren’t anything special, aside from Rebecca Ferguson obviously, who commands the viewer’s attention every instance that she is on screen. As per usual Chalamet didn’t wow me, but I thought he played a good Paul, who isn’t specifically a dramatic character in the first place. But from the half of Lynch’s Dune I have seen, I must say I prefer MacLachlan in the role, whether there is some bias in that statement or not. For me, MacLachlan is just a way more commanding actor, with his Blue Velvet performance being one of my favorites. But i think Chalamet was one of the best choices to fit the role, especially considering the limited amount of young big ticket actors who could have been eligible to fit this role. A lot of the other performances are pretty stripped back, but effective nonetheless. Ultimately, this is pretty much exactly what I was expecting from Dune, and I am happy with what we got. Oh and I know everyone says to see this in theaters in their reviews, but it’s just a fact, you are missing out if you watch this on HBO Max. But with that being said, I will definitely be watching this again on HBO Max before it gets removed from there.