there was a blurb from the promotional material surrounding dune that stuck out to me. it’s rare that any one of the glorified buzzfeed critics competing in bi-weekly circlejerks so that five words of their ambiguous praise make it into trailers say anything notable, but paraphrased, it goes like this: “The next Star Wars is here.” 

hyperbolic? probably, but i’m tempted to say it’s not entirely untrue. it’s been a while since tentpole sci-fi has worn soapy melodrama on its sleeve so confidently, in the style of a legitimate space opera akin to 1977’s original. credit this to villeneuve’s lovingly adapted—and on occasion, ineffectually literal—interpretation of herbert's text. he’s a gifted visual linguist; i can understand the monochromatic coloring of his work to be a turn-off, but there are a number of sequences in which it precipitates engaging contrast. bursts, then billows of orange fire set against the dead black of night; buzzing blues and reds pierce the muted bieges, grays and yellows of structures that house combat; ghostly paleness of harkonnen flesh jumping out from their charcoal fabrics and tar-like abodes. spatial coherency is apparently a tall order these days, but it’s nice to know some directors still see it a low bar to clear.

the color is what struck me the first time around (outside of the first zimmer score in years that implies effort), but there’ll be plenty more and there’s already a lot to love here. undoubtedly, part two will retroactively strengthen this, and it’s encouraging to know denis will get a chance to engage with the psychedelia herbert seems known for. recently, he described a (previously) hypothetical part two as a playground for him—i hope he makes use of his newfound sandbox.

eliza liked these reviews