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Though the movie is a great interpretation of the novel, it lacks one thing: representation. The Arabic and Islamic elements in the movie are evident. The film had great potential to give opportunities to Arabic and Muslim identifying actors, but instead,” Dune” chooses to appropriate their culture and undermine religious conflict.

[Review] While a Technical Wonder, ‘Dune’ Lacks Representation

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Frank Herbert, an American author, wrote the science fiction novel “Dune” in 1965. In 1966, it won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, and it has long been regarded as a genre classic and one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time. The new movie “Dune” is a cinematic masterpiece featuring world-renowned actors including Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin and more! The book’s plot was intense and hands down one of my favorite science fiction novels, and the movie is even better. 

Directed by Denis Villeneuve from a screenplay he also helped to adapt for the screen, “Dune” depicts the narrative of Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet, a clever and gifted young man born into a huge destiny beyond his comprehension. Paul must travel to the universe’s most hazardous planet to save his family and people. Only those who can overcome their fear will live as nefarious powers clash over the planet’s unique supply of the most valuable resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential.

With spectacular cinematography, magnificent set pieces and production designs, and dramatic music production that develops throughout the film and serves as a significant character in its own right, it iss a fantastic experience. With magnificent visuals that aid in understanding “Dune’s” intricate universe and diplomacy, the movie has a perfect flow to it. 

The film is, first and foremost, a technical wonder. The set design and CGI work are equally perfect, resulting in a breathtaking otherworldly setting. The action sequences, special effects, and Hans Zimmer’s score all combine to create a genuinely huge, richly felt universe that ought to be watched on the largest screen possible. In addition, the picture has a strong sense of foreboding, which is heightened by Greig Fraser’s magnificent cinematography. It’s beyond clear that this movie was made for IMAX. 

Hans Zimmer’s composition is stirring, with synthesizers and vocalizations lending “Dune” an alien feel. In addition, high-quality special effects bring the universe of “Dune” to life in a way that has never been seen before. “Dune” uses CGI to enhance the overall tale. Due to this, the characters feel real and intriguing. 

One of my favorite performances from the film is when Dr. Liet Kynes, played by Sharon Duncan-Brewster, is introduced to the viewers. Kynes is a mysterious Imperial biologist who monitors the changeover of House Harkonnen and House Atreides as stewards of Arrakis. The scene is so powerful and the blue eyes matched with the iconic stillsuit (full-body suit worn in the desert to conserve the body moisture) made it an impeccable scene.

Character appearances similar to the one of Dr. Liet Kynes draw readers into the universe because these characters have been represented by multiple actors such as Max von Sydow, who played Kynes in David Lynch’s film adaptation of “Dune” in 1984. With the books, so many fans have been able to have their own headcanon or pre-conception of each character, and seeing it all on screen is beyond mesmerizing. 

By the end of the movie, I was eager to learn more about the “Dune” book series and its history, including the characters’ backgrounds. 

Though the movie is a great interpretation of the novel, it lacks one thing: representation. The Arabic and Islamic elements in the movie are evident. The film had great potential to give opportunities to Arabic and Muslim identifying actors, but instead,” Dune” chooses to appropriate their culture and undermine religious conflict. By not providing these opportunities to Arabic and Muslim actors, “Dune” contributes to the perpetuation of cultural exploitation towards Southwest Asians and North Africans. 

The filmmakers and awe-inspiring ensemble have done the film justice, and “Dune” has just begun. The film only covered part of the first book, and I felt as if for the whole two hours and 35 minutes, I was watching a trailer for the sequel. Some filmgoers have been upset to discover that the film abruptly stops and does not show the entirety of the plot from the first “Dune” book. 

Another disappointing factor was Zendaya’s appearance. From the trailer, it made it seem that Zendaya would have a lot of screentime in the movie but she ends up having a whopping seven minutes. Even though her performance is no less than perfection, her brief appearance threw some viewers off, including me.

If you can, I highly suggest seeing “Dune” in theaters as the film is more enjoyable on the big screen. So far, “Dune” has grossed over $300 million worldwide. Late last month, Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros., announced that “Dune: Part II” will be released in October 2023. This time, the film is scheduled to be released solely in theaters.

 

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