Smart Movie Review: “Dune: Part 1”

Published 8:00 am Friday, October 29, 2021

By Ian Omar Smart | Guest Columnist

Released Oct. 22 and now playing at the B&B Theaters in the Vicksburg Mall, “Dune” keeps its audience engaged with a thoughtful story about intergalactic political intrigue.

Director Denis Villeneuve uses its all-star cast (including Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem and Zendaya) to faithfully bring the scope of Frank Herbert’s Dune to the big screen.

By separating “Dune” into several films, Villeneuve uses this real-estate to give a thorough introduction to Paul Atreides (played by Timothee Chalamet); heir to his father’s empire and the (possible) messiah to the people of the Desert Planet of Arrakis. Paul and his mother (wonderfully played by Rebecca Ferguson) escape an ambush by a rival faction and journey into the heart of the desert.

They confront assassins, endure betrayal and face the massive “sand words” that have become a sort of mascot for the series.

Beyond the compelling story, the film boasts some of the most breathtaking visuals you’ll see in any movie this year. The design of this alien landscape crawls and creaks like real-world tech (only far-flung into the future), resembling the industrial production design of the original 1977 Star Wars. Dune never becomes as playful as Star Wars, but its sophisticated plotting, lived-in culture (heavily influenced by traditions from the Middle East) and an assortment of interesting characters more than compensate for its deliberate pacing.

While not the complete story, “Dune” does justice to the epic world that helped define modern science fiction.

Ian Omar Smart is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University with a degree in architecture. When he’s not drawing buildings, he’s probably at the movies. Smart can be contacted at isiansmart@gmail.com.