Film Review — Dune

My verdict on Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited take on the first half of Frank Herbert’s legendary sci-fi novel

Simon Dillon
Simon Dillon Cinema

--

Credit: Warner Brothers

Frank Herbert’s famous science fiction novel Dune is nothing like Star Wars. Nor is it comparable to The Lord of the Rings, despite what Arthur C Clarke said, beyond the fact that both stories involve hugely complex world-building. They are apples and oranges. Chalk and cheese. Capitalists and communists. Christians and atheists. So before I get into this review, despite the ongoing immensely irritating repetition of these assertions, please drive both ideas out of your minds.

What Dune is comparable to are historical dramas involving political skullduggery and Machiavellian machinations. Considering we’re dealing with a society that has reverted to feudalism and rejected thinking machines in the wake of an AI uprising (the Butlerian jihad, for those who have read the novels), that’s hardly surprising. Dune is also an allegory about the world’s dependence on Middle Eastern energy, with the all-powerful “spice melange”, exclusively mined on the desert planet Arrakis (aka Dune), a stand-in for oil.

Bearing in mind the novel was written in the 1960s, House Atreides (more or less the good guys, even if they are still colonialist exploiters) essentially stands for the United States…

--

--

Simon Dillon
Simon Dillon Cinema

Novelist and Short Story-ist. Film and Book Lover. If you cut me, I bleed celluloid and paper pulp. Blog: www.simondillonbooks.wordpress.com