Photo / Warner Bros. / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. / "Dune"
After many delays, Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited “Dune” finally hit theatres and became available on HBO Max. Although initially scheduled to release in November 2020, the film was delayed by COVID-19 and finally released last Friday.
“Dune” is the live-action adaptation of the famous sci-fi series written by Frank Herbert in 1965. In its first installment, the “Dune Saga” sold over 12 million copies worldwide and is recognized as one of the best literary pieces of science fiction ever written.
The movie takes place in the year 10,191, amidst an interstellar society run by noble houses that control planetary territories.
The protagonist Paul Atreides is a part of a noble family who has accepted the planet Arrakis. Although Arrakis is a desert wasteland, it is the only source of melange, or “spice,” an enhancing drug necessary for space navigation. As melange can only be produced on Arrakis, the planet becomes a center of conflict and controversy, which is the film’s focus.
However, although “Dune” seems to be filled with war and violence, its popularity stems from the deeper aspects of the plot. The story explores the many interactions between politics, ecology, and religion as families struggle to control Arrakis and obtain “spice.”
“You’d think that “Dune” would be filled with action and war, like Star Wars, but it’s actually way different. That’s one of the main reasons why I loved the movie so much. It was all about politics and societal conflicts that constantly kept you thinking,” said Zachary Kuo, a current junior at Carlmont High School.
In addition, the film has been praised for its lucid adaptation and attention to detail of the book’s setting. According to NPR, “Dune’s” cinematography makes viewers feel as if they are actually on Arrakis “being pummeled by hot desert winds and blinding sandstorms.”
[“Dune”] was a cinematic masterpiece which is why I loved the movie so much. Although it is quite lengthy, with a run time of over two hours, I constantly felt like I was on Arrakis with them. I would say, though, a major factor of my enjoyment was the speakers, so the sound system you watch it on is important,” said Sasha Belov, a current senior at Carlmont High School.
Although the pandemic has hurt its numbers, “Dune” did slightly better than expected. With a fantastic debut this weekend and an encouraging partnership with HBO Max, the film opened to $40.1 million, exceeding expectations of $30 million. The film also landed the biggest tally for Warner Bros. since they first began their collaboration. In addition, with its domestic total added with international earnings, “Dune” has made over $220 million just this week.
As of Tuesday, a sequel for “Dune” was announced by Warner Bros. and is expected to release in October of 2023. This is excellent news as Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part One” covered only the first half of Herbert’s first novel. With a sequel in preparation, fans will hopefully get a third movie to complete the “Dune Saga.”
“As great of a movie “Dune” was, its success will be forgotten if a sequel is not made and the trilogy isn’t completed. [“Dune”] ended on sort of a cliffhanger, so I’m extremely excited to see the sequel when it’s released,” said Jordan Dooley, a current junior at Carlmont High School.