The highly anticipated movie adaptation of Dune won't land on United States shores until October 22, 2021. However, the reviews are already in. In addition to early viewings from critics, the rest of the world has already had a chance to watch Denis Villeneuve's vision of Frank Herbert's classic 1965 sci-fi novel of the same name.
Technically, this isn't the first attempt at adapting Dune. David Lynch tried back in the 1980s, while a TV miniseries was attempted in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, neither one was considered a success. Lynch's vision, for example, was described as a narrative mess as it tried to do too much in a single film. Thankfully, this isn't the case with Villeneuve's take. Instead of trying to adapt the entire novel, Villeneuve's film uses material from the first half only. So, if we're lucky, we're going to see a second part (if not a third one) in the next few years.
With that said, it appears that audiences and critics alike have been loving Dune so far. The movie currently holds an 89% score over at Rotten Tomatoes.
Here's what the critics are saying about Dune:
"Dune feels like the start of a story that will soon become the stuff of sci-fi filmmaking legend." - Rafael Motamayor
"Villeneuve's Dune takes a bit of time to set up the necessary palace intrigue and family dynamics before finding its shape as a relentless, propulsive chase movie." - Adam Nayman
"Dune" manufactures the magic of movies where the dreams can be as big as the screens that display them." - Marshall Shaffer
"Dune is a spectacle, through and through. Bold, serious, and dedicated to launching a whole new franchise, it's a gamble that's paid off." - Joey Magidson
Is Dune worth watching in theaters?
By all accounts, it's worth risking a trip to the theaters to watch Dune. However, if you're worried about your safety, Warner Bros. has got you covered. Just like every single one of its movies this 2021, Dune will premiere on HBO Max simultaneously on launch day in the United States. Although Villeneuve has expressed his distaste for this decision already, the critical reaction and financial success of the film so far should make this less of an issue.
Speaking of critics, many agree that the film did an amazing job at conveying a dark and serious tone complete with matching visuals. Unfortunately, most also saw how the movie seemed more interested in setting up a sequel than telling its own story at times. The criticism is valid since it's just half of a two-part movie.
All in all, the fact that Dune even made it into the big screen during the pandemic is an achievement on its own. Everything else is just a bonus.