Dune (2021): A Must See for Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings Fans


Sally Brown

Picture courtesy of Dune (2021). A must-see film for fans of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings

Lorenzo Pastro, Staff Writer

Many adaptations of Frank Herbert’s epic have come, but none compare to Denis Villeneuve’s star-studded blockbuster hit, Dune (2021). The film covers the first two parts of the first book and serves as a part 1 worthy of a sequel. While an action film, it tells a story and introduces the world of Dune to audiences helping to set up a future movie for the series. The film is strikingly similar to the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings franchises in the way it introduces the characters, story, and action. Though, it lacks the same level of excellence. 


The film’s cinematography is excellent. The shots are some of the greatest and most beautiful of the year. Similar to Villeneuve’s previous films, Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Arrival (2016), and Sicario (2015), the cinematography is Oscar-worthy. While Villeneuve takes a different approach with hiring a new cinematographer instead of his longtime collaborator Roger Deakins, the film still maintains its visual glory in the beautiful landscape of Arrakis. The cinematography uses shadows and grain to showcase all the dust that you see on Arrakis. The cinematography is similar to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The overall design for the atmosphere surrounding the film’s action represents the setting very well, and the cinematography captures it amazingly. The costume design is excellent, especially with the “still suits” from the novel to the big screen. 


The score is composed by the great Hans Zimmer, who previously composed credits include Inception, Gladiator, and The Dark Knight. The overall sound of the score represents the film’s atmosphere throughout. At the beginning of the film, on Caladan, the score is softer and more orchestral, slowly rising to the rest of the film. On Arrakis, the score has more Arabic elements and percussion. Being a passion project for composer Hans Zimmer, you can hear the emotion and dedication put into the scene in the score. Which ultimately ends up being a good decision for the film. The overall score is powerful in keeping the film’s emotion.


The film seems to flow by, making the two-and-a-half-hour runtime captivating. The movie removes the voiceovers representing the inner thoughts of characters, a change from the classic novel. Another cut of the film is a story from the book that shows Duke Leto increasingly portraying distrust against Lady Jessica, leading Thufir Hawat to believe that Lady Jessica was the traitor. The film only covers half of the book, which allows it to feature more of the novel’s details. Something that the 1984 adaptation lacked.


The script incorporates many of the book’s iconic quotes including “Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” The film starts by giving background information on the situation on Arrakis, setting up the rest of the film, and is very effective in helping introduce the story to those who may not be familiar with it. The writing overall helps prevent pacing problems that many films similar to it fail.


Lady Jessica gets a better representation than previously, keeping Rebecca Ferguson among one of the film’s best performances. Timothee Chalamet shines in the scene where he must pass the Bene Gesserit test; if he withdraws his hand from the box, he dies. Many people may be surprised to find out that Zendaya’s character, Chani, does not appear for a long time in the film despite being a big part of the film’s promotion; in the book, the character is introduced only more than halfway through the book.


Dune is available to watch in theaters and on HBO Max. The film proves itself to be very similar to the likes of Star Wars. The cinematography of Dune is excellent and reminds us of what cinema is, not a genre or an award, but an experience and the audience’s takeaway. The film incorporates many Arabic and Medieval influences into its overall design, and alongside the score, it brings the atmosphere of the novel to life. This movie is an 8.5/10 and a must-watch for fans of the Star Wars saga and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.