Yesterday I watched the movie Dune on the big screen. Thoughts of a giant sand worm with its maw open wide, flashes of startling blue eyes against brown skin and desert sands swirled in my head. Woke up in the morning with the Dune hangover intact. Hence, I had to pour my thoughts in this filmy post.
Adapted from the novel, Dune written by Frank Herbert, the movie had been on my big screen watch list since day one. Such was its hype. No, I haven’t read the book so was clueless about what I was getting into.
Since I had recently seen the new James Bond in the cinema hall, my Corona contagion fears were almost non existent. Scanning movie tickets by my self felt more like an airport check in. There was just one other person present inside for this show. My spirits were up. Watching the trailers of the upcoming movies on the big screen only made it better. This was like a private screening.
Now for the movie, Dune. I was enraptured from the first frame even though the opening title read Dune- Part 1.
The story is set in a desert planet Arrakis, coveted for its special mineral called Spice mixed in the sand. Needless to say, spice evoked images of all the spices in my masala box, turmeric, chilli, dhaniya powder. The movie spice on the other hand was a maroon powder that made interstellar travel possible.
Oh yes, it’s a science- fiction film but without the obvious fancy gizmos one finds in a movie set in the future. Even the city in Arrakis resembled ancient Egyptian sorts. The architecture was sprawling, grand and minimalistic in design. With a sea of sand dunes all around, it could be seen as an upgraded version of Anakin Skywalker’s planet Tatooine from Star Wars. More than the space ships, the helicopter, inspired by a dragonfly called thropters were a delight.
As a visual feast, it was perfect for an immersive experience. I’m guessing it may lose some of its magic on the small screen.
So the fight for the spice leads to a power struggle between various factions. We have the Harkonnens, House of Atreides, the native Fremens with dazzling blue eyes and an unseen powerful emperor pulling the strings. Throw in bloody fights for power and survival in a searing landscape of an endless desert. That’s not all. The desert is patrolled by humongous, vicious sand worms, drawn to the slightest vibrations on the ground. That detail reminded me Kevin Bacon’s Tremors. This sand worm though was more awe inspiring.
In a galaxy of stars, Timothée Chalamet shone the brightest. He owns the film completely as the young heir, Paul Atreides. Like Neo in the Matrix, he struggles to accept that ‘He is the One’. Needless to say, he finds his Jedi powers (literal mind control and handy prophetic visions) to become the hero he is fated to be. Also he is a damn good actor. His eyes may be brown in Part 1 but he can speak volumes with his Zoolander blue steel look. Hands down my favourite actor for now. Zendaya on the other hand reminded me of a Bollywood heroine. Blink and you miss her. Mostly appearing in Timothée’s visions, we get a taste of Part 2 when the two join forces.
In the end, it was a Bahubali in vision, a sweeping saga. It is a movie that thrusts you into an out worldly experience and leave you wanting for more. It made me want to pack my bags and walk in the golden sands.
Not a bad way to spend 155 minutes of your life on a Monday evening.