I was a big science fiction fan as a kid and devoured books by Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, and others. One of my favorite books was Frank Herbert’s epic novel Dune.

I no longer read much science fiction, but I still enjoy watching it on the big screen (or, during the pandemic, the little screen). So I was excited to hear about the new film adaptation of Dune that was directed by Denis Villeneuve, creator of Blade Runner 2049, among other films.

I watched Dune last night and enjoyed it, despite some reservations. To me, the story seemed slight—lots of pageantry and battles but not much character development. The plot revolves around Paul Atreides, a young ruler-in-waiting of a powerful interstellar dynasty. Paul’s family has been assigned stewardship of the planet Arrakis, a brutally hot world that has almost no water but is rich in “spice,” a mysterious substance required for space travel. Oh, and if you walk on the planet’s surface, giant worms may swallow you.

In spite of story shortcomings, I still recommend the film, because the visual scope and imaginative detail are jaw-dropping and worthwhile all on their own. You enter an immense, forbidding world and struggle alongside Paul. It’s quite a journey.

If you’re a science fiction fan, I say take it!


Capsule Reviews