«Dune», the medieval atmosphere of the fantastic planet Arrakis (score 6½) – Corriere.it

from Paolo Mereghetti

Director Denis Villeneuve chooses to remain anchored to a more traditional type of realism for his new work

In years in which digital technology seems to have taken away every creative limit, director Denis Villeneuve (and with him Warner) seem to have wanted to challenge on purpose this freedom and, choosing to adapt the fluvial novel
«Dune» by Frank Herbert, wanting to be new and more difficult obstacles. Starting with the bet to match the needs of the mainstream showmanship Hollywood with the author’s ambitions of those who had “re-read” «Blade Runner» directed by Ridley Scott In the 1982

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By choosing, curiously, a reverse path, because if in the sequel set in 2049 he had imagined that the virtual reality could have supplanted that real, recreating here the fantasy world of planet Arrakis (also known as Dune, which is also the title of the film) the director chooses to remain anchored to a realism more type traditional. Although filtered through the imagination of Moebius (whose preparatory drawings for the film ever made of Jodorowsky seem well present in the final work of the production designer Patrice Vermette).

It was perhaps the only way, that of a plus “traditional” scenographic realism, so as not to betray the political ambitions which were the basis of Frank Herbert’s work and that when the novel came out (in installments, in 1963-64) they made a success not only among the science fiction readers but also for those generations who were preparing the Sixty-eight. Starting with his own prophetic tones on the rejection of consumerism and on ecological concerns against the exploitation of natural resources.

The challenge, then, was that of gather together all these features, including themedieval atmosphere that hovers over the whole novel, where the world where you collide the Atreides they Harkonnen is described as “openly feudal” (Sandro Pergamo rightly points out this in the introduction to new translation of the novel published by the publisher Fanucci). Without of course forgetting the Christological dimension of the young man Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), on whose shoulders the whole saga rests.

We sense it immediately when we see it instructed in combat by the faithful Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) and then involved by his father Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) in accepting the imperial order who names the Atreides new “gentlemen” of the planet Arrakis, expanse desert and inhospitable of no interest except that it is the main source of «melange», essential product for the survival of the entire galaxy. And that until then had been collected and marketed by the avidi Harkonnen del barone Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård).

A change of management unexpected and suspicious, which hides a sneaky plan of the same Emperor concerned about too much popularity degli Atreides, noble and generous, and who is plotting in the shadows to transform thatinvestiture in a trap. Of which Duke Leto naturally has an inkling but against which he can do nothing, except hope for the help of the concubine Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), mother of young Paul and part of the mysterious sect Bene Gesserit, one of which (Charlotte Rampling) is entrusted with the task of verifying the potential still unspoken by the young Atreides.

As it is easy to guess, the narrative material it’s a lot complex and Villeneuve (writing the script with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth) he does not work with scissors, indeed he seems to take pleasure into add new characters and new situations. And this is the main one reproach what can be done to him, that he wanted to pursue the labyrinthine complexity of the novel (which has more than 600 pages), probably to differentiate himself from who that story had already brought on screen (David Lynch in 1984) and whoever had it I draw inspiration and ideas (starting with George Lucas and «Star Wars»).

An operation not totally successful, which relies too much on music thunderous by Hans Zimmer and ending with stop – after 155 minutes – on the most beautiful, when Paul Atreides finally understood fate that awaits him and that he should realize in one second part which, however, is still very far frombe ready.

September 16, 2021 (change September 17, 2021 | 10:23)

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