drew’s reviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
i feel like i don’t have that much to add to the conversation here but i am very glad people are so happy with this movie. i am also quite happy with it. denis villeneuve deserves all the respect he can get for taking one of the most maximalist narratives in the history of fiction and applying to it a somewhat minimalist visual style.
just thinking in hindsight about the scope of this movie takes my breath away knowing that the studio that made it essentially went for broke and poured almost every resource you could possibly imagine into seeing this concept through to its full potential in an era when only marginal returns are promised. couldn’t possibly ask for more talent both in front of and behind the camera.
the production design especially is somehow even more stellar than i had anticipated, and my expectations were through the roof to begin with. everything from the costumes to the sets to the sounds comes together in a way that fully immerses you in the world of a book that was once seen by many to be un-adaptable.
that being said, the one aspect that DID take me out of the experience was far too large for me to not mention, and that is the editing. i’ve heard people say before that being an editor is difficult because if you do your job well, nobody should notice it. this movie has some of the most distracting editing i’ve ever seen in a blockbuster film that i actually otherwise liked a lot. there is so much beauty and grandeur to be found in every location in this movie and the constant unnecessary cutting makes it extremely hard to fully appreciate. if there’s any film that should linger on its shots, it’s this one, and especially after the masterful blade runner 2049 i expected a lot more from vilneueve. whether it be in a straightforward dialogue scene where the edit bounces between 15 different camera angles that each get mere split seconds of screen time, or an action scene that cuts away from the climax to something completely unrelated, i feel like so many of the editing choices left me scratching my head because i felt like they had no real purpose at all. but i also don’t see a single other person complaining about this so maybe i’m just picky.
this isn’t to say that i didn’t like the film at all. in fact, more than anything i’m just impressed at the fact that it exists and has been received so well by mainstream audiences. regardless of my feelings on some of the technical aspects (most of which are marvelous) i truly think this film is going to go down in history as one of the greatest examples of hollywood taking somewhat of a risk and striking more gold than they bargained for in the process. beyond just being a a big budget, high concept film, i think what i’ll end up taking away from dune is the fact that nearly everything about its production pretty much fell right into place.