Dune 2021: Is it Worth the Watch?


A remake of the 1984 film and the 1965 sci-fi novel, Dune (2021) hit the market with three well-known actors: Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, and Dave Bautista. Despite its long running time of two and half hours, this movie is just the beginning: part two will be released no earlier than October 2023.  

From trailer to movie poster, Zendaya’s presence was highly marketed in this film. Surely, she would be one of the main characters, right? Surprisingly, Zendaya’s role as Chani only consisted of walking and looking back in less than seven-minutes over the course of the film. The majority of her “screen time” consisted of a voice-over at the beginning of the movie and the few words she exchanged with Chalamet’s character, Paul, at the end of the film. 

Dune seems like a long introduction to a more momentous second part: the movie is drawn out with little activity, even with the cliched ending of “this is only the beginning” said by Chani. Dune’s official trailer is deceiving in the fact that it presents the movie as packed with action and jokes, while the film is closer to a slow-burning suspense movie. As well, Dune contained lots of confusing dialogue with no explanation of the jargon in the first hour.

There were some intriguing sections of the movie–all of which were in the trailer–but the majority of the film was composed of seemingly unnecessary scenes. For instance, there was a moment where the movie’s setting changed to another world with people chanting, but it is hard to know if it has any relevance to the film. After watching the entirety of Dune, that part of the movie really had no correspondence to the plot, nor was it ever explained. 

The jargon surrounding culture and politics also can be difficult to grasp for newcomers to Frank Herbert’s story, especially with the film’s little context and plot holes. For example, Paul’s parents express that they would never allow him to go to Arkaron since it is too risky, yet a few minutes later the three of them land on the planet. The film has many moments like this, including Duncan’s ability to find Paul and his mother randomly in the middle of the desert. The number of questions left unanswered is a mile long, which leaves many viewers even more curious and lost.

In the end, movie watchers should only watch Dune 2021 if they enjoyed the book or previous movie as the film does not satisfy new viewers’ expectation of the trailer nor provide context for those who aren’t  original fans of the series.