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Learning the Ways of the Desert … Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


Directed by Denis Villeneuve

In theaters from March 1

So here it is where are weIn the latter half of Denis Villeneuve’s Frank Herbert adaptation The Mound

Cast into the wilderness of the barren planet Arrakis by an invading force of House Harkonnen, young Paul Atreides (Timothy Chalamet) learns the ways of the desert, embraces his genetic and political destiny, and, in a stroke, becomes fanatical and (the third With an eye on the film – an adaptation of the sequel by author Frank Herbert, Devon Messiah) Curse of the Universe.

From Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mid-1970s efforts, which never came to fruition (but at least to the Swiss artist HR Giger Elaine David Lynch’s 4 Hours Plus Farrago, which was brutally edited before its release in 1984, came close (but only just) to 2 hours in sync. , the industry assumption has been that The Mound An epic is too vast to be filmed easily. However, throw enough resources at it, the logic goes, and it will eventually collapse.

That this is a completely false lesson was proved perfectly true by John Harrison’s 2000 mini-series version for the Sci-Fi Channel and its sequel. Children of Devon – Both are ridiculously under-resourced, both satisfying stories that fans took notice of, even if critics didn’t.

Now we have Villeneuve’s effort. Like this Blade Runner 2049 (which, by the way, is the best movie ever), it uses visual stimulation to hide gaping holes in its plot. Yes, the story of The Mound is epic. But it is also strange in the full sense of the word.

It’s about a human empire that’s reached cosmic proportions, and all without the help of computers, thinking machines, and sentient robots that were dropped in some shadowy phase long ago. The Mound The universe is known as the “Butlerian Jihad”.

In its heyday, humanity nurtured, drugged, and otherwise became something like gods. In conquering space, it reaches the brink of gaining power over time. The drug-like “spice” mined on the planet Arrakis is not just a rare resource over which great rivals fight, but the spiritual gateway that makes humanity, in this distant future, viable in the first place.

Leave any one of these elements underdeveloped (or, as here, completely ignored) and you have a film filled with fights, swordplay, explosions, crowd scenes and giant zombies. So there will be a desert of horror – and yet here – the unwritten rule of special effects cinematography comes into play, because I swear the more expensive these riggers are, the more ridiculous they look. Your ears will be ringing, your heart will be racing, and by morning the whole experience will have evaporated like a steamy long (2 hours and 46 minutes) dream.

As Beast Rabban, Dave Bautista outshines the rest of the cast to an extent that’s embarrassing. The Beast is a Harkonnen, an alpha hunter in this grim universe, and yet Bautista is the only actor here capable of portraying fear. Javier Bardem’s desert leader Stilgar is played for laughs (but let’s face it, in the entire history of cinema, name one desert leader that never happened). Chalamet stands still in front of the camera. Her love interest, played by Zendaya, giggles and roars like Burt Lahr’s Cowardly Lion. The Wizard of Oz.

TELA: PART TWO An expensive ($190 million) film that has the decency to put most of its budget in front of the camera. This makes it watchable, enjoyable and even thrilling at times. make good The Mound A film requires a certain eccentricity. Villeneuve, by contrast, is that deadly thing, “a safe pair of hands”.