Oscar Countdown: “Dune” may be award-worthy, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth your time

The film is a technical marvel, but all that “spice” makes it hard to invest in a go nowhere plot


Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Timothée Chalamet is the chosen one, Paul Atreides, in Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar nominated adaptation of “Dune.”

Misael Terriquez, Pepper Bough Staff Writer

Over the next month, the Pepper Bough staff is celebrating the 94th Academy Awards by reviewing each of this year’s crop of Best Picture nominees. We will be looking at two movies per week, plus a few other notable nominees, leading up to Oscar night on Sunday, March 27.

“Dune” is one of the most celebrated films of 2022, recently nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. It’s based on one of the best-selling science fiction novels of all time and was one of 2022’s top-grossing blockbuster films.

“Dune” hits well in all the right areas except for the main one, the plot.

Set on the planet Arrakis, two powerful families fight for the planet’s main resource, called “spice.” Spice is used as fuel for space travel, but it is never really explained how that works though.

At the center of the conflict is this universe’s “chosen one,” Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the son of a Duke, Leto (Oscar Isaac). Since Paul was born, he’s had a lot on his plate, from having his father the Duke teaching him the game of politics to his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) teaching him how to channel supernatural powers she learned as part of a mysterious cult.

The young prince is troubled with dreams of a native woman named Chani (Zendaya), and later on experiences more visions of future devastation.

The conflict thickens when the emperor gives House Atreides rule over Arrakis, which was previously ruled by House Harkonnen. When the Atreides arrive, they soon find they were destined for failure as part of an elaborate plot to destroy them.

Sounds good, right? Decent sounding plot and amazing scenery. Thing is, it takes around an hour and a half to get to the point!

The movie is so focused on creating beautiful scenery that it forgets to tell its story. To be honest, after 10 minutes, I had already lost interest. but I kept on watching. Around 70 minutes, my attention had finally come back and I was kinda hooked. But how long should anyone have to wait before a movie can get good?

“Dune” will probably win the best editing and cinematography at the upcoming Academy Awards, and it will be deserved. Let me tell you, the look and feel of the movie is amazing; every little thing is so detailed.

Still, its all surfaces. It looks good and sounds good. The costumes are stunning. The makeup totally believable. The filmmakers go to great lengths to make us believe Arrakis is real. But museums look great, too, and spending more than an hour in one is also really dull.

If you’re looking for a time-killing movie, with beautiful scenery, “Dune” is definitely for you. For the rest of us . . . ?