With the source material, the original adaption, and the hype surrounding it, it should not be a huge surprise that as the reviews pile on for Dune, it is revealing to be quite the divisive movie. It has touched every thought imaginable, from it being brilliant to it being lackluster. Some critics call it a masterpiece, while others brand it a dud. Let’s break down some of the highlights of the Dune reviews.
To start on the positive side of the Dune reviews, Collider’s founder and Editor-in-Chief, Steven Weintraub, put out his thoughts on Twitter between three tweets. He called it a “masterpiece,” but not just for its genre, but as a piece of “cinema.” He praised Hans Zimmer’s score, Greig Fraser’s cinematography, and Bob Morgan and Jacqueline West’s costumes designs. The combination of it all made it feel like the film was shot on another planet in another galaxy.
Sticking with the uplifting Dune reviews, Empire’s Ben Travis gave it five stars. Once things pick up and the emotion hits, he says that it is “near-constant jaw-on-the-floor awe.” As the film does not adapt the entirety of Frank Herbert’s novel, the critic says that if a sequel does not happen, it would be a “travesty.”
Critics rave about the performances from the A-listers across the board from the Dune reviews. Angelique Jackson from Variety tweeted her praise for Timothee Chalamet (Paul Atreides), Rebecca Ferguson (Lady Jessica), and Oscar Isaac (Duke Leto Atreides). She also notes that Jason Momoa (Duncan Idaho) takes the spotlight with every scene he is in.
While most critics rave about the cast and the visuals in the Dune reviews, the story gets a mixed reaction. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman felt the world-building was superb, but that the core story fell short. In particular, Gleiberman and other critics take issue with the second half of the film. IGN’s Scott Collura echos this sentiment with his seven out of 10 score. He felt that the second half is where things fall apart as it sets up a nonexistent third act. But like other critics, he calls the technical and visual aspects “gorgeous.”
Some Dune reviews say the movie is a flat-out disappointment. David Ehrlich from IndieWire was “massively” let down. He compared it to a “novelty-sized check for six dollars” in the form of a blockbuster. The main issue was with the writing from Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts, and Denis Villeneuve, as they did not manage to gain much out of digging through the source material.
Many Dune reviews follow this conflicted feeling. Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson feels Dune does not reach where it should have, making the film difficult to like or care about. He does note, however, that risky, artsy blockbusters like this are important.
Audiences will have to judge for themselves. Dune reviews being so mixed, it is up to the individual to decide if it clicks with them. Fans can check out the massive cast of Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin (Gurney Halleck), Dave Bautista (Glossu “Beast” Rabban), Zendaya (Chani), and other A-listers on October 22 in theaters or at home on HBO Max.