Expectations going in to Denis Villenueve’s Dune have been steadily rising for weeks, even if the filmmaker is nervous about the movie’s chances of box office success plunging his planned sequel into a state of uncertainty. You name one of the biggest and most acclaimed fantasy or sci-fi properties in history, and chances are the literary adaptation has been compared to it.
The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter and 2001: A Space Odyssey are just some of the monolithic titles to have been bandied around in the same breath, and now that the literary adaptation has finally held its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, those lofty aspirations look to be well within reach.
As you can see from the reactions below, critics are already falling over themselves to throw every superlative under the sun at Dune, and while festival buzz is hardly a barometer that casual audiences tend to abide by, it does at least provide Warner Bros. plenty of ammunition when it comes to loading up the marketing with gushing praise.
Dune looks phenomenal, is directed by one of the most talented filmmakers in the business, and boasts what might be 2021’s most stacked ensemble cast, so the benchmark was already very high. Looking at the reactions, though, the latest stab at bringing Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel to the big screen looks to have blown even the most optimistic preconceptions out of the water.