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REVIEW: Dune Part 1 (12A)

By Hector MacKenzie

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Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothee Chalamet – Paul Atreides

Rebecca Ferguson – Lady Jessica Atreides

Oscar Isaac – Duke Leto Atreides

Jason Momoa – Duncan Idaho

Stellan Skarsgard – Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

Star turns from Javier Bardem as Stilgar and Zendaya as Chani.

IT runs to a generous 2hours 35 minutes yet ends with the words: "This is the only beginning".

But there's little prospect of feeling short-changed at the elaborate set-up for the next part of the adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction epic.

Denis Villeneuve's ambitious star-studded rendering of the story about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy is a visual treat from start to finish.

If you're tempted to wait until its wider release, resist – this is a spectacular film that was made to enjoy on the big screen.

If there was an Oscar for smouldering, Timothee Chalamet as the conflicted Paul Atreides would be an absolute shoo-in. The increasingly hot ticket has a face made for the lingering close-up, a fact not lost on the director.

From the first moment on, you'll spot familiar faces and wonder what you've seen them in before. "That's him out of..." etc.

Stellan Skarsgard has been in everything from Pirates of the Caribbean to Mamma Mia remains instantly recognisable despite quite the makeover as the terrifying Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Jason Momoa (Aquaman; Game of Thrones) thrives on his gung-ho role as Duncan Idaho while Javier Bardem exudes his usual mysterious aura as desert-dweller Stilgar.

As with any complex story, there's a compromise to be reached between spelling it all out in mind-numbing detail and letting the viewer catch the gist and fill in the blanks. Fans of the books, of course, will be able to make their own assessment as to the success of the adaptation.

The special effects are impressive but, unlike some sci-fi spectaculars, don't overwhelm the story but instead add to the spectacle. There are some cheesy lines and on a few occasions the pacing of the desert scenes could use just a little pepping up. But these are small gripes for a big screen delight that will leave you marking a date in your diary for the next thrilling instalment.

Dune is showing at Eden Court until November 4.

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