Dune Part One
****/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B
starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem
screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth, based on the novel by Frank Herbert
directed by Denis Villeneuve
by Walter Chaw I couldn't get through the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was a kid, but I devoured Frank Herbert's Dune in a fever and read it again immediately. I have a tactile memory of it. Mostly, I was haunted by the frequent use of passages from the diaries, histories, and philosophies of one Princess Irulan, inserted throughout the text to give the book's story a sense of lost time, immense. I wouldn't experience this feeling reading something again until years later when I finally got into Proust, this thing where you read it in the present, but the text is irretrievably past. You've arrived at the dock, but the ferry, impossibly beautiful and decked out with incomprehensible pleasures and mysteries, has left, and it's not coming back. Princess Irulan opens the book by warning us not to be deceived by its hero, Paul, having spent the first fourteen years of his life on a planet called "Caladan"--that his story is inextricable from the fate of a place called "Arrakis." It reminds me of the many epitaphs for T.E. Lawrence. Herbert told his son that he left multiple threads unresolved in Dune so its readers would want to revisit it--return obsessively to it to follow different paths, suggestions, prophecies. I think it's why I've read four or five of the subsequent Dune novels only once and retained so little of the stories they tell and the answers they provide. It's like Arthur C. Clarke's sequels to his 2001: A Space Odyssey novelization: I don't actually want to know what's inside the Monolith.