Since Frank Herbert’s beloved science-fiction novel “Dune” hit bookshelves more than 50 years ago, fans have been waiting for the quintessential cinematic adaptation.

That day has finally arrived with the latest incarnation of “Dune” – a sweeping epic under the direction of Denis Villeneuve, the man behind the “Blade Runner” reboot and “The Arrival.”

Villeneuve has crafted this world in ways audiences haven’t seen. It’s a vast improvement over David Lynch’s 1984 convoluted adaptation and a step forward from the SyFy miniseries.

In this version, Villeneuve opted to cover mostly the first half of Herbert’s novel, using this film to establish this world and its many characters. “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atriedes (Timothée Chalamet), whose family gets caught up in a battle for control of the planet Arrakis. Although basically a deserted wasteland, control of Arrakis is seen as essential because it serves as the only source of a spice that is capable of extending human vitality and is vital for interstellar travel.

Paul’s father, Leto (Oscar Isaac), is chosen by the Emperor to oversee a transition of power on the planet from previous leader Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård), but the transition is actually a front to allow Harkonnen to stage a violent coup of the planet.

Much like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Dune” takes a rather standard plot and uses it to create an expansive world that explores deeper themes than the story might suggest.

Villeneuve understands the task at hand and takes his strong work from “Blade Runner” and “The Arrival” and builds on it here. This is a film best seen on as large of a screen possible, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves into this spectacular world.

The story also introduces audiences to an expansive set of characters, with Villeneuve (one of three people credited as screenwriters) slowly establishing these characters in the same manner he establishes the world where they live.

Chalamet finds the right tone as Paul, the film’s reluctant hero. The cast also includes Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Dave Bautista, Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin – all critical to moving this story along.

“Dune” builds to a final act that leaves a lot left on the table. Fortunately, Warner Brothers announced earlier this week that “Dune Part 2” is a go and is scheduled to hit theaters in 2023 with Villeneuve set to direct again.

Now that audiences know that the second film is coming, it’s even easier to appreciate the craftmanship and storytelling in “Dune” – the perfect table primer for Herbert’s novel that only scratches the surface of what is to come.

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