Dune (2021) Review

So I recently saw Dune earlier (Saturday Afternoon, October 30th) and what a film. This film is incredible. For those that don’t know, Dune is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi classic novel Dune. This is the second bigger film adaptation, the prior one being Dune (1984) Directed by David Lynch and starring Kyle MacLachlan as Paul (I do plan to watch and review this soon). Dune (2021) is directed by Canadian Director Denis Villeneuve and stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Furguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård and Josh Brolin. It tells the first half of the original book, telling the story of Paul’s journey, learning the ways of Arakis as well as finding out his true destiny. I would say more but I don’t want to spoil……even if it’s adapted from an already existing story. 

Even though it’s only half the full story, I still really enjoyed the story and plot of the film. I feel like there is enough in the film to keep it interesting and engaging. The way the film establishes the universe and how things work is effective as it gets the audience to understand what is going on from the beginning. This is coming from someone who only has some passing knowledge of the franchise. I also enjoy how from the beginning there’s this sense of danger, like something isn’t the way it seems. That tenseness is eventually proven right when the moment happens, and while I was expecting it, it still had the punch necessary to make us feel. A great way it does that is through the characters.

The performances and characters in the film are all great. Timothée Chalamet makes for a great Paul Atreides. He brings a good amount of unease and also kind of badassness to the role. His physicality is great throughout the film. Rebecca Furguson is also great throughout this film, she really brings this unsureness to the role. She’s being pulled in multiple directions and doesn’t know what to do. Zendaya is pretty good, we don’t see a lot with her but what we get is pretty good. We mostly see her through Paul’s visions. Oscar Isaac is good for the time we have him. We get a sense of his personality and leadership style. Jason Mamoa is great as Duncan Idaho, a real standout fun character throughout the film. Everyone else is really good as well throughout the film, fitting their roles perfectly. 

Where the film stands out most is technically. The cinematography in this film is incredible, just incredible to look at. So many stunning images. From the images of the desert to the battle scenes, to Paul’s visions, everything is shot incredible and looks amazing. The film also does great with the props, costumes and sets. It sets a good difference between the factions and feels like a lived in, dirty and broken down world. Especially on Arakis, everything feels dirty and grimy there. The special effects looks mostly great as well, the only weirdness was Paul’s face in the battle armour from the trailer, still looks a little weird, but other than that everything looks great, especially the sandworms. 

Another stand-out part of the film is the soundtrack. Hans Zimmer does an incredible job on this film. It fits with the moments and helps control the flow of emotion throughout the film. It’s a memorable score with a lot of elements from different cultures which blends well together.

Over-all Dune was an incredible film, well worth the time spent watching, as well as the need for a second film. Two-Thumbs up, see this on the biggest screen you can. 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) Review

So I saw Venom Let There Be Carnage on Saturday October 2nd and it was something. It’s a very interesting movie and very different than most superhero films out there. The movie is about Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his relationship with Venom, with a wrench being thrown in with serial killer Cletus Kasady(Woody Harrelson) choosing Eddie to get his story out there. 

The storyline of this movie is actually pretty interesting in that there’s this mirroring of Eddie and Cletus and their relationships with the other characters in the film. It’s kind of weird as there’s kind of is something there, with how both characters have shitty pasts but the differences come in with what the characters do. This will come in later when we talk about the characters, but I do think it does an ok job with it. The movie leans in to the relationship between Venom and Eddie and goes more for a romcom feel with it. I mean for their stuff it follows a lot of the formula that you see in a romantic comedy. It’s like they saw how the internet reacted to the first movie and decided to run with it. I think it works into the movie’s favour as it works for the arcs of Eddie and Venom throughout. It also helps show some of the differences between Eddie/Cletus and Venom/Carnage. Another thing this movie makes use of is the idea of actions having consequences. The movie makes references to this throughout as its Eddie and Venom’s actions that cause the movie to happen. It works for me as it forces the characters to reevaluate and change to fix their own issues as well as the issues they caused for other people. 

The movie is a loose adaptation of some 90s marvel comics stories involving Venom and Carnage. These being the Lethal Protector Venom run, Carnage’s origin, and Maximum Carnage. I say loose adaptation as the comics for Maximum Carnage involves more killers than just Shriek and Carnage himself. Other than that it does keep some of the main points of Carnage and Shriek rampaging across the city. The Carnage origin is relatively spot on and well done. 

Time to talk about the characters, this is going to be relatively short as I’m going to focus on Eddie/Venom and Cletus/Carnage as they’re really the only ones that have a major affect on the story, other than Anne (Michelle Williams). 

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock/Venom is pretty good in this movie. His performance is one of the driving forces of the movie and is pretty good, it’s fun and brings the right amount of craziness and emotion. He’s got an interesting arc in this movie about learning to accept himself, his issues and how to not be impulsive. We get to see Eddie being the investigator again for a bit throughout the movie. Venom is also great throughout the movie, getting time on its own and learning how important Eddie really is to it. Their relationship is where a lot of the comedy and drama comes from. I do enjoy how this movie keeps the Eddie looking terrible as the film goes on like the first movie did. 

Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage is everything I was hoping for. He brings a good amount of craziness to the character, which is needed as Cletus is a crazy serial killer. He plays the role well and can be intimidating throughout the film, which is something he has over Carlton Drake. His goals are interesting, as its nothing huge, he just wants to cause carnage. Although they do this really weird thing where they try to make it like Cletus was after Eddie because he wants something from him at the end of the movie that I won’t say because I don’t want to spoil to much, but it’s weird and I don’t think it’s earned. Cletus is where a lot of the interesting bits of the movie come, including a sequence that tells the audience (and Eddie) his backstory which gets really creative. Carnage is a kind of interesting character in this film, as it had similar goals to Cletus, but things fall apart a bit once we get later into the movie. It’s kind of interesting how it starts off like the comics where they’re together, but it ends a bit differently from the comics. Outside of that Carnage is badass throughout the movie and really sets itself apart from Riot in terms of character and abilities. He really makes use of the symbiote tendrils and weapon making throughout the movie and shows how powerful Carnage is. 

Anne and Shriek are both good characters and have good performances. Shriek brings some interesting fun as she introduces human superpowers to this universe. He has a super scream, which makes her relationship with Cletus/Carnage interesting as sonics are a weakness to symbiotes. Which is where things start breaking down between Cletus and Carnage. It’s interesting how the movie portrays her and Cletus’ relationship as actual love vs the way it is in the comics. Anne is interesting in this movie as she serves as one of the reasons Eddie and Venom break up, but also serves as a reason for their reuniting. She stays as a fun character throughout the movie. 

The other characters all have good performances and some good moments, but don’t have much affect on the film other than offering some chances for more comedy. 

The film looks pretty good, it does some interesting things throughout. I’ve never seen an Andy Serkis directed film, but he did an interesting job with this movie. He definitely brings an interesting feel to the movie. 

The film has pretty good pacing, I actually feel it could have used a bit more time to give us a bit more with the characters.

The effects are all really good and look great, same with the action. The action is well done, and I think that is because there’s only a couple action scenes before the finale fight, and that is the only time Venom and Carnage fight throughout the movie. They do a really good job of differentiating Carnage from Riot, and Carnage looks so much better than Riot did. 

I have a bunch of issues with the movie, but to summarize them I feel like the movie tries to do stuff with Cletus that doesn’t work, and could have used more time to fix the issues it has. I mean one of the funniest parts of the movie to me is at the beginning of the movie where they try to make the audience believe that Woody Harrelson is at least a teen in 1996. It embraces the silliness for good and for bad. One thing I’ve heard it described as is a 90s marvel comic for good and for bad, it’s a pretty apt description. 

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the silliness, because I do. The movie knows it’s a B-Movie and relishes in that. I kind of want more like it, to add a bit more difference in the current super-hero movie renaissance we’ve been in. It does feel like an early 2000s movie though, maybe that’s nostalgia talking as someone who are up during that time. 

Over-all I had a great time with this movie. It’s not a great film from a critical standpoint, but it’s a bunch of fun and wild ride. Two Thumbs up! Watch this movie when you can.