TL;DR – A cinematic work of genius and masterclass in literary adaptation
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Dune Review –
Few films have filled me full of trepidation and promise, like the prospect of another Dune film. Dune is a book series that means a lot to me, and the miniseries fits in as one of those foundational moments where you discover the joys of filmmaking. Add to this the spectacular run of films from Denis Villeneuve from Sicario, Arrival & Blade Runner 2049, one of which was my top movie in 2016. Look, this is a long way of saying I came into this with very high expectations, and can I say that this film exceeded all of them.
So to set the scene, in an empire that spans the galaxy, the most valuable commodity is The Spice Melange. It extends life, allows intergalactic travel, and can only be found on one planet in the entire galaxy: Arrakis, Dune. The brutal House Harkonnen runs Dune, though its cruel Barron (Stellan Skarsgård) and his nephew Glossu Rabban (Dave Bautista), commonly called “Beast Rabban”. But their time running Arrakis is up, as the Emperor has decreed that House Harkonnen’s mortal Enemies House Atreides, led by Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), manages the planet. All is well, but Leto is fearful for him, his son Paul (Timothée Chalamet) and consort Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Because while this is a great opportunity, it could also be a trap.
TL;DR – Bombastic, silly, overly long, but still by far some of the best fun DC has made so far.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
To say that the DC Expanded Universe has had a rough launch up to this point would be a bit of an understatement. Indeed, of all the past films, only Wonder Woman (see review) felt like a coherent film in any great sense. So, more than ever, the first film after Justice League had to hit the ground running, even more so after background conversations that the expanded universe was losing a lot of its big-name talent. Now while Aquaman is not a perfect film, it is a film with a lot of style, and more than most of the films that have come before it was just fun.
TL;DR – Is it as good as Wonder Woman, no not by a long shot, but it is also not the steaming mess like the last two films, so there has been some improvement here.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
P.S. – There is a mid and end credit scene.
Ok before we start I need to say that this is actually a very hard film to review because while it shouldn’t matter, you can’t avoid not looking into the issues this film had in pre-production. Firstly, you have the disastrous reaction to both Batman v Superman (see review) and Suicide Squad (see review) hitting after production had already started, and you can see the course correction that they tried to make here. But also during production Zach Snyder’s family suffered a great tragedy and he stepped aside which meant that the reshoots and final edit was completed by Joss Whedon. So it is hard to work out where to direct criticism, but also you don’t want to heap stuff on someone who has suffered greatly. So will all this groundwork I will try my best to be objective here but you can’t help but bring outside stuff into this.