Critics say Dune film will thrill ardent fans, bore others

LOS ANGELES The much-anticipated movie remake of sci-fi epic Dune has won praise from critics for its stunning visual spectacle, though some of the initial reviews said only the most hardcore fans would enjoy the storytelling.

Dune premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Friday and will hit cinemas here on Sept 16.

The movie is adapted from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel about an intergalactic battle to control a precious resource.

The book was made into a panned 1984 film directed by David Lynch. Fans hoped that the new version from Denis Villeneuve would capture more of the spirit of Herbert's work.

Starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, the film "earns five stars for world-building and about two-and-a-half for storytelling", said Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman.

"It's not just that the story loses its pulse. It loses any sense that we're emotionally invested in it."

However, 85 per cent of 34 reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website were labelled positive.

Some predicted that the movie would compete for Oscars in cinematography and other technical categories.

Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph called it "science fiction at its most majestic, unsettling and enveloping" and Xan Brooks of The Guardian lauded the film as "blockbuster cinema at its dizzying, dazzling best".

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter also said the "arcane" details might delight "Herbert geeks, but will have most everyone else zoning out".

"It doesn't quash the frequent claim that the book is unfilmable," he added.

"At least not in part one of what is being billed as a two-part saga."