Welcome to sci-fi succession as director Denis Villeneuve unleashes a new Dune (titled onscreen as Dune: Part One) (A). The futuristic plot centers on political intrigue surrounding a rare natural resource on a desert planet and a protagonist who, despite featherweight appearance, may indeed be a messianic super-being with the capacity to unite warring factions of the universe. Timothée Chalamet is the aforementioned nebbish who rises to the occasion in both his acting and action; he is quite magnetic in the lead role. There’s also a charming trio of more traditional movie stars – Jason Mamoa, Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin – present and accounted for in space scuffles of their own, and these guys bring great energy to their sequences. Rebecca Ferguson is also a highlight as the hero’s mother who teaches him the ways of a mythical magic. Absorbing from the get-go, the film overcomes some pacing awkwardness as it judiciously chronicles the first half of the book. The cinematography and effects are marvelous and fully transport viewers to this otherworld. There are rousing battles and intriguing revelations around every bend of the breathtaking planetary landscapes. The source material may be more than a half century old, but under the direction of a true visionary, this text certainly has some substantial spice left in it.