It’s very interesting to hear this take. Of course I’m familiar with the Dune story and it is a complex one I wouldn’t call bland in the least. I don’t personally remember the overly expository scene you describe but I wonder if the movie maybe focuses its exposition in the wrong places. The story of Dune is one of political intrigue that is not a simple Hero’s Journey IMO. I do very much agree that, despite the actors all feeling like they are well cast and doing a good job, there is little emotional investment in the characters. They are just people doing things. I obviously liked it more than you. But it was still a lukewarm endorsement for me.