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10/14/2020 • 4 min read
Of all the 2020 movies that ended up not being 2020 releases (oh, this wild, wild year), none are more curious and intriguing than Denis Villeneuve’s secretive adaptation of Frank Herbert’s DUNE. Even with the first DUNE trailer out in the wild, we only know a little bit about this new take on Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel about warring clans, a centuries-old prophecy, and the rare spice that literally drives the universe.
All of which means that DUNE is a movie that has raised a lot of expectations, whether with fans of Herbert’s original books, lovers of David Lynch’s bizarre and beautiful 1984 movie adaptation, or fervent followers of stars Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Oscar Isaac. Luckily, it looks like the movie has a good shot at meeting and even surpassing them. Here are five reasons we can't wait to see DUNE.
Science fiction tales don't get much more complex than Frank Herbert’s DUNE. Palace intrigue! Warring families! Giant alien worms! Psychic powers! The first book has an entire STAR WARS trilogy worth of world-building details — so much so that the novel comes with its own glossary. At its core, DUNE tells the story of a prince’s journey toward adulthood and power, but it has so much more to offer than that. The good news is that, despite some jargon, the story isn't difficult to follow; it's just very dense. No wonder it’s going to take two films just to adapt the first book.
Timothée Chalamet is great, and he plays the lead role: Paul Atreides, a Duke's son who is thrust into a mess of power dynamics and ancient plans when his family takes over the most important trade in the universe. He’s joined by quite a few other huge names. Oscar Issac (STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER), Jason Momoa (AQUAMAN), Josh Brolin (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), and Rebecca Ferguson (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT) all play members of the Atreides court, while Javier Bardem (also SKYFALL) and Zendaya (SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME) appear as Fremen — natives of the planet Arrakis, where Paul and his family make their new home. Finally, Dave Bautista (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) plays one of Paul's many new enemies… we could spend all day listing the ensemble players. That’s a lot of heavy-hitters bringing Herbert’s rich and detailed characters to life. The only way it could be better is to somehow bring back Sting, who appeared in the David Lynch film.
If you have any familiarity with DUNE, one question rules supreme when it comes to a new adaptation: What will the worms look like? These massive beasts live under the sands that cover the planet Arrakis, where almost all of the story's action takes place. They seem threatening at first, but they are the key to several important truths about the planet and the spice it produces. The giant sandworms of DUNE offer its prime bit of visual iconography, so it’s important they look great. We haven’t seen the movie yet, obviously, but we did see the trailer and the worms look cool, indeed. Giant and scary and majestic, just like they should be. The only problem? We didn’t see enough of them! There is so much amazing worm action on the way, and we cannot wait to see it.
At this point, a new Dennis Villeneuve film deserves anticipation even if it isn’t an epic adaptation of science fiction’s most beloved novels. Villeneuve utilizes a bold, austere visual style without sacrificing moving storytelling or gripping characters. The director of BLADE RUNNER: 2049, SICARIO, ARRIVAL, and ENEMY can make anything he wants, and we’d be pretty excited to see it. The fact that he wanted to adapt DUNE is all the more exciting.
Here’s the deal. The larger DUNE universe is wild. When we do finally get to see this new movie, that means we’re one step closer to seeing whatever they end up calling DUNE 2. Then there's also Villeneuve’s plan for a television exploration of one character set, called DUNE: THE SISTERHOOD, and hopefully several more movies. (Without going into any potential spoilers, one particular casting choice makes us think there is at least the idea to adapt more than just the first of Herbert's six novels set in this universe.) There is so much wild DUNE stuff out there, and we want to see it all.
All images courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.
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