On Wednesday, Warner Bros. unveiled the first trailer for the highly anticipated big-budget adaption of Frank Herbert’s 1965 literary masterpiece Dune. With Director extraordinaire Denis Villenueve (Blade Runner 2049, Sicario) behind the camera, the latest adaptation of Herbert’s work is packaged with extremely high expectations and features key mainstays of the book: Spice, Sandworms and the two warring houses of House Atreides and House Harkonnen feuding over the resource-rich planet of Arrakis.
On one side we have Every teenage girl’s dream boyfriend Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides of The House Atreides. Paul is a young scion reluctantly preparing to inherit the throne of the planet Caladan from his father Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) one day. On the other side we have Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) and his brutish nephew Glossu “Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista in a perfectly cast role). If you haven’t read Herbert’s book, think Game of Thrones meets John Carter and you have an idea of what this movie will feel like (sorry Star Wars, just because it is in space doesn’t mean you have a controlling interest over it).
Dune’s trailer boasts a stellar cast; an eye-popping embarrassment of riches that only a source material like Dune and a director like Denis can court. Denis has proved himself as a big-budget director who can mine emotion out of scale with films like Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Even if Blade Runner 2049 wasn’t financially successful, that doesn’t mean it didn’t succeed as an incredibly dense, futuristic noir that I like better than the original.
On paper, and especially after feasting my eyes on that first trailer, it looks like Warner Bros. might just have another Lord of The Rings on their hands. The stories are quite different for each property, but I feel like Herbert is to sci-fi as Tolkien is to fantasy. And I think this combined with the talent in front of and behind the camera could lead to a film with a similar cultural effect that the Lord of The Rings films had almost 20 years ago. Warner Bros. has given Villenueve a massive budget and big stars to work with here, something that can work really well or can fall flat on its face. I believe the latter won’t happen here.
This trailer isn’t going to change your life, but it does further confirm my suspicions that this could be one of the best sci-fi films of the decade – and century – so far because of the incredible talent amassed. If anything, at least we get to see Jason Momoa at his most “Momoan” in the role of Duncan Idaho, the protector and famed swordsman of The House Atreides. This type of casting, the kind that fits the characters so colorfully illustrated by Herbert, is what has gotten me a little too excited for this film. Watching big movies on a big screen during the most heightened times of the year is one of my favorite things to do and this highly anticipated film’s first trailer made it clear that I can expect to receive a package of emotionally-driven scale and well thought out worldbuilding with stellar talent undergirding it all come Christmas season 2020.
Description: Thousands of years in the future, young Paul Atreides and his family relocate to the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the spice melange, the most important and valuable substance in the universe.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, and Jason Momoa
Rating: Not Yet Rated
Release Date: December 18, 2020
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Carter Bennett is a Contributor and Cohost at Cinematic Doctrine. He’s a ravenous cinephile who loves looking at the film industry through the lens of a Christian worldview. He never went to film school, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a certified Film Junkie! His ultimate desire is to faithfully give an account of his savior Jesus Christ through the world of filmmaking!