Ironically, for all it has given to modern sci-fi and epic storytelling, it has come to the point where Dune is better known for the spawns of its legacy than itself. From the 1984 film which ultimately failed to kickstart a series, to the mega-franchise it inadvertently sparked with Star Wars, Frank Herbert’s masterpiece has seen much struggle in being placed on the sci-fi throne it so deserves.
Now, 37 years after its first, still iconic, big-screen attempt, Dune will finally return to cinemas. And this time, the scale of it alone seems to be doing the novel justice.
Admittedly, we’ve only seen slightly less than 30 minutes worth of footage. Amongst the massive cast, only a few have been seen in action—Timothée Chalamet, Oscar isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Sharon Duncan Brewster, and a smidge of Jason Momoa (though he seems to be doing more acting in this one minute of footage than he has in the last decade).
Unsurprisingly, Zendaya’s Chani is scarce, certainly a treat reserved for viewers when the movie finally arrives.
While the visually stunning footage might still seem somewhat contextless to anyone unfamiliar with the novel(s), it is still enough to capture the raw intensity of the universe, painfully reminding us all of what the Star Wars Prequel Trilogycould have been.
Of course, this take on Dune itself seems to have been the unique result of director Denis Villeneuve’s journey through the likes of Arrival and Blade Runner—two films which he credits for preparing him for the gargantuan task of directing Dune. And it seems to have paid off.
And no visual feast means much without a suitable audio track to back it. Denis Villeneuve’s only real consideration was Hans Zimmer, who immediately impresses with a score hearkening back to the magic of Pirates of the Caribbean. And that’s just from the glimpses of score we’ve heard.
In all, Dune’s already proving to be the adaptation we’ve long-awaited. And if the rest of the film is anything like the preview we’ve seen, it may be the best adaptation since The Lord of the Rings.