“Ambitious” doesn’t even begin to describe Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, in terms of scale and scope. Where many have failed to adapt the original Frank Herbert novel, earning it a reputation for being “unfilmable”, the director behind Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049 is pulling out all the stops. And by all accounts, the only real obstacle Dune has faced thus far is having to change its release date practically every other month.
Dune’s plot isn’t exactly the easiest to summarise due to its complex in-story universe, which is partially why it has the looming cloud of being “unfilmable” hanging over its head.
Set in the distant future, Duke Leto Atreides of House Atreides (portrayed by Oscar Isaac) is charged with supervising the hostile desert planet Arrakis – otherwise known as the titular Dune. In a tale that has become all-too-familiar in both fiction and reality, the reason for this occupation is because of its resources. Arrakis holds the sole reserve of the universe’s most valuable substance: spice. Essentially, it’s a drug which can extend human life, enable superhuman levels of thought, as well as make foldspace travel possible (travelling faster than the speed of light).
As you can imagine, the prospect of obtaining something this valuable involves a good measure of politics and more than its fair share of threats. But despite sensing they may be walking directly into a trap, Duke Leto decides the opportunity is simply too great to ignore. So he takes his concubine Lady Jessica (portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson), son/heir of House Atreides Paul (portrayed by Timothee Chalamet), and trusted advisors to Arrakis. That’s when everything soon descends into chaos.
In addition to Isaac, Ferguson, and Chalamet, Dune will star Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck – House Atreides’ weapons master, mentor to Paul; Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho – House Atreides’ swordmaster, also a mentor to Paul; Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen – the man formerly charged with supervising Arrakis, sworn enemy of Leto; Dave Bautista as Glossu Rabban – Baron Harkonnen’s nephew, the physical type of adversary given how Bautista isn’t exactly Daniel Day-Lewis; Zendaya as Chani – Paul’s mysterious native Arrakis love interest; and Javier Bardem as Stilgar – leader of the Arakis tribe.
Dune has been adapted for screens by Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange, Passengers), and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Insider, A Star Is Born). The cinematography has been accomplished by Greig Fraser – who you will have encountered in Zero Dark Thirty, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and soon enough in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Finally, Hans Zimmer has composed the rousing and tension-building tracks. Fun bonus fact – Zimmer turned down Tenet for this gig.
Dune directed by Denis Villeneuve now has a release date of October 21st for Aussie cinemas – watch the new trailer above.