Do you miss Game of Thrones (when it was good)? Do you miss Star Wars? Do you have no idea what the F*** Dune is? Well gather around because we have some stuff to talk to about!
What is it?: Dune is the OG sci-fi story written by author Frank Herbert and published back in 1965. It follows the young Paul of House Atreides (yes, there’s some house drama in this as well) as he and his family are relocated to the desert planet of Arrakis to oversee the mining efforts of an invaluable commodity known as the spice melange.
The issue? This planet is DRY, infested with giant sand-worms that guard the spice deposits, inhabited by a (potentially?) hostile warrior civilization known as the Freman, and oh, yes, the whole thing is likely a plot to have Paul and his family killed. Yes, this s*** is a setup.
What seems like a spoiler for the book is actually just a very basic layout of where the story picks up. In truth the over 800 page novel is so much more than that. It dives into mysticism, environmentalism, politics, and even spiritual belief.
But It Sound Familiar…: Does the name Dune ring a bell? The truth is this isn’t the first time at the adaptation-rodeo for the story. Back in 1984, about a year after the release of The Last Jedi, Director David Lynch made a version for the big screen. It was, well, not good.
To his defense, the book is not only dense but it is one of those science fiction novels that trusts that the reader is here for the real deal. By that I mean there is little hand-holding as you’re thrust into the world. From the get-go you’re submerged into the tense air that surrounds the Atreides family and thrown into the rules and world laws that Herbert created.
So much of the story is introspective from the POV of Paul, and that is certainly not the easiest thing to adapt to a visual medium. Personally, the 80’s aesthetic of the movie is too much for me to handle so I have never been able to fully get through the film myself. Strongly recommend diving into the novel though.
The Villains: Now, back to the plot for a moment. Who exactly is trying to kill the Atreides family? This is a little more socio-politically complicated and I won’t ruin the book if you choose to dive. What I WILL say is that a very active party in the book is the rival family, the House Harkonnen. They are lead by what I can only describe as, um, a rated-R version of the devil from Cow and Chicken; the Baron Vladamir Harkonnen is a really fat gay incestuous rapist who has an ego that is difficult to rival. Despite how terrible he is, he is mesmerizing to read when it comes to how demented he is.
The Film: Off the bat, the new film has the benefit going for itself that the 800 page novel will be divided into two movies. Alright! As mentioned already the book has a vast world and has a lot of introspective elements so time to explore and flesh that out is key.
The two films are also in fairly good hands with director Denis Villeneuve. For those unsure, he directed Blade Runner 2049 and 2015’s Sicario. So, he certainly has some good mainstream films on his hands. Aside from that on his list is a Canadian film titled Incendies, which I won’t go into too much detail about but, it is a great film that depicts Villenueve’s ability to rely on actors expressions, camera work, and silence to tell a story effectively without the need for dialogue; something that might be useful for a story like this.
The Cast: This film is loaded with some serious names. Timothee Chalamet will be taking on the role of Paul (eh, it’s fine). He will be joined by big stars such as Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, and Zendaya to a name some. With such a big-name cast you can tell the film is a big deal, and hopefully the first trailer will deliver something to get excited about.
As of RIGHT NOW, there is no word on changing the release date of the film from its December 18, 2020 slot due to COVID-19. We will continue to monitor, but we should be braced for that very real possibility.