Dune preview: the first part of Denis Villeneuve’s saga is surprisingly accessible

This initial spoiler-free preview of Dune comes from the film’s world premiere at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival. Dune It will be released in US theaters on October 22. Stay tuned for a full review closer to the movie’s premiere.

DuneDenis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal 1965 novel that was once deemed unfilmable has finally made its way to the screen after a long and arduous journey. With expectations skyrocketing, concerns that the film will only adapt half the story (the on-screen title is Dune: Part One), and a dense and complex mythology to rival the biggest franchises in pop culture, Dune has the potential to be a colossal disaster, or simply whatever fills the void left by The mandalorian and game of Thrones. We’ve seen the movie, and ahead of our official review, here’s a spoiler-free preview of what to expect from Villeneuve. DuneWhether you’re familiar with the Herbert myths or just looking for the next great space opera.

Dune takes place in the distant future, at a time when the known galaxy is ruled by a feudal system of great houses, all of which answer to an emperor. The film follows the young nobleman Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as his family becomes the new stewards of the planet Arrakis, source of the most important substance in the universe: the mixture of spices, which prolongs human life, grants enhanced capabilities and is feed faster. travel that light. But when House Atreides is attacked, Paul has to wander the unforgiving and dangerous deserts of Arrakis and seek the help of the planet’s native population, the Fremen nomads.

See also  These smart glasses come with these features including camera, mic and speaker, know how much is the price

With 14 books that tell an epic story spanning hundreds of characters across millennia, the Dune The novel series is a daunting property to commit to. But the opening film is surprisingly accessible, even to viewers who haven’t read any of Herbert’s work, especially compared to David Lynch’s 1984 film that adapts the same material. Of course, it helps to be familiar with some of the details of the setting and the terminology included, or to know the houses and characters in advance, so you can remember who is who.

Oscar Isaac in Dune 2021

Photo: Warner Bros.

But the script (by Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts, and Eric Roth) does an impressive job of explaining how the world works. There is one exception: because the story is largely based on Arabic history, culture, and imagery, there are many terms that can be a bit difficult to understand without subtitles, especially when spoken by different non-MENA actors. with highly variable accents.

The first act of the film feels more like the premiere of game of Thrones that the opening act of Star Wars. Dune it does not follow the traditional call to adventure that we have seen in the travels of many heroes; instead, he focuses on building his whole and establishing the political state of the known universe first. There is a feeling that what we are seeing is just the last page of a chapter that began centuries ago, in a story that has been going on for millennia. It may seem overwhelming, but the film is admirably selective about the details, and comprehensive enough to allow audiences to follow the story, but not so much that it can lecture on the inner workings of the Atreides’ ancestral home. Caladan.

With so much tradition and history to present, it is almost a miracle that Dune does not use much exposure. Even avoid the Trope “as you know”, where the characters discuss things that they are already aware of. Much of the information repositories come in the form of short documentaries that Paul Atreides watches to learn about Arrakis before traveling there, as a kind of Wikipedia entry for the planet. When Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica (ReminiscenceRebecca Ferguson) tells Paul about the key social role of his organization, the Bene Gesserit, it is really new information to him, due to how secretive the Bene Gesserit are. Similarly, much of the information the film explains to the audience is a hidden tradition that the characters are learning along with the audience, which helps to make Dune feels like an inhabited universe, just like the original Star Wars let viewers discover the story alongside Luke Skywalker.

But Villeneuve’s version of Herbert’s material spends as much time catering to longtime fans who want to see their favorite scenes or characters come to life. The French-Canadian director has the same eye for unique sci-fi imagery that he brought to Blade Runner 2049 and Arrivaland apply it to the sand dunes of Arrakis. He spends a great deal of time establishing shots of large alien landscapes and intricate palaces, working to create each new world in Dune looks and feels like nothing we’ve ever seen on screen before.

Timothée Chalamet wanders the dunes of Dune

Photo: Warner Bros.

Like Hans Zimmer said he was committed to making the film. sound alien, Villeneuve makes sure Dune looks good too. Spaceships are huge and round in ways that go beyond conventional physics. (Some of the spaceships look more like Apple Store designs than any plane that could fly in real-world space.) The geometric designs of the cities and the costumes make each planet look different and recognizable, beyond simply being “the planet of ice” or “The planet of the desert.”

Those familiar with the books or the Lynch adaptation may be intrigued to see that Villeneuve’s book Dune attaches greater importance to the people of Arrakis, turning them into more than just tools and cannon fodder. Lynch’s version of the film in the 1980s begins with the narration of Princess Irulan, a Bene Gesserit historian, explaining how important the spice is and why it is so coveted. But Villeneuve, instead, has the Fremen warrior Chani (Zendaya) talking about the people of Arrakis and how they are being subjugated.

Likewise, the film spends a significant amount of time questioning the idea of ​​a Messiah, not as a title, but in the way that the very idea of ​​a chosen one can influence changes in a society. For better or for worse, the story’s Arab influences hint at a very different kind of hero journey than Westerners are used to seeing, even if the film’s cast indicates a half-hearted understanding and appreciation of those cultural influences.

The last line of the film is “This is the beginning” and see Dune: Part OneWith its grandiose imagery and focus on larger societies and nations rather than an individual hero, it’s easy to hope this is a prophecy that comes true. Against all odds, Villeneuve’s film lives up not only to the reputation of its source material, but also to the reputation it has built as one of our best directors in the genre. At last, the spice will flow.