The trailer for the long anticipated Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation of the beloved sci-fi novel, “Dune” was unveiled this week. Besides getting a talented cast, fans are wondering if the film will be able to adapt the immense plot from the source which was released 55 years ago.
Unless you’re a fan of the book series or have seen David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation, you won’t know what’s going on or what to expect. As a general viewer, it might remind you of other sci-fi movies like “Star Wars” or “Blade Runner 2049”. However, Dune’s complex universe and dense plot makes it a film worth to keep an eye on.
Before going any further, this article might contain little spoilers but no major ones, you have been warned. Here are 8 things we can learn from the trailer:
1. The kissing scene is likely a dream sequence
The trailer starts off with some passionate moment between Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), Dune’s main protagonist and Chani (Zendaya), warrior of the Fremen (inhabitants of the desert planet, Arrakis).
It all out turns out to be a prescient dream. Our hero wakes up in Caladan, his home planet, when he has not been to the desert planet yet. We learn that Paul can dream of the future as this was before the pair met in Arrakis.
The relationship between Paul and Chani develops in the latter half of the novel. Due to the massive plot of Dune, the director is only adapting half of the source in the movie. There could be a planned sequel but it could be interesting on how major Zendaya’s role will be in this film.
2. The box of pain
The chilling lady in the trailer testing Paul Atreides is Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling), the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit. The test is simple, he has to keep his hand inside a pain-inducing box while she holds a Gom Jabbar (a poisoned needle) by his neck. If he follows his instinct and remove his hand from the box, she would pierce his neck, killing him instantly.
For those who haven’t read the book, the Gom Jabbar ‘Test of Humanity’ is to determine if the person’s awareness is stronger than his instincts. It is usually intended for the members of Bene Gesserit, an all-female group that aims to influence humanity to an enlightened path, but there is a reason why Paul Atreides is being tested.
3. Ocean sighting
Dune, another name for Arrakis (the main planet where the story takes place), is actually scarce with water. The scene where we see Chalamet strolling by the beach is on a different planet, Caladan, home of House Atreides. Unlike Arrakis, this planet rains a lot and is rich with water and plants. It has a verdant landscape and it’s where Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), reigns.
Nonetheless, Leto and his family have been ordered by the emperor to move and take control of Dune. The flying ships we can see in the background during this scene are basically interstellar freights transporting their items to their new home.
4. The Holtzman shield is visually stunning and improved
When Paul Atreides is training with Atreides man-at-arms, Gurney Hellen (Josh Brolin), we caught a first glimpse on how the Holtzman shield looks. The jittery holograph effects during the spar that got some viewers confused at first, are actually personal shields commonly used in combat around the Dune universe.
The previous adaptation didn’t have a good and accurate depiction of the shields. It takes form of transparent orange boxes as personal force-fields. But, that was probably the best effects they could pull during the 80’s. Nonetheless, the shields definitely feel closer to home in the upcoming film.
5. Jason Momoa will play a badass
When the family arrives in Arrakis for the first time, we can see Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) excitedly saying, “Ah, my boy!” before rushing to Paul and lifting him up. Momoa’s character is a loyal swordsman of House Atreides.
Idaho is one of the most skilled blade user in the Universe. He is described in the book as dashingly handsome and a lethal one-man army. Later on in the trailer, we get a scene where he easily fights through the threat. We hope to see more of Momoa carving up soldiers with twin swords. Maybe it’s not so bad that he trimmed his beard for this role.
6. The villains
The main antagonist is Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), Head of House Harkonnen, who can only be seen in two brief unclear shots. Without revealing too much, he is practically the sworn enemy of House Atreides. The only line that we get to hear from him is “Kill them all,” which pretty much sums up his character.
Furthermore, Harkonnen’s ground forces are the Stormtrooper of this franchise and they are led by Glossu ‘The Beast’ Rabban (Dave Bautista). The differences are, they dress in black instead of white, and they show off their bald heads. The Beast is the eldest nephew of Baron Harkonnen and he definitely got that nickname for a reason.
7. One of the character is gender-swapped
We can see Dr. Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) in the trailer, however, the character is now played by a female. Dr. Kynes is a male in the actual novel but Villeneuve has decided to switch things up in his adaptation.
The character has an eco-friendly mindset who wants a more habitable and greener Arrakis. The actor said, “I don’t think it matters that Kynes, in the book, is a man. What’s important is what Kynes stands for.”
8. The gigantic sandworms look excitingly horrifying
The cherry on top are the enormous sandworms in the trailer. Halfway through the trailer, there was a brief shot of the creature devouring a spice plant, but at the end we get a clearer look at the size of it.
The sandworm at the end is the money-shot of this trailer. It proves that the scale of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is incomparable. His depiction of these predators are the closest to the original concept art.
These terrifying and immense creatures, also known as Shai-Hulud by the Fremen, roams the desert of Dune and devours anything in it’s path. It moves by tunnelling underground and is attracted to anything that vibrates above the surface.
Watch the trailer here:
“Dune” is set to hit the big screens on 18th December 2020.