If, like me, you woke up this morning and, before anything else, opened your computer to watch the first full-length trailer for the forthcoming remake of Dune, then I’d say you’re also experiencing cinema withdrawals. I hope you feel seen, for you are not alone. But also, this goes far deeper than a yearning for a return to a fulsome calendar of theatrical releases that we might again experience in a post-COVID world (and, disclaimer: I saw Tenet at cinemas last week, my first movie in the hallowed dark room since February), for this is Dune we’re talking about. Remake of the much maligned (yet canonical) David Lynch film of 1984, with the masterful Denis Villeneuve at the helm, and fronted by youthful powerhouses Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet.
We have assumed since news of its filming first broke that this would be nothing less than epic, and when it is released in December this year, it will be (along with Tenet and No Time To Die) one of those marquee moments that film studios hope will entice viewers back into cinemas and restore much needed value to the institution. So, what do we know?
Well, some say Dune is one of those films that you need to have read the Frank Herbert novel (at 400+ pages, it’s no light novella) to full appreciate, given the complexity of the relationships and political structure, but Villeneuve is wise enough to know that most won’t have, and if the trailer is anything to go by, he’s not willing to punish viewers for it. It’s impossible to calculate whether he’s buried a lot of that lore, or whether he’s just telling it in a clearer or more simplified way, but there seems to be some quite poignant lines that act as signposts for us uneducated audience members: “Fear is the mind-killer”, “There is a crusade coming”, and so on.
But enough about plot. It’s an intellectual film, sure, but there’s none of Villeneuve’s immense visual mastery missing in this trailer. From the mesmeric Hans Zimmer score to the lavish costuming to Oscar Isaac’s thick salt-and-pepper beard, as well as immense battle scenes that hint at a Star Wars-esque approach to landscape cinematography, there seems to be two ways to enjoy this film, and whether you lean-in or lean-back, the trailer promises we’ll be talking about it for months to come. Watch the Dune trailer here: