After months – and in some cases years – of anticipation, the trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s space epic “Dune” has finally arrived. The sleeper has awakened, and he’s brought plenty of excitement with him.
Based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel, “Dune” is no stranger to the screen, but its film and TV adaptations have never garnered the same revered acclaim as Herbert’s sacred text. After three minutes and four seconds of footage, it’s clear that Villeneuve will be the one to change that.
The trailer starts with Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, as he has visions of Zendaya’s Chani on Arrakis. The visions lay the foundation for a future that will be linked in the adventures soon to come. The trailer then transitions to Paul and the Reverend Mother (Charlotte Rampling), where she is administering the gom jabbar test featured in August’s teaser. As her voiceover describes the challenges Paul will face as a ruler, we’re treated to stunning on-location shots of the desert and other sprawling landscapes, as well as our first look at the shields used by the Atreides during combat. Shots of the Harkonnen army, Sardaukar soldiers, and a brief glimpse of Stellan Skarsgård’s evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen follow. Finally, as the trailer builds, we get what we’ve all been waiting for – the massive sand worms of Arrakis.
If the stunning footage featured in the trailer wasn’t enough to convince you that “Dune” is in good hand’s with Villeneuve, maybe his track record will drive the message home. Throughout the 2010s, no filmmaker was more impressive than Villeneuve. Ten years, six films, zero misses. For the first half of the decade, Villeneuve remained earth-bound, delivering incredible features like “Incendies,” “Prisoners,” “Enemy” and “Sicario.” Those alone can prove his talent as a filmmaker, but his work in science fiction, earning a Best Director Oscar nomination in 2017 for “Arrival” and being robbed of another a year later with “Blade Runner 2049” are what makes the “Dune” hype even more warranted.
“Dune” features a star-studded cast including Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Zendaya as Chani, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, Javier Bardem as Stilgar and Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. The cast also features Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, David Dastmalchian, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Chen Chang.
Now, all that’s left to do is wait, and hope that “Dune” stays put for its holiday release and doesn’t fall victim to any coronavirus-related delays.
“Dune” is set to hit theaters December 18, 2020.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.