PREVIEW: DUNE

Dune is the newest film from Denis Villeneuve, known for Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, and Prisoners. Villeneuve is known for partnering with skilled cinematographers and populating his film with impressive visuals and sound. Judging from the trailers, it seems that Dune continues this trend. 

The film follows Paul, the son of Duke Leto Atreides. House Atreides gains control of the planet Arrakis, which is abundant in spice, the most valuable resource in the Dune universe. Tensions rise when House Harkonnen, the previous stewards of Arrakis, hears of Leto’s recent acquisition, and the situation only escalates when the Duke attempts to reach out to the Fremen, the native people of Arrakis. 

I have read the first two Dune novels in anticipation of the film. Dune is a six-book series by Frank Herbert, with the first book having been published in 1965. When reading the books now, it is evident that they were written in the 60s and perhaps more progressive for the time. However there are still lingering white savior-esque tones that underlie the Middle Eastern influences on the world building and the interactions between the Atreides and the Fremen. Furthermore, I am unimpressed with the treatment of the few female characters thus far. And while I do have faith in Villeneuve in updating the source material, I simply have never found Paul to be a particularly exciting character. In the novels, he is more so defined by the fact he suddenly becomes capable of anything and everything rather than having any sort of personality.

Ultimately, Denis Villeneuve is one of my favorite directors, and from recent interviews, it is clear that he cares very deeply for this project, encouraging audiences to see the film in theaters and contribute to the cultural experience of going to a movie theater. And although I am not the biggest fan of the source material, I am above all excited to see another film from Villeneuve and to see what he does with Dune to make it his.

Nellie Shih

Nellie is an architecture student with a love of film and visual art. Her favorite film is The Farewell and she spends her free time waiting for the next season of Succession.

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