Momoa Dune

I don’t like sand.  It’s all coarse and rough and irritating.  And it gets everywhere.

We have yet to see anyone get a live-action Dune to be exciting yet, and a new San Diego Comic-Con 2021 trailer for the new Denis Villeneuve movie doesn’t give us much hope it will happen anytime soon.  One of the reasons Star Wars was so successful was that George Lucas cast relative unknowns in his leading roles, and the new trailer for Dune reveals why that was a good thing.  It’s not Frank Herbert’s characters jumping off the screen but familiar faces that stand out, like Aquaman Jason Momoa and his trademark comedy one-liners, Galaxy Guardian Dave Bautista, Star Warrior Apocalyptic Oscar Isaac, Spider-friend Zendaya, and Thanos himself Josh Brolin.  (Were there only superhero movies to cast from?)  The images in this week’s trailer for Dune, the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sand… er… spice planet world, could easily be spliced from the wide-angle, sparse landscapes of Villeneuve’s recent Blade Runner 2049.  He also is conjuring bits of cinema’s sandy sci-fi heritage, like George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, and you may even recognize shots straight out of the Star Wars J.J. Abrams movies (and the prequels), Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Chronicles of Riddick, and John Carter of Mars.  You’ll see a lot going on in this trailer, which inexplicably adapts only the first part of Herbert’s novel.  But is there anything new to get audiences back in the theater?

Bautista Dune

The Chronicles of Riddick, John Carter of Mars, and Mad Max: Fury Road all seem to have had bigger production budgets.  Unless Warner Bros. is holding everything back in this trailer, the movie appears to have a very spartan look.  Villeneuve, who made the stupefying statement, “In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults” seems to be hanging his hat on young actor Timothée Chalamet, conjuring the vibe of Peter Parker and Frodo Baggins, instead of the mild-mannered confidence of a young Kyle MacLachlan.  Meanwhile Mission: Impossible series’ regular Rebecca Ferguson as one of the few women in the trailer seems lost in the background.  It definitely doesn’t look like George Lucas’s Star Wars although Villeneuve seems to be trying hard to copy Lucas’s world, as several scenes replicate shots from Disney’s most recent Star Wars efforts, especially in the clips of the hangar, and the impossibly giant army and ships, and the CGI couldn’t look more like Lucas’s prequels.

If the cast members above aren’t enough for you from the land of superheroes, just wait–the movie also stars MCU scientist Stellan Skarsgard, and Ant-pal David Dastmalchian.

Here’s the SDCC 2021 trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune:

How do you release a Dune movie that only covers the first part of the novel?  We’re still scratching our heads.  Warner Bros. has Dune targeted for a October 22, 2021, theatrical release, but this looks like one to watch on alternate distribution channel HBO Max instead.

C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg