I am a huge fan of David Lynch’s arguably flawed adaptation of Frank Herbert’s remarkable novel Dune. Despite the problems with story compression, omissions, and a director who had no particular interest in science fiction, the film has a look and feel that is all its own, a strange futuristic Industrial Revolution vibe that I suppose might be called steampunk. Perhaps Lynch’s disinterest in making a science fiction movie worked to the film’s advantage. Director Denis Villeneuve has bravely taken up the task of creating a new Dune movie (I never have seen the miniseries from 2000), and Vanity Fair has a few early looks at the characters.

Josh Brolin as the warrior poet Gurney Halleck, Rebecca Ferguson as the bound concubine and Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica Atreides, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides
Josh Brolin as the warrior poet Gurney Halleck, Rebecca Ferguson as the bound concubine and Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica Atreides, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides
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Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes. In the book, Kynes was a white dude, played by Max von Sydow. The new film works to expand the roles of women.
Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes. In the book, Kynes was a white dude, played by Max von Sydow. The new film works to expand the roles of women.
House Atreides. Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides is third from left, standing next to Mentat Master of Assassins Thufir Hawat, played by Stephen Mckinley Henderson.
House Atreides. Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides is third from left, standing next to Mentat Master of Assassins Thufir Hawat, played by Stephen Mckinley Henderson.
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Granted, these are a minuscule sampling of what Villeneuve’s film will present, but here I see characters and costumes that would be at home in any science fiction film ever made. Nothing looks particularly unique or interesting. Looking at the shots of Halleck and Duke Leto, I suppose they were going for a futuristic suit of armor to reflect a Medieval feudalism. Okay, I get that, but I’m still not impressed. It looks like Excalibur in space. I desperately hope this will be as faithful an adaptation as possible, a tall order for such a deeply complex story.

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