As well as recorded messages from director Villenueve, star Timothy Timothée Chalamet, and a brief interview between Villenueve and composer Hans Zimmer, the first ten minutes of the film were screened, along with another five-minute scene, and the new trailer.
First impressions are that this is what would expect a Villeneuve adaptation to look like; lots of wide-angle landscapes rendered in his trademark, slightly oppressive, desaturated monochromatic colour scheme of grey, pale blues and sandy golds. The future technology is a cross between iPad sleekness and retro switches and dials; all very utilitarian, unlike the imperial baroque of David Lynch’s 1984 film or Alejandro Jodorowsky’s (unrealised) psychedelic vision.
An impressively portentous prologue, like the new trailer, begins with Fremen Chani (Zendaya) in voiceover talking about how her desert home planet Arrakis was ravaged by the wicked Harkonen dynasty (with a quick glimpse of Dave Batista’s Glossu ‘The Beast’ Rabban), and suggests that the picture is going big on the ecological aspects of the novel.
The post-opening credits sequence has Chalamet’s Paul Atreides waking from a troubled sleep for breakfast with his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Fergusson). Contemporary-sounding dialogue makes this sound more like an exchange between a slightly terse suburban mum and her son than Lady and a royal scion, but the subsequent ‘voice’ exchange is genuinely unnerving.
A later five-minute sequence delivers the requisite tension and sense of awe, as Paul, along with his father Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), Duke’s right hand man Gurney (Josh Brolin), and Fremen guide Liet-Keyes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) stage an impromptu rescue mission of the crew of a tank-like spice harvester from giant Sandworms in their dragonfly-like ‘thopter ship.
The trailer, as well as giving away most of the plot, features a combination of most of the elements above along with tantalising glimpses of Stellan Skarsgård’s repugnant baddie Baron Harkonnen, holding forth as he floats around on his ‘suspensors’, and Javier Bardem’s Fremen leader, Stilgar. Hans Zimmer’s score, featuring soaring, wailing female vocals, redolent of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares conjures up the appropriate feeling of otherworldliness. Not sure about the bantz between Paul and Gurney though.
Dune is released October 22nd all being well.