Partway through the just-released trailer for Dune, Timothée Chalamet’s ‘Paul’ assures himself “I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer.” Yet from the very first shot, the actor’s face is contorted with anguish and fear. The tension builds immediately.
Over the past few years, we have seen Chalamet as a pining Italian teenager, as a mysterious floppy-haired edgy boyfriend, a reluctant king and a doting best friend. But never have we seen him upfront on a big-budget sci-fi blockbuster. As he steps into the shoes of the warfare-trained heir of the House of Atreides, Chalamet dauntingly finds himself worlds away from the largely independent films he made his breakthrough on.
However, if Dune’s trailer is anything to go by, the change in direction looks set to be immensely successful. There’s no doubt that director Denis Villeneuve holds the reins tightly when it comes to sci-fi right now. With Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 under his belt, there’s a lot of promise for fans of the 1965 book who are concerned about another adaptation of the beloved novel that can’t quite grapple with it correctly.
Villeneuve, however, has expressed an ambition to create the film for a long time, and a demand to split it across two films to properly do it justice. With a star-studded cast from Oscar Isaac to Jason Momoa to Zendaya under his wing, his ambition finds itself soaring high.
The trailer introduces audiences to Arrakis and its sandworms stunningly. It’s a mission in striking, quickfire images of expansive landscapes – working with Lion’s cinematographer Greig Fraser, it’s perhaps no surprise that the trailer is gorgeously rich in that sense.
The score seems just as gorgeous too, with Hans Zimmer choosing to compose Dune over Christopher Nolan’s latest, Tenet – again due to a lifelong love for the book. The trailer is set to a dark, orchestral arrangement of Pink Floyd’s ‘Eclipse’ that is more than enough to leave you breathless with anticipation.
Arguably, part of the excitement around Dune comes from a long-hiatus from new, exciting trailers and the possibility of a cinema trip being out of reach for so long. As we ease back into being able to head to Cineworld or Vue once again, the prospect of every film seems that little bit more exciting. For one of the first big sci-fi blockbusters since the pandemic, Dune seems a strong lead – from the trailer, it’s one many will be flocking to see, me included.
Dune is released in cinemas on 18th December 2020.