Denis Villeneuve adapts Frank Herbert’s novel into telling the coming of age story of a young intergalactic messiah. Tapping into world-building and tragedy as central characters of the film the director forays into presenting the first from a movie franchise. Dune 2021 has drawn very clear-cut similarities with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. The tonality, characters, and driving force behind the character scream of a dark knight that we all know of. In this article, we will dig into the plot and look into what inspired Dennis to create a simulacrum of Nolan’s Batman.
Plot of Dune 2021
Dune directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve released into theaters after years of hype and has performed considerably well. Dune 2021 is the first of a three-part series that establishes it as a franchise. The film stands as an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel, Dune published August 1965.
Set in the year 10,961; Dune revolves around Paul Atreides, who is the heir to the throne of the House of Atreides. But, the House of Atreides has their swords clashed politically against another clan, namely the Harkonnens. These houses are in a continuous struggle for power over the desert planet of Arrakis which grants the name Dune. The desert planet of Arrakis is home to the tribe called Fremen that live on the planet and have made the brutal environment their home. Arrakis is also home to the most coveted commodity in the universe called ‘Melange‘. ‘Melange‘ is the most expensive spice in Herbert’s Dune and also the sole currency used for commerce and travel. Paul arrives as a messiah to the planet Arrakis. In several turn of events throughout the story; Paul is led into a destiny that affects the fate of the entire galaxy
Fear As A Catalyst To Action
The film has jarring sequences of fear throughout the narrative. In Dune, Villeneuve has managed to inject fear and overcoming of it in most of the scenes. The moments of fear mainly the scene where Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) holds the Gom Jabbar to the neck of Paul Atreides to put a test to his fear and reaction to the pain. It is clearly visible Villeneuve has put a lot of thought and drama into this particular scene to be impactful.
The dark looming atmosphere in the scenes involving Bene Gesserit invokes suspense and a pause in the action. The scene which involves Vladimir Harkonen plays a crucial role to poke into the psyche of the viewer. The Baron’s unexplained levitating scene also comes as a sudden to the viewer. The symbolism of a serpent is very observable in his demeanor and further proven by his actions.
Later in the movie, a lethally poisoned Baron also clings to the ceiling in a room much to the horror of the men who find him.
Hans Zimmer scored in a fashion that added to the ominous nature. The team assimilated scraped metal to give sound to certain scenes of the Dune 2021. This format of music has added gravity and has helped incorporate an insidious element.
World Building In Dune 2021
Setting plays one of the most significant roles in the film. It is quite common for a sci-fi adaptation to create its own unique universe and Villeneuve does that promisingly. The universe requires a significant amount of exposition. The element of phantasmagoria is often used in most instances in the movie. Inflections, gestures, and phrases are observably very intricate to Dune and its setting. The background plays an active role in creating separate worlds for characters. When Javier Bardem’s Stilgar or Stellan Skarsgard’s Vladimir Harkkonnen are in the scene they are able to project their own individual themes.
The world of Dune has a very monotonous color palette that is muted and yellow. The aircrafts look very rusty and ancient. There are towering buildings and mega- compounds in Arrakis’ desert that bring the movie very close to a near sepia-tic tone.
Paul Atreides – The setting up of a Hero
The part that Denis Villeneuve accomplishes thematically is setting up the feeble Timothee Chalamet as the most prominent figure in Dune. Timothee has played Paul in a very strong-handed manner. In all scenes throughout the movie, Timothee bears rarely any nuances of a child. The steadfastness of Paul builds up intensity and depth that visibly charts throughout the film. Paul is playing a very sympathetic character which cements the drama of the film.
Paul has dreams and visions in several instances of the film. This is very similar to the character of Louis Banks played by Amy Adams in the movie Arrival. However when Louise dreams she sees the exact future. This allows her to take the right steps in the present. Paul’s dreams are different and they have apparitions of forthcoming characters; who sometimes come with messages and act as messiahs. Paul also dreams of his future love interest and occasionally has visions with her in the desert played by Zendaya. The recurring dreams of them together and their predictable meeting at the end add the flavor of cheese to the yellow Dune.
Dune complements Batman Begins
Christopher Nolan’s stellar trilogy beginning with Batman Begins tracks striking similarities with Denis Villeneuve’s Dune 2021. Bruce Wayne begins his journey thriving in the Wayne House heir to the riches of his father. Bruce’s journey begins after the death of his parents at the hands of a mugger. He becomes a protege to several mentors and his story unfolds from there. He takes up the mantle of Batman to become the protector of Gotham and deliver it from evil. Similarly, in Dune the journey of Paul Atreides begins right after Harkonnens raid the Atreides’ settlement on Arrakis and kill Paul’s father and mentor Duncan Idaho. Atreides in same fashion flees to the desert, just as Bruce Wayne leaves the city of Gotham.
Soon, Paul Atreides goes under training of the desert Fremen after crossing the treacherous desert and coming face to face with a Shai-Hulud. Bruce scales a mountain in search of a blue flower and faces a blizzard to reach the sanctum of The League of Shadows.
As a young cinephile who has not read the book, Dune is a wonderful piece of sci-fi entertainment that has the right amount of drama and story. Villeneuve wisely makes his Dune simple and clean to give it a realm of his own taste. A story of love, loss, and change. However, Dune falls flat at the end and seems like only half of a good movie. Dune 2021 happens to be an unfinished movie that requires a more concrete and definitive ending. The audience will keep wanting more as one leaves the theaters.