‘Dune’ Tracks a Boy’s Warrior Journey into Manhood

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Dune Timothée Chalamet Rebecca Ferguson
(L-r) Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides in the action adventure movie “Dune,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The epic new movie version of “Dune” promises to be one of the biggest tests of whether we’ve returned to some version of normal life when it opens in theaters on Oct. 22, 2021. The test comes because it will also be available for streaming on HBO Max for four weeks starting the same day.

The studio just released the trailer for the movie directed by Denis Villeneuve, the man who gave us two of the most cinematically beautiful films of the past decade, “Blade Runner: 2049” and “Arrival.”

This definitely looks like a movie that’s better enjoyed on a huge screen in a big crowd. Will viewers leave the house for a chance to see “Dune” in the way the filmmakers intended?

“Dune” is based on the first half of the 1965 first novel in Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction series. Set thousands of years into the future, the novel follows the Atreides family after they have been asked to oversee life on the planet Arrakis, the sole source of a life-extending and experience-enhancing drug called “the spice.” The drug’s effects have proved critical to successful interstellar travel, so control of the spice trade is critical to control of the universe.

Paul Atreides (played in the movie by Timothée Chalamet) is the sensitive young son of the clan. That sensitivity gives him insight into the dangers his family faces, but he’s not sure he can handle his fate. As his father Leto (Oscar Isaac) tells him, “A great man doesn’t seek to lead; he’s called to it.”

Dune Josh Brolin Oscar Isaac
(L-r) Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck and Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides in the action adventure movie “Dune,” a Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary release.

In addition to Isaac (Poe Dameron in the “Star Wars” sequels), Chalamet is surrounded by a cast of movie tough guys that includes Josh Brolin (Marvel’s Thanos), Jason Momoa (“Aquaman”), Dave Bautista (Drax from “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”). Even Paul’s mom is a badass, played by Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust in “Mission: Impossible” 5-8). There’s also Chani, the Arrakis girl who’s literally showing up in his dreams (Zendaya).

Will Paul become the warrior his family and Arrakis need? Can “Dune” bring audiences back to theaters and inspire sequels that cover the rest of the story told in the six-novel series? Will fans of the books keep their spoilers to themselves and not ruin the movie for the rest of us? Stay tuned.

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