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DUNE: The Next Big Sci-Fi Franchise

DUNE: The Next Big Sci-Fi Franchise

Dune. Dune, you guys! Wow, if you haven’t seen it yet, this is your sign to head to the cinema ASAP, preferably IMAX so you can see Timothée Chalamet’s worried righteousness on the big screen.

If you don’t know what Dune is, I forgive you, because that was me three years ago. Written originally as a book in the 1960’s by Frank Herbert, Dune follows an intergalactic society where different houses rule different planets, but all are governed by The Emperor. The novels follow the journey of Paul Atreides, the son and heir of Duke Leto Atreides, ruler of the ocean planet Caladan. The Emperor decrees that Duke Leto and his house will be the new governors of planet Arrakis, the most important planet in the universe considering it is the only planet where you can find melange, or spice, the most important and expensive commodity in the galaxy. The House of Atreides take over Arrakis from their rival house, House Harkonnen, and the following story ensues of the Atreides family (namely the son, Paul) figuring out how to harvest spice, which is protected by ginormous and deadly sand worms, as well as get along with the natives, the Fremen. The story that ensues follows Paul and his journey into making folklore reality, and following his destiny.

I first got into Dune when my ex-boyfriend forced me to watch a documentary about the making of the first (and failed) movies. Not the best way to get me into a series, but it worked nonetheless (he also got me into Star Wars, which I’m also lowkey obsessed with). I’ve read the first book, and plan to read the following five (notwithstanding the extra dozen his son wrote after Frank Herbert’s death). They’ve tried to make a movie out of it twice, and both have failed miserably. For the second film, they even got Sting (from The Police. Roxanne, anyone?) to play the main character in a bid to boost ratings, which sadly only served as a future pub quiz question, and did nothing for his career whatsoever (sorry Sting, love ya).

Finally, third time lucky, they produced a blockbuster film, and one that’s been successful thus far, with at the time of writing, the box office sales being $223 million worldwide, with it on track to hit $400 million at the end of its run. An all-star cast including our favourite Timmy T, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem, Dave Batista (Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy – one of my favourite Marvel characters), and Josh Brolin. Phew. That’s a lot of big salaries.

Don’t be fooled by the PR – Zendaya is only in the 2 hour and 35 minute film for a measly 7 minutes. Yes, you heard me right, SEVEN MINUTES. But, those 7 minutes she absolutely nailed, and made us all fall in love with her a little bit, with romantic close-ups and sun-beamed private looks.

For those who have read the book, this movie is only Part 1 of the first book, but don’t stress – Part 2 has already been confirmed for release in 2023, with a lot more Zendaya to come.

Since I read the novel first, and already knew the plot, the film seemed a little slow for me, but it’s necessary to build the world and the characters, considering there’s a lot of politics and religious legends we need to know about before we get into the action. Fair enough they split the first book in half – with 2.5 hours of setting the scene, I don’t think we could’ve done another 2.5 hours for Part 2 in the same sitting, and it wouldn’t be as cohesive or as good a movie if they had tried to condense it into one film. People who hadn’t read the book prior to watching the film had no problem with the pace, so it was probably definitely just me being impatient and waiting to see Zendaya in action.

If you’re still looking for a reason to watch it, and Timmy T just isn’t enough for you, watch it only for the costumes. Highly inspired by Bedouin culture, costumes are an algamation of armour and flowing fabrics to ward off the sand. Rebecca Ferguson as concubine to the Duke wears the most amazing costumes to public events, with a great juxtaposition of being fully covered from head to toe, but with sheer, flowing fabrics and a beaded netting that covers her face but also shows it off. The demure and sensual concubine image is very different to her harsh black Bene Gesserit uniform that she wears in private.

The head of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood perhaps has the most striking outfit of the entire movie, covered head to toe in black chiffon, with a towering headpiece that makes her a formidable figure.

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The series that inspired the Star Wars franchise, Dune was previously a background series. Ask anyone if they’ve heard of Star Wars, and they’d probably say yes, but Dune was only really known to science-fiction buffs, and heavy readers. Hopefully, with the amount of money, good actors, and hype that has been poured into this new instalment of Dune, it will be the next big sci-fi franchise!

Highly recommend going to see it in cinemas – the bigger screen the better – for not only the story, but great acting from Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, and Oscar Isaac, and a new world to step into to forget the fact that we are still deep in a worldwide pandemic, and the sun now sets at half past 5. Happy watching!


Image via Legendary