Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel Dune has often been deemed as un-filmable, but that didn’t stop David Lynch from mounting a lavish adaptation in 1984. The filmmaker found out for himself how difficult it was to translate the source material to the big screen, though, with tepid reviews and disappointing box office numbers only reinforcing the notion that a feature-length take on the story couldn’t hope to do it justice.
Prisoners director Denis Villeneuve will be hoping that his version fares much better, especially when the budget is rumored to be as high as $200 million and it will only tell half of the story, with the rest being saved for a sequel should the first installment turn out to be a major success. Of course, given the current state of the theatrical industry, it’ll be hard for Dune to bring in the vast sum required to turn a profit, but there’s still a while to go until the intended December release.
We haven’t even seen a full-length trailer yet, but one crew member has already claimed that the movie has the potential to be this generation’s The Lord of the Rings, while original star Kyle MacLachlan admitted that he thought it was almost impossible to do a faithful adaptation.
In a recent interview, Oscar Isaac stated that he believes Dune will succeed because the story is timeless, and given recent events it remains relevant and more prescient than ever over half a century after the book was first published.
“It’s about the destiny of a people, and the different way that cultures have dominated other ones. How do a people respond when it’s at the tipping point when enough is enough when they’re exploited? All those things are things we’re seeing around the world right now.”
The jury is still out on whether Dune will be the commercial hit the studio are hoping for, especially when Villeneuve’s last attempt at big budget sci-fi saw Blade Runner 2049 gain widespread acclaim and still underwhelm from a financial perspective. But at the very least, it promises to be a visually stunning epic.