Sep 14, 2020

[Spoiler Notes] Dune (2020) - First Trailer

I love Dune

From first playing Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty, which pretty much kicked off the real-time strategy genre with a bang to eventually reading all of Frank Herbert's books and actually enjoying the 1984 David Lynch movie adaptation, this franchise has been such a big part of my life. 

I've tried to keep some degree of emotional distance from the movie because (1) I really want it to turn out well but (2) I'm also afraid that it won't and so (3) I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much in the interim. And it's difficult to get a truly good sense for a movie based on pre-release movie stills and teaser trailers. In the end, we're going to have to watch the actual movie to determine if it's worth its weight in water.

Tobie and I did a live reaction video when the first full trailer for the new movie came out as a Baduy Pride vlog and a lot of my raw thoughts are there. But I figured it might be fun (and helpful to my sanity) to create a spoiler notes post about it. I'm going to rattle off what I know from the trailer and what I'm feeling so expect book spoilers and book-related speculations and you know the whole drill.

Trailer opens with a close-up of Paul in the desert. Every time I see images of anyone out in the open and not practicing good stillsuit discipline oddly annoys me haha. The greatest source of moisture loss is through the mouth!

Dream Chani. Still getting used to Zendaya.

Real Chani also has poor stillsuit discipline it seems? 

Finally, we cut to the bedroom with the fish headboard. Is this the hunter-seeker bed?

A preview of a big battle. Could be the fall of Arrakeen. Since the movie has split the book into two parts, then this can't be the final battle.

Timothée Chalamet is Timothée Chalamet and he seems to be making a career out of looking broody. Tobie jokes that he mainly acts with his eyebrows. But I guess I can generally accept him as Paul. He's certainly younger-looking than Kyle MacLachlan was when he portrayed Paul.

What was the point of that Caladan establishing shot? 

The agony box looks like a book. I'm not too keen on this Bene Gesserit fishing net veil. Maybe it'll grow on me in time. But I just don't get it here. Veils and shrouds do imply secrecy but also hiding something, grieving something, etc. 

I really don't like this gom jabbar. It's just a needle. How is carrying a needly around easily practical? How many times has a gom jabbar like this accidentally poked someone in their pocket?

We all love the human test and the agony box that contains pain. I'm also hoping that the snippet of Paul screaming is an internal screaming moment and after we'll cut to him forcing himself to remain outwardly calm as the box does its work.

Hello, again Caladan.

Okay, I have to admit, this visual interpretation of the shield is WAY cooler than anything else we've seen in previous depictions and adaptations. And before I was more of a fan of the Lynch blocky shields, which looked that way more because of technical limitations at the time versus actual desired appearance. Brolin looks okay as Gurney Halleck?

First glimpse of Duke Leto in this trailer. The heavy beard does help us not see him as Poe Dameron in this movie.

An Easter Eggs video points out that we probably see the infamous bull head bust in this scene. Jessica feels flat here, but there's only so much you can do with the Reverend Mother narration as the voiceover.


Too many jokes about these landing vehicles/transports looking like Jawa sandcrawlers from the first Star Wars movie.

I FUCKING HATE THUFIR HAWAT WITH A PARASOL. I ranted about this in our reaction video, and I'm going to mention it here again. If they're going to portray Thufir like Varys from Game of Thrones (read: intellectual therefore slightly effeminate), I dunno if I can buy into it. This is the Atreides master of assassins! 

Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho is still a hard sell to me. He still feels like Aquaman running around going woohoo!

Thank you, Stilgar, for having your mask on.

Beast Rabban = White Drax

The first glimpse of Stellan Skarsgard as the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen - but it's a really quick one literally shrouded in mist/steam. Not sure why they're being so secretive of the Baron. He doesn't have Lynch's weird pustules on his face, so are they going to go for another way to shock/gross-out audiences?

Scenes cutting quicker. Lyric chanting haunting.

Yueh! I have no strong feelings for or against him at this point.

Floating soldiers! Are these Sardaukar or Harkonnen troops? Weird look, but I guess better than the SciFi mini-series Japanese-inspired armor.

Shield combat excites me. Color coding shield contacts is a little silly, but I recognize this will help clue people in to the action and what's going on. Red seems to be slow penetration of the shield has been achieved?

Finishing up the human test. I really can't stand this netting veil at this point.

Dream Chani again! This is a dream! A dream! 

At least Paul was sort of in his mask. But are you trying to convince me that real-life Chani's first appearance has her without a proper mask on? 

Flying things! But I'm here more for the glimpse of a beautiful dragonfly-style ornithopter.

Fall, Arakeen, FALL!

So is this the Baron coming out of a mud bath? One trailer analysis video claimed it was spice, but I feel that was a stupidly ignorant comment. This is not the color of spice.

This was a better glimpse of Jessica.

Still not into Momoa as Duncan Idaho. Sigh.

Is that supposed to be a crysknife? Doesn't feel very toothy.

First glimpse of a sandworm, most likely that first scene when it eats/destroys a spice harvester. The scale is impressive. The overall look with the many, many, many thin teeth...will take getting used to. 

More Yueh. A million deaths are never enough for Yueh!

First glimpse of our new female Kynes. I'm not against this. 

More pretty ornithopters! 

Stilgar had his mask down. Grr. LOL

Must be the fight with Jamis. 

Lots of speculation that the shockwave is the destruction of the Sheild Wall. But that's something that will happen in the second movie in this franchise, so I guess it's a weird explosion from the fall of Arrakeen?

Getting tired of this dream Chani.

Escape the storm, Paul! Save your mother!

First glimpse of spice. Still weirded out that they managed this whole trailer without even mentioning spice in this trailer. It's sort of the driving force in this story universe and I kind of expected it to come up somehow. 

Duncan Idaho again. I bet this first movie will end around this point.

Are you a friend of Jamis? 

The trailer had to end with the sandworm, of course. Not sure why it gets a post-Cloverfield monster roar sound cue, which is now like the Wilhelm scream for giant monsters. It really looks like a giant lamprey.

On the whole, smart decision to use dialog from the testing of Paul by the Reverend Mother and some of the Litany Against Fear, because everyone loves those. Plus it reinforces how much of the dialog was lifted almost directly from the book, to sort of add legitimacy.

I wasn't familiar with Pink Floyd, so I missed out on this Hans Zimmer version of Eclipse, which sounded oddly CW to me when I first heard it. Of course, the lyrics work for the movie and everyone has pointed out how this feels like a cheeky nod to Jodorowsky's Dune and all that.

End of Spoiler Notes

I'm still trying to avoid getting too excited about the movie. There's a lot that I love and a lot of things I question, so it's all up in the air at this point. I want this movie to work out but I still feel like the trailer doesn't actually sell people on the story and instead just focuses on all the pretty people who are famous for other movies that are in it, but that's trailers for you. Let's hope this will awaken the sleeper in many of us indeed.

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