Could Villeneuve’s “Dune” really be “Star Wars” for Adults?

In a recent interview with Playlist dot net, actor Stellan Skarsgård who plays the villain Baron Harkonnen in the upcoming Dune remake revealed that Denis Villeneuve has “grand ideas for his version of Dune”. And we positively cannot wait for this with production on the film ending in July of this year.

Could Villeneuve’s Dune become the “Star Wars for Adults” as Villeneuve himself has said? Anything is possible, and Villeneuve is no stranger to reworking older original movie content to produce something bold and unique. I am, of course, referring to Blade Runner 2049.

Villeneuve’s Impressive Track Record

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Image Credit Reddit

Blade Runner 2049 still holds a decent ranking on all of the most popular movie ranking websites with 81 per cent on Metacritic (taken from 54 critics), listing it as having “universal acclaim”. And if the accolades didn’t stop there, Villeneuve’s foray into the universe of extraterrestrial life in his 2017 hit movie Arrival earned him an Oscar win as well as 65 wins for other awards and a further 254 nominations. It’s safe to say that Frank Herbert’s legacy is going to be well looked after.

The Connection Between Star Wars and Dune

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Image Credit IMDb

The similarities between Dune and Star Wars aren’t just imagined. Various references to similarities between Dune and Star Wars are listed all over the Internet. Frank Herbert himself has listed similarities between the two films. However, it could also be said that Star Wars has dozens of similarities with other films, books and even mythological characters such as King Arther from the Arthurian legends. None of that stopped George Lucas from amassing billions of dollars for his movie franchise. We know there is a connection, we’re okay with it, let’s move on.

What Could Star Wars For Adults Look Like?

What would an “adult” version of Star Wars even look like and do we need one? Personally, I’d like to see a little more violence and death (within the scope of the story obviously), a little more skin (not necessarily full-on sex scenes but maybe a little more than two kiddies touching hands across the universe) and perhaps the bad guys prevailing every now and then wouldn’t go awry. Yes, George Lucas did this with Revenge of the Sith, but I’m referring to the very last movie in the trilogy. Instead of “our protagonists walking off hand-in-hand into the sunset”, could we perhaps see the villain get his moment in the darkness, pretty please?

Until we’ve seen a trailer (which we haven’t as yet), there’s really only room for speculation at this stage. As an audience, we’ve been given mere morsels to look at, and not even an official poster has been released. In my research of online assets for this article, I came across this poster which is very pretty with Timothy Chalamet’s Paul Atreides revealed but it’s still not an official poster:

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Image Credit – Art by Graphic Artist Nick Stewart Hoyle

One thing I will say is that if Villeneuve’s version of Dune is even half as good as Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, I doubt he’ll have anything to worry about come release. I for one will be attentively keeping track of any news and publicity for this film going forward.

Production and filming ended in July 2019 for Dune so we should be expecting something official fairly soon, fingers crossed. In the meantime, you can whet your appetite on the details of an upcoming spin-off from Villeneuve’s Dune featuring the Bene Gesserit witches called Dune: The Sisterhood which has been given the green light. There will also be a hard-cover edition release of the original 1965 novel written by Frank Herbert on October 1.

Dune Hard Cover Release 2020
Image Credit – Amazon

Dune is set for release on December 18, 2020

Ad Astra Official Poster 2019

Movies in Theatres – A discussion about Ad Astra

“The Answers We Seek Are Just Outside Our Reach”

Ad Astra (2019)

7.2/1013,573

 

Image Credits: IMDb

I toiled with the idea of writing this review for more than a day. I decided I had to see it more than once to fully understand the magnitude of the message that this film delivered. I am not sure that I’ve fully grasped all of the concepts explored in the movie, but there is one that seemed to hit home a lot harder than expected, and that is the almost claustrophobic feeling of abandonment. I’ll work my way back around to this a little later on.

In a nutshell, James Gray has produced a seriously heavy hitter with Ad Astra, and he has none other than Brad Pitt hitting the ball right on out of the ballpark for him. Not only is this one of the best films I’ve seen this year, but Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Astronaut Roy McBride is out of this world (no pun intended). If this film doesn’t get an Oscar nod for at least best picture, I’ll be disappointed.

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Ad Astra is a touching, moving and at some moments uncomfortable film to watch. It’s both exhilarating and melancholy all at once with some scenes interlocking with each other in a beautiful synergy. I was actually surprised to find that this film wasn’t based on a book because the story is just wonderful.

Brad Pitt is both narrator and guide as Roy McBride who finds himself having to face the painful abandonment of his past by his father, esteemed Doctor and Astronaut Clifford McBride played by Tommy Lee Jones. When he is tasked with the almost impossible feat of searching for a father he thought was long gone, the journey he undertakes is one that wreaks havoc on him physically, mentally and emotionally. Not only has Roy dedicated his life to the exploration of space, just like his father did before him, but Roy also finds himself sharing a lot of the less desirable character traits of his father. Part of his journey into space to find a father he thought was dead is also a journey inward into the painful memories of an absent father. Roy McBride, now an adult, still doesn’t know who his father is or who he has become.

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The cinematography of this film will leave you with your mouth on the floor. James Gray went all in to try and deliver a movie that not only explored the darkest reaches of space and all its beauty, but he wanted the imagery to be as realistic as possible. In that respect, I put this film right up there with Gravity and Interstellar. Ad Astra is that remarkable.

There is something to be said about the recurring theme in the film that looks at the vastness of space, and the unknown and how it can pull people into it like a venus fly trap does its prey. The idea that a person can be alone for vast periods and not feel lost entirely is carefully examined mostly with the sad yet hopeful eyes of Roy who unlike his father, changes the course of his life after realizing what his father for all those years, could not. Like all good films that make you feel something, Ad Astra is a movie you should go into entirely open. It honestly took me by surprise in the best way possible.

See it if you love space films and emotional journeys as Ad Astra beautifully intertwines both of these themes throughout the film.

The Broken Quill Rating – 4.5/5