“Dune” with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya: the film adaptation of a cult science fiction novel

Millennia after our era, tribes and potentates compete for control of the spice, a blend that prolongs life and offers prophetic powers. It is harvested on a planet of burning sand, infested with formidable giant worms, called Arrakis, or Dune. With the first of the six volumes of the cycle of Dune, Frank Herbert laid the foundations in 1965 for a “space opera” which would become a major work of science fiction, with considerable influence, in Star Wars notably.

Signed Denis Villeneuve, this 2:35 film which will be released on September 15 in France, brings together Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem and Zendaya. “When I read the children’s book, I was struck by the trajectory of Paul (Atreides, the hero), the way in which his identity is confronted with another culture, his relationship with nature, his melancholy … “, the Canadian director of Hitman and Premier Contact.

Highly visible in Hollywood, he had already proven his ability to tackle the myths of SF, with Blade Runner 2049 (2017), sequel to Ridley Scott’s film. Without revolutionizing the genre of space-opera, but with state-of-the-art special effects, this time it puts a hell of a lot of old on the Dune by David Lynch (1984). With a budget of $ 165 million, the visual fireworks display is explosive, at the risk of appearing too generous.

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A sought-after balance and simplification

Side actors, Timothée Chalamet appropriates the main role, that of Paul Atréides, young prince destined to become the prophet of Arrakis, taking up the torch carried by Kyle MacLachlan at Lynch. Play in Dune, was “a once in a lifetime honor”, said the 25-year-old Franco-American, whose juvenile and delicate air avoids in the film, punctuated by fights and action scenes, an overflow of testosterone. “The biggest challenge (of the shoot) was, by far, to manage and control the hair” of this young Hollywood star, combed hair, joked Denis Villeneuve.

Wishing to escape the pitfalls that the director of Mulholland Drive or filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky in their attempts to tackle Dune, he added, more seriously, to have sought “a balance between the details that give the book its strength ” and the necessary simplification on the screen.

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