Dune bagged a whopping $41 million in the opening weekend in North America surpassing $220.7 million worldwide.
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is a 2021 American epic science fiction film. The screenplay credit goes to Jon Spaihts, Villeneuve, and Eric Roth. The movie is the first (planned in two parts) and is an adaptation of the 1965 novel of the same name by Frank Herbert, and is focused on covering the first part of the book.
The storyline is set in the far future and is about Paul Atreides (Frank’s fictional Character) as he and his family, the noble House Atreides, fight for the dangerous desert planet Arrakis. In the year 10191, Duke Leto of the House Atreides and the ruler of the ocean planet Caladan is chosen by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV to replace House Harkonnen as the fief ruler of Arrakis.
Arrakis is a desert planet which makes it inhospitable. It is also the only source of “spice” which is a very vital substance that is capable of extending human vitality and is an absolute necessity for interstellar travel. Shaddam’s real intention is to use House Harkonnen to stage a coup to retake the planet with the help of Emperor’s Sardaukar troops and eradicate House Atreides whose influence is a threat to his control.
Leto has some concerns but decides to join forces with Arrakis’ native population, the Fremen. This was the first step toward increasing Atreides’ standing in the Landsraad.
Lady Jessica, who happens to be Leto’s concubine, is an acolyte working for the Bene Gesserit, which is an exclusive sisterhood. They are a social, religious and political force and possess advanced physical and mental abilities. Even after Jessica was instructed by the Bene Gesserit to bear a daughter whose son would be chosen to become the messianic Kwisatz Haderach, She ended up bearing a son, Paul, because of her love for Letto. Throughout his life, Leto’s aides Paul Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck and the Mentat Thufir Hawat train Paul whereas Jessica trains him in the disciplines of the Bene Gesserit.
Paul shares with Jessica and Duncan that he is disturbed by the visions of the future. Because of his developing foresight, the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam arrives in Caladan and puts Paul’s abilities to a deadly test to assess his impulse control and he ends up succeeding. Mohiam then orders the House patriarch, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, to spare Paul and Jessica during his coup, and he agrees deceitfully.
House Atreides arrives at Arrakeen which is the first settlement of Arrakis and the stronghold on Arrakis. It was formerly held by House Harkonnen, where Duncan and an advance party was learning about the world and the Fremen.
Leto enters into a negotiation with the Fremen’s chieftain Stilgar and meets planetary scientist and imperial judge Dr Liet-Kynes. Leto, Paul, and Halleck are informed by kynes about the dangers of spice harvesting, which includes giant sandworms that travel under the desert. They spot a sandworm during a flight that was approaching a spice harvester that was active with a stranded crew. The entire crew was saved before the sandworm could swallow them. Paul inhales the spice-laden air which causes intense intuitions.
After a Harkonnen agent tries to murder Paul, Leto’s soldiers are placed on high alert. Doctor Wellington disables Arrakeen’s protective shields which allowed Harkonnen and Sardaukar troops to debilitate the forces of Atreides. Yueh immobilizes Leto and reveals that he made a deal to deliver him to the Baron to free his captured wife.
Yueh switches Leto’s teeth with a lethal gas capsule and is killed after delivering the Duke. Leto releases the poison gas, which results in the death of the members of the Baron’s court and himself, but the Baron survives. Idaho escapes successfully and steals an ornithopter(an aircraft) but they capture Paul and Jessica.
The Harkonnens take them into the desert to kill them but they overpower them using their mental powers. They find a survival kit left for them by Yueh and spend the night in a tent. Paul sees visions of a “holy war” spreading in the whole universe under his name.
The Baron authorises his nephew Rabban to command Arrakis. He is instructed to sell the spice reserves and resume production to compensate for the cost of the coup. Idaho and Kynes find Paul and Jessica and reach an old research station but Sardaukar tracks them quickly. Duncan and other Fremen get themselves killed so that Jessica, Paul, and Kynes can escape the facility.
Sardaukar’s troops ambush Kynes. She lures a sandworm that devours them along with her. Paul and Jessica can reach deep inside the desert where they meet the Fremen. Among them were Stilgar and Chani, the girl Paul saw in his vision.
Fremen member Jamis is against their admittance and is killed by Paul in a ritual duel that involves fighting till death. Paul goes against Jessica’s wishes and joins the fremen to bring peace to Arrakis.
The movie was premiered at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2021. The Warner Bros. Pictures theatrically released it in 2D and 3D format and IMAX released it internationally on September 15, 2021. HBO Max simultaneously released the movie theatrically and streaming on October 22, 2021. It was more or less, well appreciated by critics for its visuals, scope and ambition, and has crossed $223.2 million worldwide against a production budget of $165 million.
The sequel has been confirmed and is scheduled to release in October 2023.
Edited by Anupama Roy