The new Dune trailer

Oh this looks good. This looks so VERY good. Anyone else get a tingle watching those Ornithopters flying over the sand dunes?

But is anyone else concerned that the last ten years of dumbing down blockbusters may have robbed this film of its audience? Nobody turned up to go watch BR2049, and that film wasn’t being dumped on HBO Max at the time either. I don’t know how much of an impact that HBO Max thing will prove to be, or how much Covid will be in the equation come October, but considering the money that Dune needs to make in order to break even/get Part Two greenlit…  My biggest concern is simply that, are audiences going to go in droves to watch a sci-fi epic minus caped superheroes beating the shit out of bad guys while wrecking a city? Are audiences going to sit still for a film with ideas? 

Mind, Dune is an epic story with epic spectacle so maybe that will pull people in. Films are so stupid now though, particularly the ones that make any money. I’m still reeling from the assault on my senses that was Godzilla vs Kong and that Hobbs & Shaw thing. Is that what films are now? While I take some comfort from how Disney’s Black Widow seems to have under-performed recently, that also makes me nervous regards how streaming (and yeah, Covid) seems to have pulled people away from the movie experience, wondering if things have changed forever. Have the weekly drops of content on Netflix and Disney+ so diluted peoples appreciation of tentpole releases (I have to wonder if Disney putting Marvel and Star Wars content for ‘free’ onto subscribers televisions is a kind of self-sabotage) weakened and diluted the appeal of said franchises as regards getting bums on seats in cinemas, like it used to be? We’ve already seen how people don’t seem interested in buying films on disc anymore. Some of the high-end stuff being dropped on Netflix is often poor but production-wise, they are essentially exactly the same thing as is seen in cinemas. I remember when I was kid, I saw The Empire Strikes Back at the cinema on a Saturday afternoon and when I got home Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was on the telly, and funnily enough it was the episode with the asteroid sequence and Buster Crabbe but it was so different in quality, the chasm between home entertainment and cinema entertainment was plain. That’s gone now, and seeing ‘new’ Star Wars and Marvel stuff straight onto the telly…

I’ve noted before that movies don’t seem as important or special as they used to be in my youth, back when Star Wars would be on the big screen only and when you’d wait for years to ever see Jaws again- gradually films have become more disposable. In a world where you can buy Avatar for a fiver, is there any wonder that Avatar itself fails to have any real cultural significance (and I’m really curious how those Avatar sequels will perform in a few years time). Are movies, as we fans remember them as ‘MOVIES,’ essentially dead, and things like Dune simply being made for a world and business model that no longer exists?

One has to wonder if Dune: Part Two will eventually just be a mini-series on HBO Max.

12 thoughts on “The new Dune trailer

  1. I’m very excited for this! I’m just hoping word of mouth makes it a success. It looks so epic and visually stunning, but I love the book so am possibly biased 😇

    1. I’m just commencing another re-read of the book. Its a little odd my ‘minds-eye’ now picturing characters etc from the new films trailer as well as how things looked in Lynch’s 1984 film. In fact its not just a little odd, its quite bizarre.

      1. Bizarre, other-worldly, deep, exciting. I love it! I see the Lynch movie characters when I read it. Maybe that will change after the new film.

  2. Matthew McKinnon

    I got about two and a half minutes in and switched off. It was going on way too long, and showing way too much and I don’t want to spoil everything.

    That said, I can appreciate why Warner’s aren’t taking any chances trying to sell the shit out of this to the widest audience (hence the focus on the extremely cool and popular Zendaya and the cliched use of a gloomy cover version of popular song etc). When you’re $165m + a year’s interest in the hole, you need to do everything you can to recoup. It’s unfortunate that Covid has radically upset the marketplace but there we are.

    I’m not sure exactly what grousing about this going to streaming in the US achieves, as it’s still being exhibited at the highest possible spec theatrically – the IMAX laser 3D screenings of BR2049 I went to were stunning and this looks to be similarly awesome; and anyone who wants to see this on a big screen still can. Those who watch it on HBO would most likely have waited until it came out to rent at home or on Netflix anyway.

    I’m not sure the last ten years have dumbed down blockbusters at all. The Marvel movies are fairly consistently funny and entertaining as throwaway entertainment / a massive soap opera. And we’ve also had Dredd, BR 2049, Edge of Tomorrow, Looper, some quite decent Star Wars and Mission Impossible moments.

    And I think it’s a bit rose-tinted spectacles harking back to… when, the 80s? The 70s? as being some holy grail period of quality blockbusters. For every Jaws or Star Wars (which was a pretty fun, throwaway film in its day) there was a Towering Inferno or Airport or Goonies. Tentpole movies were often pretty lowest-common-denominator stuff. Selective memory and nostalgia tell us otherwise but in reality there was a LOT of chaff.

    I honestly don’t miss the days of scarcity. They’re an interesting thing to think back on but I’d rather have too much to choose from coming and going too quickly than too little. It seems weirdly self-flagellating to long for that sort of deprivation in order to define what ‘movies’ should be. There’s still movies. They still get made. The fact that most of the world turned up for recent Star Wars and Avengers episodes suggests event cinema isn’t dead yet.

    1. I think the dumbing-down has accelerated lately. Endgame was unremittingly stupid and I haven’t enjoyed the last few Spider Man films. Oddly they were very popular, which again has me concerned for Dune’s chances.

  3. You hit the nail on the head there: Is the audience going to sit still for “ideas” science fiction. Shakespeare’s plays are entertaining yet intellectually edifying, and they sold out in their day. But people have lost patience with intelligence. It can be done, the selling of smart sci-fi, with the aid of lots of sweet eye candy, but it’s not easy and I fear Dune is not up to the challenge.

    — Catxman

    1. I’m so excited and yet so worried for this film. I think its actually time that Hollywood found some way of making its films more cheaply, to minimise the financial risk and reward more risks being made with original or niche material. I rather forgot how niche Blade Runner was, for instance- its easy to have thought that it was popular and mainstream when really, it was a film about 35 years old when BR2049 was due a release and the budget BR2049 had was just too ambitious/foolish. I think it did very well at the box office (and critically it was a major improvement on the original) but it was never going to break even. I hope history doesn’t repeat with Dune, but really, other than sci fi fans, who knows the book Dune or really cares about the 1984 Lynch film?

    1. You raise a good point I hadn’t considered before- a lot of casting that was done for the 1984 film hasn’t happened yet simply because the characters won’t be appearing in Part One. On the one hand, not seeing the Emperor will seem odd but it does give them room for more detail/backstory involving him in Part Two, and Princess Irulan likewise. Having them in Part One would likely just reduce them to glorified cameos anyway.

  4. The simultaneous release on HBO Max might yet be the film’s saviour. If the box office numbers are at least okay (i.e. not an outright flop), there’s room for them to declare the viewing stats on Max have been good and so that’s a reason to push ahead with Part Two nonetheless; and, with the box office being alright, it won’t just be a streaming exclusive (I feel like Villeneuve wouldn’t agree to return if it was for streaming only, anyway).

    I’d love it to be a mega-hit — a kind of Lord of the Rings for the 2020s — but I fear it won’t break out in that way, so having the simultaneous streaming release as a ‘safety net’ might actually turn out to be a good thing.

    1. Maybe you’re right re: HBO Max. It’d be ironic if something similar might have rescued the fiscals for BR2049. I just worry, longterm, regards audience perception of ‘event’ films and the whole going to cinema thing against films just dropping for ‘free’ on streaming services. Are Disney really going to get punter’s arses in cinemas if they keep on putting Marvel and Star Wars stuff on Disney+? The distinction between ‘MOVIES’ and everything else is blurring so much lately. It’ll be sad if Dune is just a few years and a pandemic too late to be a success- on that thought, BR2049 is evidently a miracle and would never happen in todays climate.

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