Brief Thoughts on a Trailer: Dune Trailer 2 (2021)

Preamble

Just in time for the UK’s hot and humid Summer, a second trailer for Dune comes to wipe away the sweat. Complementing a series of character posters and 10 minutes of footage debuting at IMAX screenings, the 3 minute plus preview represents the film’s marketing being kicked into high gear. How does it fare compared to the first teaser? Well, let’s put on our stillsuits and find out… In the meantime, what did you think of the extended preview for Dune? Let me know in the comments below.

Brief Thoughts

Through the use of the novel’s first scene, the teaser for Dune walked a fine line between introducing some of the themes that Frank Herbert’s work contends with, and arresting imagery to entice mainstream audiences. By comparison, Dune’s recent preview is a spectacular showcase of its central conflict. It truly is a whirlwind for the senses.

At the same time, the preview elegantly introduces the various factions that will permeate the film. The first are the Fremen who are introduced (although unnamed) via a monologue from Zendaya. The second are the Harkonnens who are quoted and shown being brutal in their attack on the native Fremen. The final faction are the Atreides who are tasked with bringing peace to Dune (aka Arrakis).

By doing this, the trailer offsets the usual problem that have plagued adaptations of Herbert’s novel, which is the extensive amount of stuff audiences have to know to understand the story and universe. Infamously, at screenings of David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation, a two page glossary was given to people because the studio were afraid of the dense nature of the film.

It’s a credit to the recent Dune trailer in how much it makes the source material accessible by making it seem like a grandiose Lord of the Rings esque effort. Part of is this helped by samples from Hans Zimmer’s upcoming score for the film. The powerful female choral work particularly stands out. In fact it reminded me of Danny Elfman’s Middle Eastern infused score for Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003).

However, the trailer does show too much for my liking. In fact, I’d wager that the last shot of the film is featured in this preview. It’s also not as interesting as the first trailer due to not alluding to Herbert’s ideas as much. The closest comes in a moment between Paul and his father Leto. Paul asks his father- “What if I’m not the future of House Atreides?” The camera then cuts to a pensive Leto and then a shot of the Sandworm (while we hear the elder character give a response to his son).

Aside from being a sly reference to my favourite book in the series- “God Emperor of Dune”, the moment encapsulates Herbert’s deft ability to mix familial pathos with questions about ruling and power. The second preview for Dune is commendable in boiling down its complex narrative into something that’s exciting and understandable for the general audience.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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