Science fiction Epic ‘Dune’ set to hit Chinese mainland cinemas for high anticipation
Published: Oct 19, 2021 11:19 AM
A poster of the film Dune Photo: Sina Weibo

A poster of the film Dune Photo: Sina Weibo

Science fiction film Dune is set to debut in Chinese mainland cinemas on Friday. As a film that has been predicted to be 2021's most prominent sci-fi blockbuster, Dune has already raised many people's appetite in China, not only among moviegoers but also readers of the 1965 novel upon which the movie is adapted from. 

Dune (2021) is directed by acclaimed sci-fi director Denis Villeneuve. The 2021 film is the first part of a planned two-part adaption of science fiction author Frank Herbert's iconic yet grand and complex novel of the same name. 

Although the film is still four days away, Chinese sci-fi fans have been expressing their excitement for its arrival. Not only has it surpassed the latest James Bond entry 007: No Time to Die (2021) to become the most anticipated film on Sina Weibo, it has already started getting good reviews on Chinese media review site Douban, getting a fairly high 7.9/10 from those who have seen it overseas. 

There are a number of factors contributing to Chinese netizens' anticipation for the film. Some say that they believe the director's unique style will be able to strike a balance between a commercial action film and an art film, while others, mainly book readers, have said that they will walk into the cinema to see if it can present the "complex but clear" logic of the story meticulously written by Herbert.

"I thought the film was going to be a big deal when I learned it is being directed by 'Niuwa' [a nickname Chinese fans have given to Villeneuve]. His style is suave, logical, unique but clear enough to follow. His elegant use of wide shots and close-ups make the story appear rich, the dream settings in the long story adds a theatrical touch… I'll buy a ticket to watch it again, just to learn a thing or two from him," a young filmmaker at a preview of the film on Saturday, told the Global Times. 

"I am not convinced that audio-visual language can be more convincing than words. It has failed as film before, but I'll go watch it to see if it can change my opinion," Wang, a fan of the novel, told the Global Times. 

Before Villeneuve, the very talented film maverick David Lynch attempted to adapt the book to film in 1984, but it became a huge box-office flop. 

Unlike many other films created by Hollywood that cater to commercial film' fans; Dune is special that it has also caught the eye of many art film lovers. 

"I was reading a critic's review the other day on Dune, and was surprised that a very stubborn indie filmmaker said he was overwhelmed by this… I'm so curious about it," Ming, an indie documentary filmmaker, told the Global Times. 

The film follows the life story of main character Paul Atreides - played by Timothée Chalamet - and the Atreides family's tragic involvement in a war between the native Fremen people and the family's enemy, the House Harkonnen.  

Set on the desert planet known as Dune, the sci-fi film inherits the grand view of the universe provided by the novelist 50 years ago and explores deep philosophical matters such as human evolution, religion and power that are usually not seen in other similar Hollywood pictures.