Dune, director Denis Villeneuve’s epic adaption of Frank Herbert’s equally epic 1965 novel, will premiere in theaters two weeks from today, and I can’t wait. So I was beyond excited when Warner Bros. released the third, and apparently final, trailer for the movie that calls itself “the new Star Wars”.
Unfortunately, as undeniably grand and exciting as it is, this final Dune trailer has very little in the way of new footage, with most of the major dialogue borrowed whole-cloth from the Dune Official Main Trailer. That’s okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll rush toward any scrap of new info about Dune, even if it’s meager, and in this case I’m happy to say that fans will be rewarded with at least one new thing this trailer does offer: thopters.
What, you ask, is a thopter? This unnecessarily complicated vehicle can only be described as the bizarre hybrid of a helicopter and a dragonfly, and if previous trailers gave us the story of Dune, this trailer gives us all the thopters. We see thopters in flight, thopters at rest, thopters hovering, mid-air thopter daredevil stunts, and even a thopter pulling its articulated steel wings against its body to plunge into a steep dive.
Not only are these shots just incredibly cool, I will buy tickets to any movie that describes itself as dragonfly-mech combat, no questions asked, they’re also emblematic of one of the many reasons I consider Dune to be the most exciting movie of the fall season.
For decades, movies like Star Wars and Star Trek have set the mold for what sci-fi is supposed to be, what it’s supposed to look like, and Dune looks different. From the haunting desert landscapes, to the still-suits, to the vast cetacean forms of Harkonnen warships, to, of course, thopters, Dune promises a visual world unlike anything I’ve seen on the big screen before.
So while Villeneuve’s movie may call itself the new Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, I’m exhilarated by the possibility that it won’t be anything other than the new Dune. Whatever else it may turn out to be, if Dune can be bold, if it can take us somewhere entirely new, then it may yet win its place in cinematic history.
Update 10/8/21: the release date is two weeks from today, not three. The City Voice regrets the error.