Why Dune 2021 Faces Sci-Fi’s Location Problem

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Why Dune 2021 Faces Sci-Fi’s Location Problem

Denis Villeneuve’s new Dune adaptation may subvert some viewers’ expectations of what science fiction is about. However, this may be a good thing.

Denis Villeneuve’s new Dune adaptation faces an unusual problem for a science-fiction epic as a result of its location. The movie, which takes place on the fictional desert planet of Arrakis, subverts many of the tropes that audiences have come to associate with the genre, including the setting. However, despite the difficulties this potentially presents, it also provides scope for the film to do something genuinely ground-breaking and present its story in a relatively unique way.

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Following in the footsteps of three prior attempts to adapt Frank Herbert’s original book, including David Lynch’s 1984 failure, Dune tells the story of young nobleman Paul Atreides. Sent to the desert planet, Arrakis, Paul finds his family betrayed before leading the local population in a revolt against Arrakis’ overlords, the Harkonnens. The novel, which was released in 1965, is widely regarded as one of the great works of science-fiction literature and has spawned several sequels. Despite the various failed efforts to adapt it for the big screen, Dune remains one of the most influential works in the genre, either literary or cinematic.

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