Dune Art Director Compares Denis Villeneuve’s Film To The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

Will Dune be the next Lord of the Rings?

I remember growing up that if there was a movie released based on a book, there was a 100% chance the film would suck. There’s a reason the old adage was “the book is better”. This was especially true when it came to fantasy or big-budget adaptations. Back in the ‘90s, capturing the essence of a fantastical story wasn’t as easy as it is now in live-action form. And I feel like we can thank Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy for help shaping that present day.

While there haven’t really been any other films that have matched that trilogy on any level, there’s no doubt that it opened the floodgates for more opportunities. These past 20 years have seen a serviceable increase in fantasy and sci-fi screen adaptations. One that fans have their eyes on is Dune. 

Written by Frank Herbert decades ago, these series of novels have seen a couple of failed adaptations. This includes the 1984 David Lynch Dune film. But where this film failed, will director Denis Villeneuve’s succeed? Well, if we are to believe the word of art director Tom Brown, yes it will. He even brings things full circle back to The Lord of the Rings.

“I think what Denis Villeneuve is doing is what’s called a seminal version of this story. I don’t think it will be topped, to be perfectly honest,” Brown said. “The sheer scale of it is going to be daunting. But I do think it’s going to be extremely special. I heard in the paper the other day that they’re looking at the new Lord of the Rings, and I firmly believe that. I think it’s going to be up there with those kinds of films, really.”

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Though just because Dune is being compared to The Lord of the Rings doesn’t necessarily mean the two are comparable in any way. Style-wise, we already know the aesthetic and feel will be much different. From the sound of it, Dune will have a relatively grounded feel to it. This includes a spaceship — which is a vehicle that is decidedly ungrounded in nature.

“The great thing about this is that it’s so realistic. It’s not like anything they’ve seen before,” Brown said. “The attitude that Denis and [production designer] Patrice [Vermette took] was, what would happen if these things could actually fly? Unlike a lot of spaceships that just sort of lift off and fly, these have an incredible realism to them. Even though some of the spaceships are the size of skyscrapers, others are two-seater vehicles.”

I very much like this comment. To me, it really speaks to what I love about Villeneuve. Both Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 had very a very grounded feel to them, and I’m sure that’ll be carried over to Dune, as that’s just the filmmaker’s style. Giving it some real-world weight despite being on an alien planet is the right move in my book.

And I’m curious what Brown means when he talksa bout the grounded nature of spaceships. What could that mean and how does it translate to the physical look of the ship? We’ll have to wait and see.

If nothing else, Dune certainly has a lot to live up to, considering the Lord of the Rings comparisons. Are you excited to see if Villeneuve can live up to Peter Jackson-directed films? Sound off down below!

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SOURCE: Kids First Film Critics (via IndieWire)

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Joseph Jammer Medina

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and contributor at LRM Online. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.

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