Director of 'Dune' Remake Calls the Movie 'Star Wars For Adults'
Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has an unfortunate problem - his sci-fi movies tend to be beloved by those who saw them, but seen by only a small amount of people (such as both Arrival and Blade Runner 2049). While the director has won over hardcore sci-fi fans to his general oeuvre with both films, it's clear that he doesn't exactly enjoy widespread mainstream appeal as a creator just yet.
Now, Villeneuve finds himself trapped in the same circumstance again, as he desperately attempts to convince people that his upcoming remake of Dune is worth watching. This, in spite of the fact that Dune has been, for the past thirty years, the go-to joke for ridiculing dry, impenetrable science fiction.
Villeneuve has somewhat fallen back on the standard method for defending Dune, by pointing out all the ways that it's similar to Star Wars. Speaking to Fandom, Villeneuve recently said:
This quote seems to have had its intended effect, as plenty of media outlets have spent time recently contemplating what it means for something to be Star Wars for adults. SyFy Wire, for example, suggests that Game of Thrones is similarly Lord of the Rings for adults, what with all the swearing and nudity.
This probably isn't Villeneuve's intended meaning - he's hoping, instead, for a complex, nuanced, philosophical 1980s throwback film that matches his previous efforts, except set in the desert. If you think that Villeneuve has already made this movie, you'd be right.
It almost seems that, if anything, Villeneuve is afraid of moving past his childhood. Now that he's put himself on the map, he's eager to wallow in his own childhood nostalgia with Dune and Blade Runner stories, rather than embracing the modern world and coming up with more original stories.
There's a certain desperation in the argument that Star Wars borrows ideas from the Dune novels; it implies that just because some piece of fiction first debuted a concept, that means it's somehow superior. In truth, nobody would have ever greenlit the original Dune movie were it not for the popularity of Star Wars, and this new film is a similarly appealing opportunity to go back to a planet like The Force Awakens' Jakku. Why does everyone want to go back to Jakku?
Ultimately, though, there is one big Ephant Mon in the room when it comes to describing any movie as Star Wars for adults. We already have a Star Wars for adults; it's called Star Wars. Just because the movie series is intended to be enjoyed by viewers of all ages doesn't mean that the films aren't complex, nuanced, and dripping with allegory in their own right.
Luke Skywalker is an Everyman, forced to choose between taking the easy path in following in the footsteps of his neglectful, abusive father, or instead giving up his own desires in order to learn emotional maturity and control so that he can break an endless cycle of conflict and aggression. This is essentially the complete adult experience, distilled into a movie series that isn't afraid of robots or teddy bears or, yes, even slapstick CGI Gungans.
This isn't to say that Villeneuve won't make a fantastic Dune movie - just be prepared for a small audience, yet again.