One compelling reason to dive into Dune, now that it’s available for streaming, is the sheer grandeur of the film. With its stunning visuals, expansive array of settings, and grandiose action sequences, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune stands as one of the most monumental feats in the realm of science fiction cinema. While it was undeniably designed for the big screen, its breathtaking and sweeping visuals lose none of their impact on the smaller screen.
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‘Dune’s Stunning Visuals Come From Cinematographer Greig Fraser
Dune is a showcase of cutting-edge visual effects, yet its formal beauty and composition are owed to the exceptional work of cinematographer Greig Fraser. Fraser’s journey in the film industry commenced with intimate character-driven dramas like Killing Them Softly, Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, and Lion. However, his talent soon made him a favored choice for action-packed blockbusters helmed by auteur directors. Fraser ventured to the far reaches of the Star Wars galaxy with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and crafted the visually stunning Gotham City in The Batman.
Fraser and Villeneuve commenced principal photography on Dune in March 2019, wrapping up the shoot in July with some additional reshoots the following year to meet the film’s intended release date. Originally slated for a November 2020 premiere, Dune, like many other major releases, faced delays due to the impact of COVID-19.
Where Was ‘Dune’ Filmed?
While Dune did incorporate some traditional studio sets at the Origo Film Studios in Budapest, a substantial portion of the film was shot on location. The deserts of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates beautifully portrayed the harsh environment of the sand planet Arrakis. Despite the heavy use of computer-generated imagery to bring the sandworm creatures to life, the desert’s unforgiving conditions were very real. Timothée Chalamet endured scorching temperatures exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and Jason Momoa described it as one of the most challenging shoots in his career.
The Wadi Rum valley in Jordan has a rich history as a backdrop for iconic desert locations, famously featured in David Lean’s timeless classic, Lawrence of Arabia. It has also transformed into Mars for The Martian and Mission to Mars, Egypt for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the Xenomorph homeworld in Prometheus, the ancient force planet Jedha in Rogue One, and the markets of Pasaana in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The Liwa Oasis region, used for some of Arrakis’ larger exterior shots, has also played host to various film productions, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the 2019 film Sonic the Hedgehog.
In Dune, Arrakis isn’t the sole planet of intrigue. The chilly landscapes of House Atreides’ homeworld, Caladan, were authentically captured in Stadlandet, Norway. This oceanic planet served as the birthplace of Duke Leto, Paul Atreides, and marked the family’s rule over the Atriedes’ domain for over a millennia before their assignment to Arrakis.