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‘Dune’ melds story and image on an epic scale

A gigantic, sound-hunting sandworm chases two characters in a scene from "Dune."
This scene from “Dune” pits the lives of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), against a gigantic sandworm.
(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Denis Villeneuve’s epic journey “Dune” is rife with interstellar war and slithering monsters. This scene pits the lives of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), against a gigantic, sound-hunting sandworm as they run for shelter.

For this sequence, cinematographer Greig Fraser captured the scale and growling undercurrent of the untouched sand dunes of Jordan using IMAX and later finessed by visual effects.

“There’s a symbiosis between the dramatic storytelling and CG in the scene where one cannot exist without the other,” notes Fraser. Visual effects create a sandworm that is more “prehistoric whale than worm.”

“We wanted to keep the majesty of the creature as it flows through sand,” says VFX supervisor Paul Lambert, “where it almost feels like water, and the worm and sand are intrinsic to one another.”

The harrowing scene culminates with the monster staring directly into Paul’s eyes before letting out a reverberant wail as if to say, “We will meet again.”


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