HomeUncategorizedVilleneuve and Zimmer’s Dune: The sound of fate and the machinery of Power

Villeneuve and Zimmer’s Dune: The sound of fate and the machinery of Power

Hans Zimmer’s Soundtrack for Dune(2021) does not have as much heart as his work in Interstellar and The Thin Red Line, but it is definitely some of Zimmer’s best work(see video); and it fits the aesthetic of Villeneuve, whose films don’t have much of the heart or interiority of Nolan or Malick. They have rather a kind of flat sensual examination of the signs and ciphers of the soul element left behind in worlds condemned to the cold machine of forces beyond individual control or even much in the way of choice.

Zimmer tries to fill in this missing soul element, and both artists work to dramatize the little freedom of choice that Paul seems to have concerning his destiny, concerning how to respond to the greater forces at work in his destiny (which are heard in the soundtrack as various themes). If this choice falls flat as a heroic trope at the end of this first movie, it should be kept in mind, as anyone familiar with the story of Dune knows: Paul is not a hero endowed with great power but a tragic character burdened with the fate of getting caught up in the machinery of power, of choosing between bad options dictated to him by forces far beyond his personal power. Villeneuve was a great choice for this story. No other director knows how to paint the stark reality of worlds beyond salvation.

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  1. Wow, another pop culture version of the Wagnerian Leitmotif.