Denis Villeneuve’s next film, following the critically acclaimed “Dune” and the long-awaited “Dune 2”, will be another film adaptation, ideally suited for the director’s talents. Villeneuve’s 2021 adaptation of Dune set the tone for what was to come, as he has now signed a contract to direct a film based on ArthurC. Clarke’s cult novel A Date with Rama, an interstellar complex science fiction novel set in the year 2130. Plans to adapt the 1973 book. stuck in development hell since the early 2000s, when Morgan Freeman was originally assigned to produce the film. Now he has finally found a firm hand with Denis Villeneuve, an experienced director who has many science fiction epics on his account.
The rendezvous with Rama documents in detail humanity’s first contact with an alien spaceship. A vessel more than 30 miles long has been detected passing through our Solar System, prompting a nearby team of scientists to investigate the massive vessel before it continues its interstellar journey. This is followed by a mysterious journey inside a cylindrical ship, in which the main human characters discover incomprehensible alien structures, trying to better understand the secrets of the Frame and where it came from. With a good adaptation, “Date with Rama” could become one of the greatest science fiction films set in space. Being an example of science fiction, the book abandons character development in favor of realistic depictions of space travel and clinical explanations of the mysteries of Rama.
This is heady stuff, and in the hands of a less experienced director, “Date with Rama” may turn out to be unmanageable. Nevertheless, Frank Herbert’s “Dune” is notorious for the fact that its knowledge is almost incomprehensible to the uninitiated. Villeneuve managed not only to adapt the fascinating story and hypnotizing images of “Dune” into a good film, but also to do it in good faith. This first film became a hit, and its sequel (Villeneuve wisely divided the book into two parts), “Dune: Part Two”, is now eagerly awaited by old and new fans. Earlier, the director proved that the skeptics are wrong, and took as a basis the legendary Ridley Scott universe “Blade Runner” in his sequel “Blade Runner 2049”, and also adapted a novel about linguistics and physics — “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chang — into the critically acclaimed film Arrival. Add to that Villeneuve’s visual style, which is suited to sparse, enigmatic science fiction, and one could argue that he’s not just perfect for adapting “Date with Rama,” but he’s the only one who could do it.
Bringing to life truly alien cars, urban landscapes and people from Herbert’s “Dune” with the help of costume design and computer graphics on the big screen was a difficult task, but Villeneuve managed to create a beautiful and believable world. To bring the mysterious Rama to life, it will take a real author with a crystal clear vision. Villeneuve is not only able to build plausible worlds, but also does it in a style that lends itself to existential riddles. Ignoring the next three novels after the “Date with Rama”, the first part lives and dies on its central issue: Who are the Ramanas? This is never clarified in the book, and Villeneuve is well suited to creating an atmosphere of anxiety and unknowability. He has made a career of showing rather than telling, creating tension and intrigue, often without dialogue. This is doubly important because a significant part of the book is told through the experience of one character trapped on the other side of a huge Frame.
Villeneuve has yet to complete his Dune saga, and then he will have to make a mini-series based on the novel “Son” by Joe Nesbo, as well as a dramatic film about Cleopatra. It’s fair to say that he has a fairly complete list, and it’s not yet known when “Rendezvous with Rama” will appear on the big screen. Putting this aside, Villeneuve captured the myths about Dune in an accessible and entertaining way, while paying tribute to the source material. He imagined beauty and an ominous future, deep in the curious corners of the universe, with a visual flair. Rendezvous with Rama requires the same attitude, and there is no one better than Denis Villeneuve.