top of page

Movie Review - Warner Bros.' Dune: Part Two

Long live the fighters.



Dune: Part Two is a 2024 epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve, written by Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts, produced by Legendary Pictures and Villeneuve Films, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is based off of Frank Herbert's 1965 novel, Dune. It stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. This is the second film in the Dune franchise and the third adaptation of Dune overall. It was preceded by Dune.


"You are not prepared for what is to come." - Lady Jessica

Plot


After House Harkonnen massacred his family, Paul Atreides forms an alliance with the Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, to tear down the corrupt rulers of the galaxy and avenge his father once and for all.


The Sweet


I was not a huge fan of the first Dune. I gave it a positive review and I stand by that, but I found it to be very slow and sometimes very difficult to follow. So, while I was looking forward to the second installment, I was somewhat hesitant because I did not love the first.


And I am happy to say that Dune: Part Two is, in my opinion, significantly better than Dune.


The thing I found to be most amazing here is the scale. The first film was epic, yes, but it was epic in glimpses. You saw the massive size of the galaxy and experienced all the complicated politics, but the spectacle was really reserved for a few scenes. Here, you feel the epic-ness throughout. The story is huge.The shots are gorgeous. The action sequences are enormous. It feels like a true sci-fi epic in every sense of the word.


I feel like Dune is a science fiction version of The Lord of the Rings. I have not seen every Lord of the Rings movie and I have not read the entire book, but you can tell that it is a more mature, more complicated fantasy world. That's the same with Dune. This is not Star Wars or Star Trek. Although this movie can be enjoyed by kids, this movie is for adults. This is mature sci-fi. It is complex and deep and thought-provoking. The Empire Strikes Back is my second favorite movie of all time, but it's not as mature as Dune. And there's something cool about this mature, grownup sci-fi.


Denis Villeneuve was not nominated for Best Director for Dune despite the film being nominated for Best Picture. That better change this time around. He does an incredible job behind the camera. On a technical level, this movie is a cinematic achievement. The cinematography, production design, visual effects, costumes, and makeup are all perfect. The way that Villeneuve portrays Giedi Prime (the home planet of the Harkonnens) is one of the coolest things I have ever seen in a sci-fi film. This movie utilizes the medium of film to the highest potential. It is astonishing.


The film also has this energy to it that the first one was missing. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but it almost felt like Braveheart. This uplifting, upheaving sense of camaraderie and rebellion is felt throughout and it allows for there to be these big, swelling moments of emotion and power. I think these moments act as the heartbeat of the film. They get the audience truly invested in this conflict and these characters, which is the most important thing for any story to do.


It goes without saying that the performances are all pretty great, but the best one is easily Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha. Feyd-Rautha is a new villain that did not appear in the first film, but is a major character in the second half of the book and therefore a major character in this film. Butler transforms into this creepy sociopathic member of the Harkonnens that acts as a great foil to Paul and glues the viewer to the screen whenever he appears. He is just a complete psychopath, and Butler is clearly having a lot of fun in the role. He was fantastic.


This movie just feels like everything modern blockbusters aren't. Over the past few years, we've gotten crap such as The Marvels or The Flash or Jurassic World Dominion; these studio-produced cash grabs with no soul. Madame Web came out a few weeks back and has been panned by everyone who has seen it. Dune: Part Two clearly has a director who cares about the source material and studio executives who trust their creative team to put out the best product possible. This film is made with heart and creativity, and that is what so many blockbusters in this day and age are lacking.


The Sour


I have not read Dune, and I think that that has hurt my experience with both of these films.


Let me be clear about what I mean when I say that: I think it would elevate a viewer's experience if they have read Dune. Both this film and its predecessor are incredibly dense, complex tales. There is a lot of world-building and a lot of characters and a lot of story going on. And, sometimes, it can just get to be too much. And I think that is the case with Dune: Part Two. There's just a lot of things happening all at once, and if you have not read the book, it can be hard to keep track of everything.


I also think that this film is structured in very odd fashion. The first thirty-ish minutes of the film are spent with Paul and the Fremen. The villains are barely in the movie. But once the villains show up, Paul and the Fremen disappear for about twenty minutes. I feel like it may have been better if the film intercut between the Fremen and the villains. To me, it would escalate the conflict quicker and not have these awkward stretches where we don't see important characters.


And the pacing is also a little strange. The film will have these moments of upheaval where the story begins to crescendo. It will feel like we're leading to these big, awesome payoffs...and then instead of having a big, awesome payoff, we get slower scenes of dialogue or cut to some other subplot. And that made these crescendos feel less cool.


Finally, I think I am just not as big of a Dune fan as some other people out there. This is not necessarily a negative, but it's just something I'm pointing out. As much as I love that we have this mature sci-fi...I don't think it's really my thing. I love Star Wars and Harry Potter and Avatar and Marvel. Those are much more up my alley than Dune. So, while I really do enjoy Dune, it does not connect with me the way some other sci-fi/fantasy stuff does.


Final Thoughts and Score


While I don't think Dune: Part Two falls into the "greatest sci-fi of all time" as many critics have said, I do think that this movie is an incredibly epic, visually stunning journey that improves on every aspect of the first film.


I am going Sweet here. Age range is 12+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"Dune: Part Two"


Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 8/10

Story: 8.5/10

Characters: 8/10

Quality: 9/10


Directed by Denis Villeneuve


Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, language, frightening themes and images, thematic elements


Released on March 1, 2024


2 hours and 46 minutes


Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides

Zendaya as Chani

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica

Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnnen

Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck

Javier Bardem as Stilgar

Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan

Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam IV

Dave Bautista as Count Glossu Rabban Harkonnen

Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot Fenring

Charlotte Rampling as Gaius Helen Mohiam

Souhelia Yacoub as Shishakli

Anya Taylor-Joy as Alia Atreides

Commentaires


bottom of page