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Dune: Part Two Review: A Fantastic Return To Another World

Dune: Part Two Review: A Fantastic Return To Another World

Dune 2 (2024) review

Director Denis Villeneuve does not disappoint in bringing Dune Part 2, the remainder of the first Dune novel, to its theatrical conclusion. The extensive attention to detail and world-building of Part 1 was phenomenal for setting the stage for feuding Houses vying to extract the resource of spice from Arrakis. The tone was also beautifully set with a dark seriousness amid the vast worlds occupied by thousands of soldiers and towering spacecraft. The aspects of imperialism and destiny from the book were remarkably explored on screen as the hero grapples with his fears of the future.


WATCH: Dune (2021) Explained: Plot, Themes & Ending


WATCH: Dune Part 2 Explained


For Part 2, more of that epic filmmaking brings the book to life, and it is a satisfying conclusion that doesn’t go for the easy ending amid its engrossing and somber world of spice mining, rebels, royalty, and giant worms you can ride if you’re skilled.

Also See: Dune 2 (2024) Explained


The Sleeper Awakens

dune review
Source: Mubi

The film picks up where we last left Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet). After his House was obliterated on Arrakis by the invading Harkonnen, he was taken in by the Fremen, the local tribes of the planet. Filling Paul in on their traditions and culture is Stilgar (Javier Bardem), a brave warrior confident that Paul and his pregnant mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) could bring about a new age for the planet, foretold in miracles.

Less inclined to believe the prophecy of Paul being chosen is Chani (Zendaya) of the Fremen. Despite this belief, she forms a strong bond with the newcomer to her people. As prophesied in the first movie, they were destined to be together. Or were they?

As Paul’s visions continue and he swamps himself further in the spiritual traditions of the Fremen, he takes on new visions. Revenge clouds his mind as he moves up the change of command, ascending to the level of a commanding ruler. With Stilgar entrusting the future of his people and Jessica continuing to radicalize the Fremen further, Paul is destined to rise against the invading Houses and bring about a new conflict that extends past the fight for spice.

This leads to fear spreading among the powerful forces of the planet’s ruling extractor, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård), and the mastermind string-puller of Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken). Their grip on the planet slips, and both soon find themselves turning to the young and violent Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler) to restore order.


The Vastness of Arrakis

Source: Warner Bros.

Much of the film takes place in the deserts of Arrakis, and there’s a grand sense of scale to these many moments of contemplation and action. In several scenes, Paul looks out among the swarm of Fremen warriors ready to fight or the legions of Harkonnen fighters trying to control the planet. This makes the many fight scenes a real treat for the eyes. The opening sequence of the Fremen decimating a team of mountain-ascending Harkonnen soldiers is awe-inspiringly intense, as Fremen send the armed invaders falling to their deaths from a massive height.

There are several scenes where Paul and the Fremen destroy the giant spice crawlers, dashing between the legs and treads as air strikes threaten their sabotage. As if it needed to be said, the grand showdown between the Fremen and Harkonnen in the climax is immensely staged and wickedly entertaining, especially when witnessing such a sight in Dolby Vision.

This half of the book is notable for the triumphant moment where Paul proves himself to the Fremen by taming one of the largest sandworms, riding atop its gargantuan back. A scene like this could make or break the movie, and it is one of the most wondrous moments.

The camera gets up close with details as Paul rides the worm through a blast of sand that nearly threatens to send him falling to his death, made believable by masterfully wielded visual effects. When he masters the worm to show off to the Fremen, there’s a sense of astonishment just as strong as Stilagar’s faith that Paul would live up to the expectations of the people of Arrakis.

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Believing in Dune

Source: Legendary Pictures

Although Denis Villeneuve proved his faithfulness to the written material in Part 1, he would have to maintain that level of courage for Part 2. As with most science fiction, a commitment to the world makes it believable.

It would be so easy for this adaptation of Dune to fail, considering it embraces some elements directors might shy away from, such as the walk not to attract worms, the communication of Jessica’s unborn child, and the transcendent experience of Paul and Jessica consuming the Water of Life (a deep-blue potion that can either kill you or give you trippy visions). But Villeneuve sells it so well, thanks to the believable production design and earnestness of the performances.

It’s surprising how much of the book Villeneuve embraces. He reserves certain characters for this entry as he introduces Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV and his daughter Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) when they are most beneficial to the story. A lesser director might have written them out entirely, but that would have robbed the film of a greater threat for Paul to conquer.

Villeneuve also doesn’t favor a satisfying conclusion for the story, creating a necessary level of foreboding that Paul’s ascension may bring more disaster in the future as the war continues. There’s enough time spent on Paul’s visions to make this terror clear, but it’s also present within the uncertainty of Chani, who watches helplessly as her people’s fundamentalism consumes Paul.


Wrapping Up

Dune Part 2 lives up to all its expectations and exceeds a few in finally giving Frank Herbert’s book the theatrical treatment it deserves. Denis Villeneuve has crafted a world as engrossing as his previous films and maintains a commitment to enthralling science fiction filmmaking like no other director.

His film is as remarkable to the eyes as it is to the mind, presenting an unforgettable alien planet with a human tale of colonization and fundamentalism. Dune is regarded as one of the best sci-fi books, and it’s fair to say that Dune Part 2 is worthy of similar praise.

Rating: 5/5 

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