Film Review: “Dune: Part Two”


  • Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya
  • Directed by: Denis Villenueve
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 3 hrs 26 mins
  • Legendary Pictures


Rare is the film that achieves cinematic perfection. It takes a uniquely superb combination of writing, acting, directing, and cinematography, among other things, to pull it off. Having exceeded all expectations with 2021’s “Dune,” which received 10 Academy Award nominations and won six including Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects, director Denis Villenueve’s follow-up, “Dune: Part Two” exceeds its much-praised predecessor, a rare feat in the world of cinema.


Based upon the 1965 novel by the late American author Frank Herbert (1920-86), for which he was a co-winner of the Hugo Award for Best Novel, “Dune: Two” is the second half of the original book, the first installment of what became the “Dune Chronicles.” The story picks up on the desert planet of Arrakis where Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), who had the help of Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken), has solidified his rule after wiping out House Atriedes. Or at least that’s what he thinks.


The Fremen, the native blue-eyed population of Arrakis, suspect Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his Bene Gesserit mother, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) as spies despite the endorsement of Stilgar (Javier Bardem). Paul goes on to endure many trials to prove that he is worthy to fight alongside the Fremen, which earns the respect and love of Chani (Zendaya). Some, like Stilgar, believe Paul is the Chosen One while others are skeptical, like Chani. Meanwhile, Jessica, who is pregnant, must drink the Water of Life, which is poisonous for males and the untrained, to become the Fremen’s new Reverand Mother, or religious leader. After this process, Jessica and her unborn daughter begin to make maneuvers to ensure Paul is indeed accepted as the Chosen One by all Fremen and therefore lead them into an open revolt against the Harkonnen rather than just hit-and-run guerrilla warfare.


That is a bare bones description of the script for it can be complicated, but in a fantastic, sophisticated type of way. Intelligent. Brilliant. Imaginative. Those are all words that can be used to describe Villeneuve’s adaptation. Brimming with much more suspense than the first part, “Dune Two” is a Harvard-educated roller coaster which stimulates both the mind and the senses. Chalamet burns up the screen with his ferocity while Zendaya infuses her character with a tangible sense of independence. The other supporting cast members are delightful, especially Austin Butler (“Elvis”) as the Baron’s new favorite nephew. Visually, the film is nothing short of stunning as it blows the doors off anything to have hit the silver screen since the first “Dune.”


Overall, “Dune: Part Two” is one of the greatest achievements in film this century and surely there will be plenty of anticipation for “Dune Messiah.”


“Dune: Part Two” receives ★★★★ out of five.


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