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Saturday, April 20, 2024
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photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Dune: Part Two’ is the sequel fans have been waiting for

Denis Villeneuve’s second installment to the series is a sci-fi masterpiece.

Sometimes I think to myself: “Is Timothee Chalamet really talented, or do I just find him attractive?” 

Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” finally answered this question for me. 

“Dune: Part Two” is the sequel to 2021’s “Dune.” The plot follows Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), a young aristocrat looking to bring power back to his decimated family. 

The long-awaited film stars Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and several other successful, big-name actors. 

Most of the “Dune” series takes place on the planet Arrakis, an arid wasteland home to the indigenous Fremen. The Fremen bring in Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), after the cataclysmic events that ended the former film. 

Fremen like Chani (Zendaya) teach Paul how to thrive on the dangerous desert planet. Paul struggles with haunting visions of the future as he works to bring down those who wronged him, primarily the evil House Harkonnen, which now dominates Arrakis. 

To preface, I have never read the original book series by Frank Herbert, and thus will not be basing my review on its faithfulness to the source material. 

I have to acknowledge Greig Fraser’s jaw-dropping cinematography. Watching this in IMAX was a religious experience. Every scene had a new gorgeous shot for me to marvel over.

“Dune: Part Two” uses color in such an inventive way. My favorite example of this was the orange sand Fremen use in battle to obscure themselves from enemies. The thick orange haze looks stunning while also creating suspense in tense combat scenes. 

When Butler’s character Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen is introduced, the film goes completely black and white. We are treated to huge, bird’s-eye panning shots of a riotous stadium, packed with bald freaks thirsty for blood sport. The color shift perfectly intensifies the outlandish feeling of the Harkonnen clan. Making out-of-the-box choices like these makes me excited for where cinema is headed. 

The performances in “Dune: Part Two” were also phenomenal. Rebecca Ferguson immediately stands out — her portrayal of Lady Jessica was gripping throughout the nearly three-hour runtime. 

Most mother figures in these types of stories are either warm and nurturing or dead, but Lady Jessica is nothing of the sort. She is striking, intimidating, violent and powerful. It's so refreshing to see a female character like her in science fiction. 

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Chalamet is seriously great in this. My Oscar campaign starts now. Overacting is a big pet peeve of mine, and I never think he crosses that line. His performance is both subtle and moving. He can yell, but the scenes in which he is reserved and contemplative seem just as important. 

I also want to give a Dave Bautista shoutout. That man was just a WWE wrestler, and now he’s doing stuff like this. I locked in every time his character, Glossu Rabban, came on screen. 

There’s no way I could give credit to every performance in “Dune: Part Two” because the cast is so huge and talented. Zendaya is great. Butler was an evil freaky weirdo in the best way possible. I want to give Josh Brolin a big hug. Javier Bardem made me laugh on multiple occasions. 

And lest I forget Hans Zimmer’s score. Every time Loire Cotler belted out her battle cry, I got goosebumps. Her vocals are unreal. Zimmer’s score perfectly grounds viewers in the mood of the movie. It’s foreign yet familiar, old and futuristic — exactly like “Dune.” 

A friend of mine described “Dune: Part Two” as sci-fi “Game of Thrones,” which I think perfectly encapsulates why I loved it so much. It’s just epic. There’s no other way to describe something this long and intense as well as emotional, thrilling and rewarding. I feel like the first person to read The Odyssey or watch “Star Wars.” 

I see this series as a testament to human imagination. How wonderful is it that we can escape into a world so immersive and detailed? 

I still can’t believe this film exists. We are so blessed to be living in the age of CGI. Please go watch “Dune: Part Two” and marvel over how big those sandworms look. 

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