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Dune: Part Two – The Sleeper Has Awakened

A Spoiler-Free Review
Dune: Part Two – The Sleeper Has Awakened

Dune: Part Two was released on March 1st, 2024.

Dune is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert, published in 1965. It speaks on a variety of different topics: ecology, politics, technology, and especially religion. Many deemed the work unfilmable for its complex imagery and plot of interstellar proportions. This belief was seemingly proven true by David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation of Dune, which bombed at the box office and failed to capture the true essence of Herbert’s magnum opus. With the novel having such a poor adaptation history, Warner Bros. Entertainment took a major risk when they purchased the rights to Dune over three decades later, in 2016. Denis Villeneuve was set to direct his vision of the novel with Dune (or Dune: Part One), which was released in 2021 to excellent critic reviews and impressed fans despite some flaws, such as a lack of elucidation regarding supporting characters. However, Part One covers only the events of roughly the first half of Herbert’s novel. Villeneuve completes the second half with Dune: Part Two and brings the novel’s primary story to a close…but is it a good film?

I have been a dedicated fan of the Dune franchise (books and films) since 2019, so I believe that I can speak for many enthusiasts of Herbert’s original novel when I say this is the most accurate portrayal of its themes that I’ve seen. Lynch’s movie was aiming to be one of those classic 80s blockbusters and therefore withdraws much of the book’s deeper elements for the sake of the general audience.

On the other hand, Dune: Part Two is not afraid to showcase the book’s utter weirdness. There are certain scenes and moments that I was not expecting Villeneuve to adapt because of how controversial or abnormal they are to our modern cancel-culture society. But in a film industry populated with low-quality Marvel films (take Madame Web for instance), the second part of Dune rises above the standards. The film is accurate to the novel in the sense that it feels like a Greek Tragedy. It’s quite a heartbreaking, devastating movie at some points. But then there are those triumphant moments that really give it a bold quality and a taste of how modern blockbuster films can be going in the right direction.
Every character’s souls and motives are revealed; you truly understand everyone’s intentions. The most interesting character in the film, in my opinion, is Lady Jessica; she’s the mother of Paul, our protagonist. I won’t say much about her so that you’re pure for the cinematic experience. I will say though that she brings the majority of the creepy and bizarre moments to the screen in a horrific, but simultaneously beautiful way. And that’s exactly how I would sum up this film: “A masterpiece of beauty and horror painted upon the same canvas.”

The cinematography done by Greig Fraser is absolutely stunning, and it adds more depth and character to the film overall. Hans Zimmer totally blew it out of the water with this soundtrack (which is now available to listen to online), and it intensifies the emotions of the entire movie. Also, the sound design is great; my seat was literally rumbling during the action scenes.

That brings me to my next point; the action is perfectly balanced with the more dialogue-heavy scenes. There is no instance where I became bored because even during scenes where there’s a lot of conversation, those scenes have a profusion of emotional tension, keeping me intrigued the whole time.

Now, I don’t actually want to say anything about our main character, Paul, so that you can see his story for yourself. His plot arc, however, is amazing and he goes through a metamorphosis as he adapts to the desert world of Arrakis (especially near the end…).

Austin Butler’s character Feyd-Rautha is truly terrifying and sadistic. He plays the role of a psychopath brilliantly.

Finally, there are many religious undertones in this movie…and I mean a lot, including many prophecies and a messiah, which are key to the more gloomy themes present in the film and novel. I won’t spoil those here.

Now, do you need to watch Part One to see Part Two? I’d say you should so that you actually have a complete story, but you won’t be entirely lost if you don’t.

Is Part Two better than the first? Yes, it corrects many of Part One’s minor issues and has better pacing.

The Final Verdict – Dune: Part Two is a stunning masterpiece that accurately weaves together the story of Frank Herbert’s original novel. It has character and stands out among many, including myself, as one of the best science-fiction films ever made. I am giving it a 10/10, no complaints. I’m not even exaggerating. Get yourself to a movie theater ASAP and experience the journey that is this film. I had the opportunity to watch it at a specialty premiere on February 25th, five days before its actual release date; everyone in the theater loved it. It’s truly something else.

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    Matilda SanfordMar 4, 2024 at 6:41 pm

    you and your Dune part two lol