All right, Dune: Part Two is out to the public as of yesterday. Many people sing this movie’s praises like how the Fremen view Paul Atredies as a messianic figure. And they are correct on that front. A two-hour and forty-six minute (essentially three hours of film) serving satisfactory storytelling and visual goodness. An epic messianic odyssey that finally tells the other half of Frank Herbert’s 1965 original Dune novel. So let’s talk about Denis Villeneuve’s second part in the saga of Lisan’ Al Ghib’. 

 

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Immediately took place after Dune 2021, Paul Atreidies (Timothy Chalamet) and his mother/Bene Gesserit Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) join the Fremen led by Stilgar (Javier Bardem) in their fight against the reigning House Harkonnen Empire. As time goes on, the visions of the future and his destiny begin to take root as he slowly but surely becomes a God amongst the Fremen population. The type of figure his Fremen girlfriend Chani (Zendaya) is fearful of for herself, for the future of the Fremen people, and for the Known Universe. 

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This film is a sci-fi masterpiece through and through. It is about as immersive as Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit franchise. Whenever you see Arrakis, you do not think of the filming location, viewers see Arrakis as how the author of the original novel envisioned it. Even other planets like the Harkonnen planet of Gedi Prime, and the Emperor’s planet of Kaitlin were different and beautiful to look at. The action is a throughline war movie since it is the second part of the first novel. And all of this buildup from the first movie has paid off in this movie. 

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Chalamet gives a rousing performance as Atredies aka Lisan al Ghib with complexity and ferocity. Throughout the film, Atredies tries hard not to fulfill the destiny that his mother created for him. Which creates emotional complexity in his relationship with Chani. Zendaya’s Chani was also really great to watch. Especially when she starts to question Paul’s legend, and how it affects the Fremen warriors since she believes that the war could be won only by Fremen, not through fanaticism. Bardem’s Stilgar was quite funny in some of the scenes to lessen the seriousness of the plot. 

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Ferguson’s Lady Jessica does a whole lot more than she did in the first movie. She lays out a religious pathway for the Fremen people to accept her son’s prophecy to give them some sense of a higher purpose to defeat the Harkonnen. She’s doing all of this while pregnant with a baby daughter named Alia (Anya-Taylor Joy), whom Paul sees in one of his future visions including an Arrakis that has an ocean; signifying that the future is not all a sandy wasteland. 

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The Harkonnens are back and devious as ever. Dave Bautista and Stellan Skarsgard return as Beast Rabban and Baron Harkonnen. Both still fiercely scary and heinous as ever. However, Feud-Raythan portrayed by last years’s Elvis’ Austin Butler stole their thunder in this movie. He was vicious and almost sadistic in the way he fought and behaved. He is the polar opposite of Paul Atredies even right down to when he has the Gom Jabbar test from the previous movie.  He does evoke Heath Ledger’s Joker in particular with his introduction and his fight with the last of the Atredies in the Harkonnen gladiator arena.

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Some major revelations in this movie do remind viewers of The Empire Strikes Back such as how Paul learns that Lady Jessica was the daughter of Baron Harkonnen, and by extension, he is his grandson. Other character-driven circumstances reminded me of Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone in The Godfather films because he almost loses all of his family and friends of House Atredies to the Harkonnens, he doesn’t want anything to do with his prophecy but ultimately fulfills it. Once he gains power as Duke of Arrakis, he loses his soul as his legend turns into fanaticism. He then agrees to a transactional marriage to Lady Irulan which puts a dent in his real relationship with Chani even though he professes his love for her throughout the movie despite everything that he is doing. Similar to how Corleone in the first Godfather film promptly devised the murder of the Five Families of New York, Atredies declares war on all of the Great Houses when his ascendancy is not accepted. 

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Dune: Part Two is an epic cinematic achievement in a time of bloated superhero cinematic universes and remakes. It has the most impressive cast ever assembled on screen. A Visual splendor and transportive experience that makes Pandora from the James Cameron Avatar films look like a child’s play. Now that Paul’s holy war has begun, it will be interesting to see how Villeneuve’s adaptation of the second book, Dune: Messiah will turn out. Perhaps a sequel similar to The Godfather: Part II shortly? Only time will tell as viewers ache to witness the conclusion of Paul Atreides’ saga if Warner Bros decide to greenlight the movie. For now, viewers will relish their return to Arrakis aka Dune. 

Rating: 9.5/10

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By Julian