Nerdthusiast Official DUNE 2 Review


Many of the movies that come out of the Hollywood vending machine nowadays try very hard to be the loudest and biggest thing. It can be a bit depressing to see because we want to see more stories from an actual visionary rather than something that feels as if it was orchestrated by a board of executives. Even with all of the amazing movies over the years it feels as if the public has yet to experience something monumental. Something as big as Lord of the Rings or Star Wars was when they first came out. As of 2024, we might just have our answer, and the name is Dune

Dune: Part Two is the sequel to Dune (2021). Back when the simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release was happening the film quickly became the highest grossing film for WB that year and has since found newer fans amongst sci-fi geeks and movie-goers alike, but Dune has always had a massive following for decades. Both of these installments are adaptations of Frank Herbert’s original novel dating all the way back to 1965. There have been many attempts at Herbert’s work, from David Lynch’s 1984 failure to the Syfy channels version from 2000 & 2003, and even legendary filmmaker Alejandro Jodoroswky tried his hardest back in the 70’s but was deemed to ambitious and absurd (would later be showcased through storyboards in a 2013 documentary). For many decades the source material was labeled unfilmable and too weird for the Hollywood elites to even try and bring to life. That is until a small-time director all the way from Canada went on to prove himself with only a few small movies you might have never heard of such as Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049 so I can only imagine why they’d choose somebody with a track record such as that… But in all seriousness, once I heard the news break that this man was going to be the one to bring Dune to life after just leaving the theater for Blade Runner 2049 back in 2017, I knew we were in the midst of watching a new master at work and possibly even be witnessing a new triumph for our cinematic culture once Dune was made. 

The first Dune may have struck a core with readers of the book and movie-goers alike, but the one thing that kept Part One being great was that it felt like only half a movie, so even though it was leading towards the promised land we had yet to witness paradise. For Part Two it may not just be one of the greatest sequels ever made, it might just be one of the greatest stories ever told. Villeneuve’s approach in adapting the novel is, effectively, one of judicious distillation. Like the first movie, Part Two advances the plot fluently (it’s easy to follow), through both dialogue and action sequences that are true to the spirit of the book, its overarching narrative arc, vibe and weirdness. The dialogue sounds natural, even when characters are throwing around names like the Bene Gesserit, the religious sorority that assumes greater prominence in Part Two. As crucially, the action sequences don’t stop the movie dead or make the rest of it seem irrelevant. Mainstream adventure films often toggle between expository and action sequences with wearyingly predictability; here, everything flows.

Watching Dune: Part Two, there’s little denying that Denis Villeneuve, the art house auteur gone full Hollywood hitmaker, has tamed the unruly deserts of Arrakis. He’s done what Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch couldn’t, and converted a supposedly unfilmable cult object into a popular, populist entertainment — a humungous moviegoing event for the multiplex masses.  As he did in “Dune: Part One,” Villeneuve brings passion and detail to a project steeped in cinematic legend and lore. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s abandoned 1970s “Dune” film remains a tantalizing what-if; David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Herbert’s sci-fi epic was an ambitious but largely dismissed good try. It didn’t help that George Lucas seemed to lift much of the book’s plot and overall vibe to create “Star Wars,” slathering it with generous dollops of nostalgia and playful humor. Villeneuve’s “Dune” movies deserve admiration if only for their fealty and ambition; the filmmaker’s respect for Herbert’s source material radiates from every frame of movies that feel as massive as they are minutely orchestrated.

Dune: Part Two feels more than a movie, it's a moment. A masterpiece that has to be seen to be believed. I never wanted this to end. Denis Villeneuve has crafted a brilliant, bleak and meaningful epic that not only further proves he’s a master of his craft, but treats Herbert’s dense text as sacred. Translating it into a bleak and terrifying biblical epic on the consequences of mad power and religious fundamentalism. This is a sequel that takes everything that was great from the first film and somehow manages to improve upon it. Make no mistake, this is the second half of the story.  Villeneuve has a deep understanding of the world, tone, characters and ideas, though he makes changes that could anger book purists (as a book purist myself I wasn’t angered in the slightest). But the core of the film's themes-war, dangers of a messiah complex, fate vs. free will, revenge, colonialism, ecology-they’re all here. I never wanted to leave Arrakis and was angry when I knew it was coming to an end because I couldn’t get enough. The battle sequences don’t take up a large chunk of time, but when they arrive, they’re incredible.

That final standoff between Paul and Feyd… tense doesn’t even begin to describe it. The cast is sensational. Timothée Chalamet owns the film and completely blew me away. His transformation from the tragic prince into the legendary Lisan al Gaib is powerful and heartbreaking, leaving me floored and what Chalamet was able to bring to life here. There’s a scene where he has to give a big speech and I swear my heart skipped a beat. Zendaya is fantastic as Chani and serves as the core of the story in many ways. She is the heart and the heartbreak, as we see her love for Paul and her people race towards a fate she can’t stop and I love how Zendaya portrayed this. Austin Butler is ruthless and unsettling as Feyd, stealing every scene he’s in. A great antagonist that proves Butler has a great career ahead of him. Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Florence Fugh, Stellan Skarsgård, the entire cast here is simply incredible. Greg Frasers remarkable cinematography adds so much scale, beauty, and grandiosity to this film. His every choice is calculated and perfectly executed. I love how he and Denis use color here. This is a visual extravaganza and the VFX artists should be commended. I can’t remember a second where I didn’t feel transported to Arrakis and it’s beauty and horror and that’s thanks to their incredible work. And the film wouldn’t be the same without Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score. This world feels so tied to what Zimmer has created here in a way that Middle-Earth feels tied to Howard Shore. It’s a booming, beautiful, and epic soundtrack. The costume work, makeup, sound design, editing, everything here is executed perfectly. In the end, Dune: Part Two is a remarkable work of art. It’s everything I want from the cinema and sets a standard for what we should expect from our blockbusters. It absolutely lived up to my expectations and I can’t wait to see it again again and again for the rest of time!

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By Danny Manna @Cinemanna24