Dune: Part Two (2024)

by | Mar 9, 2024 | Movie Reviews, New In Theaters | 0 comments

Dune: Part Two is one of the most captivating & engrossing cinematic experiences ever felt, taking science fiction storytelling to new heights as it brilliantly completes the pseudo religious tale established in 2021’s Dune. After facing a delay into a new year after the multiple Hollywood strikes, many including myself wondered how much a March release would help or hurt Dune: Part Two, which had already given up multiple weeks of IMAX exclusivity in 2023. While they may not hold the premium formatting exclusivity for long, Dune: Part Two has catapulted to a massive worldwide opening that shows no sign of slowing down before crossing a Billion Dollar mark. Having seen the film twice already with plans to go a few more times, I have joined the masses heralding this film as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time and certainly my lifetime.

Dune: Part Two

Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his pregnant Bene Gesserit Mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) find themselves traversing the dunes of Arrakis with the Fremen. After losing the entirety of the Atreides clan at the hands of the evil Harkonnens, Paul and Jessica learn the ways of the desert from the Fremen and continue perpetuating the Fremen prophecy which would see Paul rise to command them all. As Paul grows close to Chani (Zendaya), he feels himself called to duty by Stilgar (Javier Bardem) and the growing visions he continues to have. As the stakes rise when the Harkonnen’s seek to control all Arrakis, Paul must decide what kind of leader he wants to be and how he will fight for the Fremen.

Director Denis Villenueve picks up this story right where he left things at the end of Dune and wastes little time embedding us into the world of Arrakis. Villenueve has such a calculated approach to directing and the scale at which he tells his stories is immense. The world of Dune feels incredibly real and the moments we spend looking in at our protagonists are fascinating, especially when compared to the enormity of the sand around them. Much like the first film, Dune: Part Two is full of sweeping cinematic moments that pair perfectly with Hans Zimmer’s incredible continuation of his original scores. Of all the movie going experiences I’ve had in my life; I can say with absolute certainty that Denis Villenueve crafts experiences like no other and presents the audience with some of the most mature and grand stories that aren’t always reliant on words to do the communicating. From Blade Runner 2049, to Sicario and Arrival, Villenueve tells stories at the highest level and assembles the greatest tech teams around him.

Timothee Chalamet truly comes into his own in this film, taking Paul Atreides to new levels and showing audiences just how much a force, he is to be reckoned with. Watching Chalamet evolve the character throughout his trials and prophetic visions is a thing of wonder to behold in the film. From a physical standpoint we see more of the combatant that he can be, while Chalamet still fleshes out more of his internal fear of embracing this dangerous prophecy. By the film’s third act Chalamet has completely transformed into a towering figure who completely stunned and silenced the audience as he decides what to do with his life. To me, Chalamet continues to grow with each project he tackles, and I have no doubts after Dune: Part Two that he’s going to continue to prove himself as one of our most versatile young actors.

Director of Photography Greig Fraser is at the top of his game here, taking the audience to multiple planets that couldn’t look more different than one another. His breathtaking wide shots of endless sand and spice feel incredibly comforting to the eye, while his take on the Black-Sun lit Harkonnen planet of Geidi Prime is a fascinating black and white which sees bodies and clothing almost turn translucent. So much of the beauty of Dune: Part Two lives in the moments of time where he and Villenueve create the perfect blend of effective scenery and characters living in or sharing a moment that we can see has meaning to them. The number of times I had to pick my jaw back up during the film was too many to count as they truly have created a science fiction film that feels authentic from the ground up and showcases so many different technologies in believable ways.

Supporting Chalamet in this film is a slew of terrific supporting performances that are anchored by Zendaya and Javier Bardem, both operating on both sides of Paul’s belief in his purpose. Zendaya’s Chani remains a strong member of the Fremen who believes their freedom should come from within their Fremen ranks, while Bardem’s Stilgar has waited his whole life for their savior to come from another world. Zendaya embodies her role with the same pride Chani takes in her abilities and place within the Fremen and she cares for Paul tenderly without sacrificing her stern belief that he isn’t their savior. Bardem shines in many hilarious moments where his faith seems a bit extreme, however he brings about such a calming presence to Chalamet and the two work wonderfully with one another in a relationship akin to a nephew and his kooky uncle.

Dune: Part Two is a cinematic triumph that will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greater achievements in filmmaking. The cast and crew have elevated an already sensational source material into a living and breathing giant, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. To see Dune is to truly experience it in all the glory of IMAX or Premium Quality as the filmmakers left every piece of themselves up on the screen. Newcomers Austin Butler and Florence Pugh embed themselves among a cast of Titans who continue to tell this sweeping sci-fi tale in the most extraordinary way. I’ll be seeing this film once a week as often as I can before it arrives on home video because it’s truly emblematic of getting your money’s worth at the movies. Not only will the story move you, but the sights and sounds of Arrakis will transport you to that world if you’re lucky.

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