Movie review: Dune: Part Two


With a new and frightening ability to see his own dark future, Paul Atreides must choose between the love of his life, or revenge against the evil House of Harkonnen that destroyed his family.

From director Denis Villeneuve, and Warner Bros. Pictures, comes the hotly anticipated second film of what will surely be a massive trilogy in both size, scale and world-wide box office success. Dune: Part Two dives deeper into the second in the series of books written by Frank Herbert in 1965 & 1969, entitled ‘Dune Messiah’ with ‘Children of Dune’ written in 1976 surely to follow and conclude the hero’s journey. With Part One released in 2021 in both cinemas worldwide and HBO Max streaming in the middle of the difficult Covid crisis, Villeneuve agreed only to direct Part Two if it had a proper theatrical release before streaming.

With the critical character setup and world building required of the first film Dune, the second goes further into the minds of the Freman people and the holy war psyche of both Paul and his pregnant mother Lady Jessica of House Atreides. Starring Timothée Chalamet, as our anti-hero Paul Atreides, Duke of Arrakis – son of a brutally murdered father Duke Leto Atreides – and Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, his mind manipulating mother. The character development of Chani, played by Zendeya and Javier Bardem as the Freman leader Stilgar, comes to the fore here to elevate the whole experience to a much higher and yet also much deeper and darker level. Many of Paul and Chani’s Freman scenes were filmed in Jordan in the ‘golden hour’ first thing in the morning away from the overbearing light and of course heat.

Desperately trying to keep the run time under three hours, actors including Stephen McKinley Henderson and Tim Blake Nelson were sadly left on the cutting room floor. However this opened up the introduction of Christopher Walken as the Emperor Shaddam IV of House Harkonnen and daughter Princess Irulan played by Florence Pugh, making the critical cross over and interaction of the two separate duelling worlds.


Of course, with light also comes darkness… and here we have the Brando like stillness of Stellan Skarsgård once again playing Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, with Skarsgård spending up to 10 hours a day in makeup to play the role. Dave Bautista is also back playing the brutal Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, but the maniacal standout character is that of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, played by Austin Butler who having met with Denis required no audition to acquire the spellbinding role. His standout scene includes a gladiatorial display that was shot in black white using infra-red cameras to create a truly remarkable fight scene.

From David Lynch’s dreadful (in my opinion) attempt back in 1984, a director who didn’t understand the size and magnitude of the world of Dune and who also had limited effects options. However with the visual effects of today, these films could end up being the ‘Star Wars’ of this generation. With the world set this time much further into the future in the year 10,191 the feeling of immersion is immense, but it rushes by too quickly leaving one wanting more in the best possible way with each viewing.

Backed by a familiar and glorious soundtrack from Hans Zimmer, who’s genius spans many films including Villeneuve’s ‘Blade Runner 2049′, Dune’s sweeping soundtrack further adds to the magical feeling of being transported to somewhere distinctly other-worldly. With David and Jessie Peterson creating the ‘Chakobsa’ subtitled language used by the Freman based on an Arabic dialect, no stone has been left unturned to create a spellbinding and now almost perfect interpretation. As well as the usual digital cinema releases, delays in the recent strikes fortunately gave Villeneuve time to have the film transferred onto large screen formats like IMAX 70mm film. This helps create a tangible ‘grittiness’ and adding further to the film’s impressive cinematic scale.

To truly appreciate Dune: Part Two… Part One is required viewing to really understand the world which has been executed brilliantly by Villeneuve. Part Three will most likely be released late 2027 and feature Anya Taylor-Joy’s character Alia Atreides, who makes a brief ‘appearance’ here. 2027 can’t come soon enough!







Author: Piers, Maidstone Store.

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