Dune: Part Two review

It’s been over two years since audiences visited the sandblasted planet of Arrakis in ‘Dune: Part One,’ and the wait for its conclusion has been excruciating. The second part of Frank Herbert’s novel is finally here, and it’s even better than the first film, with more intrigue, impressive fight scenes, and stunning cinematography. It’s a real achievement that everyone involved should be proud of.

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Of course, the man who should be the most proud is Denis Villeneuve, the director. It’s his vision is the guiding direction for everyone to follow, and because it’s a clear everyone, from the actors, cinematographer, editors, VFX artists, composer, and the many others who worked on the film worked in concert with each other, something that’s difficult on a production of this scale, and especially one with the weight and magnitude of an adaptation of ‘Dune.’

Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery

Cinematographer Greig Fraser has topped his prior work in this film, creating glorious sweeping shots full of detail and rich texture, so much so that it’s possible to feel the sand brush across skin as the characters move around in it. So many of the scenes in this film benefit from Fraser’s influence.The best sequence by far that he helped with is Feyd Rautha’s introductory fight, shown under the black sun on Giedi Prime, which means it’s filmed entirely in black and white. It’s a fantastic scene, with the light convincingly reflecting off everyone, nailing the planet’s alien atmosphere.

‘Dune: Part Two’ places much of its focus around the intrigue of Paul Atreides becoming a religious figure among the Fremen, and how that affects those around him. The film uses this to interrogate the power people put in prophecies, which comes up throughout the film. Rebecca Ferguson shows Lady Jessica in a more conspiratorial light throughout her scenes, scheming ways to make her son the prophet she knows he is. Stilgar and his crew already think Paul is the prophet, and are hanging onto every word he says.

Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery

Zendaya gets an expanded role in ‘Dune: Part Two’ as Chani, who is worried about the belief that her fellow Fremen are putting in Paul. She believes that the power of Fremen and not the prophecy, interrogating the white saviour narrative that’s before the audience. Timothée Chalamet’s Paul Atreides is caught in the middle of this, and Chalamet gives an extremely strong performance of a boy who is pulled in so many different directions, and is able to give weight to the scenes where he decides to embrace the prophecy thrust upon him.

Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery

There are some newcomers to the franchise, like Austin Butler as Feyd Rautha and Christopher Walken as Shaddam Corrino IV, both of whom are menacing in their own ways. Butler in particular is a standout, oozing the energy of a psychotic killer, and Walken planning his next moves to maintain control. His adviser, Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, is also present, though she doesn’t get a lot of screentime, which will likely be changed if ‘Dune: Messiah’ is adapted.

Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery

If there is one disappointment, it’s the fight scenes. While they were visually stunning when they did happen, a lot of time it looks like audiences only catch the start or the end, so there’s rarely a complete picture of what’s going on. If they were made slightly longer, then it would be possible to see the fearsome nature of the Sardaukar or why they grew to fear the Fremen, but it’s difficult to understand this.

Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery

Villeneuve ties the ends of ‘Dune: Part Two’ together in a neat bow, finishing off the sci-fi epic that started in 2021. He does however leave the door open to continuing adapting at least one of Herbert’s sequels, which will surely come. The end caps off a powerful film with truly standout sequences, a film that could only be experienced to its fullest in the cinema.

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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