Chani touching Paul Atreides' cheek as they look at one another

Dune Part Two

April 4, 2024
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I still don’t know if I care for the overall world of Dune, but I won’t complain if these movies keep getting made. I hear there are a lot of books to adapt.

Set just after the climax of the first film, Dune Part Two continues the journey of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) as he struggles with his destiny of becoming the supposed “Lisan al Gaib” or “chosen one” of Arakkis’ Freman people. Accepted into a Freman tribe led by the highly religious Stiglar (Javier Bardem), Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), do what they can to survive while staying hidden from the evil Harkonnen forces that want to eradicate the Atreides bloodline from the face of the planet. Learning the ways of the Freman while trying to come to terms with his role as their supposed savior, Paul strikes up a relationship with a female warrior named Chani (Zendaya), a romance that’s threatened the more Paul loses himself to his own prophecy. Knowing that a war must be waged to save Arakkis and the Freman from Harkonnen rule, Paul must either choose to become the planet’s messiah — as it was written — or shun his destiny and die with the rest of his friends under the heavy heel of their enemies.

I’ll start by saying this: Dune Part Two is an ambitious, well-made follow-up to a movie that took me three watches to truly appreciate, but when stacked up against the original, I have to say that the sequel didn’t fully do it for me as much as I thought it would. Still satisfying as a cinematic spectacle that needs to be seen on the big screen, director Denis Villeneuve nails the filmmaking aspects of a movie like this while giving fans of the books some great moments to appreciate — Paul taming a sandworm being one particular highlight — all made better by an incredibly solid cast, specifically the thinly scripted but intriguing villain of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen played with terrifying ruthlessness by Austin Butler.

Throw in some epic but head-scratchingly short action sequences and some admittedly funny yet overused comedy in the form of Stilgar’s constant ramblings about Lisa al Gaib, and my issues with this movie boil down to nitpicks that feel bigger than they should, as well as one other nagging thing that I couldn’t get over. Now, this next part is coming from someone who doesn’t know much about the Dune books, mind you, so take my criticisms with a grain of salt, but the story and the way everything shakes out by the end of it, including some confusing character developments I couldn’t get behind, simply didn’t grab me the way the first film did, making me think these issues more so stemmed from the direction of the books rather than Villeneuve’s script, something that bothered me more than I like to admit.

Though I preferred the first film, that doesn’t mean part two is a bad or even average watch — far from it — I just felt like this follow-up wasn’t nearly as effective, interesting, or had as structurally sound a narrative compared to the original which had all of this and more going for it. That being said, Dune Part Two is a solid sequel overall, but I do still think the source material held this one back a bit from being something even better, a problem if only because I’ve been told the Dune books take a noticeable dip in quality the longer they go on. Regardless, a third entry in Paul Atreides’ story is already in development, and despite my less-than-glowing feelings for this one, I can’t wait for another trip to Arrakis.

I still don’t know if I care for the overall world of Dune, but I won’t complain if these movies keep getting made. I hear there are a lot of books to adapt. Set just after the climax of the first film, Dune Part Two continues the journey of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) as he struggles with his destiny of becoming the supposed “Lisan al Gaib” or “chosen one” of Arakkis’ Freman people. Accepted into a Freman tribe led by the highly religious Stiglar (Javier Bardem), Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), do what they can to survive while staying hidden from the evil Harkonnen forces that want to eradicate the Atreides bloodline from the face of the planet. Learning the ways of the Freman while trying to come to terms with his role as their supposed savior, Paul strikes up a relationship with a female warrior named Chani (Zendaya), a romance that’s threatened the more Paul loses himself to his own prophecy. Knowing that a war must be waged to save Arakkis and the Freman from Harkonnen rule, Paul must either choose to become the planet’s messiah -- as it was written -- or shun his destiny and die with the rest of his friends under the heavy heel of their enemies. I’ll start by saying this: Dune Part Two is an ambitious, well-made follow-up to a movie that took me three watches to truly appreciate, but when stacked up against the original, I have to say that the sequel didn’t fully do it for me as much as I thought it would. Still satisfying as a cinematic spectacle that needs to be seen on the big screen, director Denis Villeneuve nails the filmmaking aspects of a movie like this while giving fans of the books some great moments to appreciate — Paul taming a sandworm being one particular highlight — all made better by an incredibly solid cast, specifically the thinly scripted but intriguing villain of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen played with terrifying ruthlessness by Austin Butler. Throw in some epic but head-scratchingly short action sequences and some admittedly funny yet overused comedy in the form of Stilgar’s constant ramblings about Lisa al Gaib, and my issues with this movie boil down to nitpicks that feel bigger than they should, as well as one other nagging thing that I couldn’t get over. Now, this next part is coming from someone who doesn't know much about the Dune books, mind you, so take my criticisms with a grain of salt, but the story and the way everything shakes out by the end of it, including some confusing character developments I couldn't get behind, simply didn’t grab me the way the first film did, making me think these issues more so stemmed from the direction of the books rather than Villeneuve’s script, something that bothered me more than I like to admit. Though I preferred the first film, that doesn’t mean part two is a bad or even average watch — far from it — I just felt like…

7.9

As It Was Written

The Verdict

7.9

8

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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