Positively mind blowing --- director Denis Villeneuve and his magnificent cast and crew have created a nearly three-hour colossal achievement in filmmaking. DUNE: PART TWO excels in all areas, including writing, editing, set designs, cinematography, visual effects, music --- and especially acting.


The screenplay by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts, based on Frank Herbert’s acclaimed novel “DUNE”, is riveting and thankfully easier to follow than one might expect from such a story involving a multitude of characters and various subplots. The adventure begins where DUNE (2021) left off, following the plight of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), after the murder of his father, Duke Leto Atreides.


Paul, his mother, Lady Jessica Atreides (Rebecca Ferguson), the fierce, dedicated Fremen warrior, Chani (Zendaya), and Stilgar (Javier Bardem), the leader of the Fremen, are seeking shelter in the desert on Planet Arrakis. Stilgar is convinced that Paul is “the one” --- the savior. But Paul is more focused on revenge for the murder of his father, though he realizes the ramifications of his actions could cause harm to many, chaos and possibly war.


Still, it is imperative that Paul prove himself to the Fremen, thus Stilgar puts Paul through a series of tests such as drinking the Water of Life, which is blue --- and toxic, and then mastering the art of riding a sandworm. This particular sequence is one of the most exciting in DUNE: PART TWO, truly a marvel in the visual effects department and one Chalamet worked on for three months.


Meanwhile, the Harkonnens, ruled by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård), persist in mining the sands of Arrakis for spice. Baron’s psychotic nephew, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler), is eager to stake his claim and is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way, which eventually leads to a spectacular fight scene between him and Paul.


DUNE: PART TWO reunites such pivotal characters as Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin), Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) and Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling). New to the film are Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken), Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh), Lady Margot Fenring (Léa Seydoux) and Shishakli (Souheila Yacoub), all of whom add to the splendor of Villeneuve’s triumph.


Chalamet was impressive in DUNE, but here in Part Two he has grown into this demanding role with great confidence and aplomb. His on-screen presence has matured, making it difficult to imagine anyone else playing Paul. That, and his chemistry with Zendaya is alluring. They are completely well-suited, with her infusing Chani with all the intensity she can muster.


The entire cast is superb. Butler is a brilliant addition as Feyd-Rautha, breaking out of his Elvis persona with an inspired performance as that one insane family member who just can’t be controlled. His makeover renders Butler almost unrecognizable. And Bardem is once again reliably effective as he is in any part he undertakes.


This all could have gone off the rails for Villeneuve, though, had it not been for the script by him and Spaihts. It’s always about the writing, especially when the story you’re telling is as intricate and as convoluted as DUNE. But they manage to keep the action moving without becoming bogged down in too many finer points --- and thankfully not too many elongated battle scenes.


As previously mentioned, the anticipated combat scene between Paul and Feyd-Rautha is incredible with amazing choreography by the fight coordinator, Roger Yuan. DUNE: PART TWO is simply epic --- an extraordinary feat topped off by a phenomenal score from Hans Zimmer.


And surprisingly, it’s not too long. David, despite his disdain for most films of this genre, did not fall asleep once. He was thoroughly engrossed --- as was I.

Opinion: Strong See It Now!





DUNE: PART TWO joins a select group of films wherein the sequel is superior to the original. Since DUNE (2021) raked in half a dozen Oscars the next year --- primarily in technical categories ---we can expect more of the same in the Academy Awards of 2025.


Director Denis Villeneuve is at the helm again of this spectacular sci-fi effort. He brings back virtually all the same players as before except for Oscar Isaac and Jason Momoa who both died in DUNE. Returnees include Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård, and Charlotte Rampling. Adding to that roster of accomplished actors are newcomers to the series --- Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Souheila Yacoub and a surprise cameo from a very familiar face.


And to augment the celebrity power of this sequel, Villeneuve again collaborates with past Oscar winners and nominees in the areas of cinematography, production design, editing, sound, visual effects, costume design as well as music by Hans Zimmer. This sequel is a mere eleven minutes longer than the original, and I had no problem staying involved and avoiding a brief snooze like some of these bloated epics do.


First and foremost, in Chalamet’s capable hands, his character Paul Atreides is truly the savior Stilgar (Bardem) imagined. One unforgettable scene has Paul perched atop a high cliff shouting encouragement to the citizens of the Planet Arrakis. It’s a signature moment in the development and acceptance of Paul as their messiah.


Another indelible sequence is an incredibly staged fight between Paul and the nephew of Baron Harkonnen (Skarsgård), Feyd-Rautha, a portrayal by Butler that is overtly menacing. Unlike so many other battle scenes, this one does not overstay its welcome, which greatly enhances its exceptionally high level of tension. Chalamet and Butler render truly mesmerizing performances while the entire ensemble cast is flawless.


The romantic scenes between Paul and Chani (Zendaya) serve as quiet relief from all the action --- and a supposition that although this story is set approximately 8000 years from now, human interaction doesn’t change all that much.


The marvelous set designs and visual effects are once again jaw-dropping. For sci-fi buffs, it doesn’t get any better than the highly imaginative and immensely entertaining DUNE: PART TWO, which should be seen on the biggest screen available.

Opinion:  Strong See It Now!