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“Dune: Part Two” Review

Spoiler-free (for parts 1 and 2)
Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

Beautiful would put it lightly, majestic may be closer, but describing how good “Dune: Part Two” looks and sounds is hard. Every scene is put together so well, from writing to cinematography to sound design, and through this, it gives Frank Herbert’s book a masterful adaptation.

Written and directed by Denis Villeneuve — also behind other science fiction masterpieces like “Blade Runner 2049” and “Arrival” — “Dune: Part Two” is the continuation of his 2021 film.

Set thousands of years in the future, the original “Dune” book is a sprawling space epic, laying the foundation for many films and series, like “Star Wars” and “Game of Thrones.” Previous to Villeneuve, “Dune” had received several adaptations, but due to the book’s dense world-building, intricate characters and grandiose visuals these adaptations failed critically or financially.

“Dune” 2021 was ambitious, attempting to recreate giant space worms, a sprawling and complex religion within the universe, worlds far different from our own and an intricate political system all found in a nearly 1,000-page novel. Villeneuve did it… almost. Smartly, Villeneuve split the book in half, with “Dune” 2021 depicting the first half. Much of part one was world-building, character building and setting up many pieces for a sequel.

Villeneuve did it again. “Dune: Part Two” serves not only as a continuation of the story but also as a great sequel, building upon the world established in the first: a deeper look into Arrakis, the desert planet on which “Dune” primarily takes place; further exploration of religions in “Dune”; a view into the lives of Fremen, the native people to Arrakis; the Fremen connections to the planet’s resources like the spice — a powerful substance worth trillions of dollars — and the giant sandworms; and the rise of a messiah on Arrakis.

Taking place right after “Dune” 2021, the film primarily follows Paul Atreides and his transformation into Muad’Dib, a powerful religious figure in the universe who “leads the way.” In doing so, “Dune: Part Two” explores the power of faith and its pitfalls.

The writing leaves part two very dense, with many characters and storylines packed into a nearly three-hour movie. However, it never feels too confusing and with its excellent pacing, it’s easily digestible even for new viewers unfamiliar with the book. And even with many characters, the actors are all given their time to shine.

The star of the film is Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in his rise — and struggles — to power. Alongside him are Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Florence Pugh, Josh Brolin and Austin Butler, just to name a few.

But maybe the biggest part of the film is the presentation. The visuals are one of the best put into a movie. First, the cinematography is beautiful and paints an astounding picture of various planets. From sweeping landscape shots to ones that focus on the little details, the cinematography always impresses.

Second, lights are used to portray the differences between worlds: the harsh yellow and oranges of Arrakis, often mixed with darkness as sandstorms roll through; Earth-like blues and greens of a lavish planet where the emperor of the universe lives; and the stark black and white of the brutal of Giedi Prime, where the major villains originate.

Third, the costumes and design of sets are so creative and unique. Each group — whether it be native desert dwellers, a mysterious sisterhood of witches, a galactic family of royalty or high-tech soldiers — is accurately represented. It’s all in the details as costumes are rarely distracting and seem to convey realism.

Fourth, the CGI used throughout “Dune: Part Two” is simply amazing. As an expansive science fiction movie, it doesn’t shy away from utilizing CGI, but it never looks fake. From giant spaceships to sandworms the size of cities, the CGI portrays extreme scales of size but ultimately looks great. It’s never distracting and flows with the movies excellently.

Another aspect of its presentation is sound. With the score composed by Hans Zimmer at the top of his game, it’s simply amazing. Sound effects are used to bring the desert of Arrakis to life, with the sound of sand in the background, whether in the air or through footsteps.

“Dune: Part Two” is ambitious. Luckily, Denis Villeneuve succeeded and gave us a film that stands as one of the best sequels. If you’re a fan of “Dune,” or science fiction and fantasy, this movie is a must-watch.

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About the Contributor
Aidan Hsia
Aidan Hsia, News Editor
Aidan is the news editor for the Communicator and a senior at CHS. He’s played classical guitar for most of his life but loves all kinds of music. Aidan likes reading, playing games, or watching late-night movies with his dog. He’s excited to start his senior year and to write stories for the Communicator.

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