[Courtesy of Warner Bros.]

Movie Review: Dune: Part Two

07:00 March 05, 2024
By: Fritz Esker

Dune: Part Two (2024)

After a disappointing first film that suffered from abruptly ending so the story could be fit in two installments, director Denis Villeneuve recovers with a stronger effort in Dune: Part Two.

Based on Frank Herbert's epic sci-fi novel, Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) is trying to avenge his father's death at the hands of the Harkonnens. The Harkonnens decimated the House of Atreides in an effort to control production of the valuable mineral called spice. Paul is hiding with the Fremen, a group of people fighting a guerrilla war against the Harkonnens.

There's a lot going on here and an attempt to fully explain the plot and all of the character relationships would exceed my word count. Villeneuve is a strong director, and the visuals are excellent. There are some solid action scenes (a sandworm ride, an early attack on a sand crawler). The characters have at least some complexities. The Fremen aren't all cookie cutter noble victims. They have different factions and disagreements. Paul has been victimized by both people and circumstance, but the movie lets viewers see that his quest for revenge might be making him power-hungry.

The strongest relationship in the film is the one between Paul and Stilgar (Javier Bardem), a Fremen religious fundamentalist. Bardem brings a humanity to the character that makes audiences care about him, even when he is saying stuff that is at least a little crazy. The romance between Paul and Chani (Zendaya) fails to ignite a lot of sparks, unfortunately.

Dune: Part Two's running time is 168 minutes, and I started to feel the length around the two-hour mark. One climactic fight between two major characters is handled well; another feels perfunctory. The ending makes it clear that the filmmakers are hoping to get a green-light to shoot a third installment.

Overall, there is enough about Dune: Part Two to recommend it, and it is a movie that will absolutely be better served by seeing it on a big screen.

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