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Dune Part Two

Updated: Apr 7

Superior to Part One in every way imaginable, DUNE PART TWO is visually jaw-dropping and one of the best sounding films in history.

Writer/Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) opens the film with narration from the Emperor's Daughter, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) that will bring a smile to the face of all us fans of David Lynch's quirky 1984 film adaption of "Dune".

We're dropped right back into the action, picking up where Part One left off.

Paul Atredies (Timothee Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) begin their immersion in the desert with the Fremen people, led by Stilgar (an incredibly winning Javier Bardem). Stilgar and the older Fremen suspect that Paul is their long awaited savior from prophecy, but Chani (Zendaya) and the younger Fremen pay little attention to the old ways.

As Paul trains with the Fremen on Arrakis, we see the Emperor (Christopher Walken) moving the great houses of the known universe around like chess pieces. He assumes that Paul is dead, so he positions the evil House Harkonnen for leadership over the spice mining operation on the desert planet. Floating fat man Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) and his nephew Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) try to ramp up spice production, but the Fremen interrupt their efforts every way they can.

The Baron then calls on Feyd Rautha (a scary as hell Austin Butler, looking light years from his role in 'Elvis") to take over the operation. Butler gained 25lbs of muscle for the role. Intimidating and psychotic is a dangerous combination.

Battles ensue.

Villeneuve made a brilliant choice splitting Frank Herbert's book into two chapters, both nearly 3 hours long. The film NEVER drags as he fills every inch of the screen with incredible sets, immersive sound, strong characters and great dialogue.

There are massive political shifts happening throughout, but Villeneuve never gets bogged down in the George Lucas type of boring exposition that plagued the second trilogy.

There are so many great scenes that it will take me a second viewing to truly experience them all.

Paul's first attempt to ride the giant sandworms of Arrakis is fantastic. The special effects are top notch and the sound mix (we saw the film in Dolby Cinema) puts you on top of that massive creature with him, bursting through giant sand dunes as the wind howls around you.

The black and white world of Giedi Prime where Feyd Rautha's birthday celebration takes place is incredible. The camera angles as Feyd walks into a stadium that holds half a million people are startling. Butler embodies the psychotic, murderous Feyd with every ounce of his being.

The Fremen attacks on the Harkonnen teams operating the spice mining machines are spectacular and the huge battle in the finale gets everything right.

The cast is perfect. Josh Brolin is a highlight as Gurney Halleck, Paul's right hand bodyguard turned smuggler. Charlotte Rampling is great as Reverend Mother Mohiam, guarding lifetimes of secrets about the Bene Geserit sisterhood that are very much in play behind the scenes.

Chalamet and Zendaya have great chemistry together, fleshing out their characters much more than in the first film. Skarsgard's make up and body suit took 8 hours to apply every day. He's incredible (and gross).

Babs OIusanmokun (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds) is very good as Jamis, a Fremen warrior who plays a pivotal role in Paul's acceptance among the tribe.

The cinematography by Greig Fraser (Rogue One, The Batman) overloads your eyeballs while the sound design team spins your head in every direction during the action. Hans Zimmer's music score fills much of the film and builds off the groundwork he laid in Part One, adding additional themes and action music to the battle sequences.

The film also had some great surprises as well, none of which I'll reveal here.

There's also a very subtle reference tribute to David Lynch in a visual reference to "Blue Velvet". Can you find it?

It's a rare thing to find a sequel this good. Or a film that so perfectly blends humor into a very dramatic tale. Or a nearly three hour film with visuals that more closely resemble an art film than a typical sci-fi action series.

Villeneuve continues to set himself above by creating great film after great film.

There's no doubt DUNE is in the right hands with him.

Looking forward to what he does next.

I hear many Dune buffs and film fans comparing this film to "The Empire Strikes Back". HIGH praise. And more accurate and worthy than I would have anticipated going in.

DUNE PART TWO gets an A+.

"You are not prepared for what is to come..."

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