April 14, 2024

DUNE: PART TWO (2024) – Quite possibly the best science fiction adventure ever made!


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Director Denis Villeneuve has probably reached a personal milestone best in his career with Dune: Part Two. He has crafted a science fiction adventure that is spellbinding from start to finish. He is truly a masterclass film maker to be able to make use of the best of current film technology to translate onto the screen the magnificent and complex story that is based on the 1965 science fiction classic by Frank Herbert. We had already bore witness to his expertise with Dune: Part One where he presented a vividly creative universe in which the story resides. With Dune: Part Two he has achieved what many film makers struggle to do, which is to make a follow-up that is even better than its predecessor.

Watching Dune: Part Two, I immediately could appreciate the benefit of having seen Dune: Part One which served to provide the set-up and foundation of the core story. Part Two takes its time telling its story with its captivating characters drawing you attention to the plot rather than be distracted by the visuals. This is especially apparent in the film’s first hour which focus mainly on Paul Atreides and his mother’s assimilation and control over the Freman tribe. No distractions from side storylines on what’s happening elsewhere until later.

There is so much to be amazed at here. We have a wonderful cast that is like a list of Hollywood’s who’s who. To their credit many of the supporting acts did not go unnoticed even though some were brief as their characters were so well defined and illustrated. Timothee Chalamet was given far more opportunity to show us what he is capable of as his character grows more and more confident. Zendaya provided a perfect chemistry to the love hate romantic sentiments to the story. Perhaps the most outstanding supporting role came from Austin Butler as the psychotic killing machine Feyd-Rautha. His menacing appearance and demeanor alone makes his character more frightening than any special effects.

Talking about special effects, this film has managed to not only use them to seamlessly integrate into the landscape but also make them look flawlessly believable. The gigantic sandworms looked awesome and the desert like terrains of the planet Arrakis (aka Dune) blends in like a character of its own. As if these visual excellence isn’t enough, director Denis Villeneuve takes them a step further by bathing the movie in a rich tapestry of colour or framing his scenes with a background that stands out. For example, the final fight scene between Paul and Feyd is framed with their silhouette against a sunset, and the scene where Feyd fights a slave gladiator in an arena is bathed in a stunning and glowing black and white hue.

Finally, the movie ends with a proper closure and not with some gimmicky cliff hanger to set the stage for more to come. There are of course a lot more story in the Dune Chronicles that was written by Frank Herbert but Dune: Part Two provides a proper ending that can be treated as final or an opening for a next chapter. It is only March and uncharacteristically early to declare a best film for the year, but Dune: Part Two is a tough act to follow!

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