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  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two is a 2024 Warner Bros. movie directed by Denis Villeneuve. The script was written by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts. It is based on Dune, the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert. The movie stars Timothée Chalamet with support from Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and Javier Bardem. Hans Zimmer did the score. It had a budget of $190-million and is being released theatrically today, March 1, 2024.

A lot has been made of Dune: Part Two’s press tour being an excuse to show off the good looks of the cast. I am happy to report that these hot people are also spectacular at their job. Chalamet has, once again, proven that he is a generational talent and the best male actor working today. He had stiff competition in Dune: Part Two, with Butler, Brolin and Bardem all giving stellar performances. Still, Chalamet outshines them all. Watching Dune: Part Two, I did not see Chalamet or Wonka or Lee from Bones and All; I only saw Paul Atreides. From the moment he came on screen to the moment he departed, Chalamet embodied this role with incomprehensible skill. Look no further than the duality he showed between a love scene with Zendaya in the first act and his epic speech during a religious ceremony in the third act. Butler, on the other hand, needed a role like this to silence any doubts regarding his inability to drop character after filming 2022’s Elvis. His performance as the villainous Feyd-Rautha will make the hair stand up on your neck. In his eyes, one only sees brutality and pleasure in pain. He’s viciously intense and demands our attention with every second of his screentime. Zendaya developed her character, Chani, brilliantly. She has mastered the art of having the face betray what the character wants to portray. Chani is a hardened woman whose vulnerability is only exposed through Zendaya’s subtilty, whether that be a furrowed brow or a miniscule eyelid twitch. These little details humanize this strong-willed character who became one of my favourites by the movie’s end.

With cinematographer Greg Fraser, Villeneuve has made another visually stunning movie. The colour palette of Dune: Part Two is spectacular, with the brown reds of Arrakis, the black and white of Stellan Skarsgård and Butler’s House Harkonnen, and the lush environment of Christopher Walken and Pugh’s palace all balancing to create a rich and diverse world. Along with the breathtaking locations, it is the director’s control of the camera that makes this movie epic. Villeneuve weaves a tight narrative in an epic world that does not relish in its grandeur. He shoots with deft control of each frame and everything feels like it’s in exactly the right place.

If I had to have one complaint… In a movie with such detail in its story and world, the love story of Chalamet and Zendaya comes off as thin. They have one falling-in-love scene and it is smeared with over-orchestration from Zimmer. The music tries to direct the audience’s emotions on a relationship that had not, at that point, earned the right to tug on our heartstrings. The same over-orchestration happens at the penultimate peak of their relationship. It felt like Villeneuve and Zimmer used music to manipulate the audience’s feelings for a subplot that was not fully fleshed out. Zendaya and Chalamet’s scenes together are charming, but their relationship could have used more personal details regarding why they fell in love with each other.

Let’s hope that Dune Messiah, the sequel book to Dune, gets greenlit because these first two movies demand a conclusion for a potentially all-time-great trilogy. It’s epic movies like Dune: Part Two that makes it worthwhile to visit the cinema. Not only are you getting epic settings, gorgeous costumes and punching sound design, but you’re also getting a story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Dune: Part Two is modern cinema at its spectacular peak.

A still from Dune: Part Two. A man stands on a cliff above a sea of people. The man holds up a dagger as his cloak flaps in the wind. The man is entirely in shadow.

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