'Dune: Part Two' Review — A visual spectacle for the new age

Releasing on February 29 in theatres across the UAE, Denis Villeneuve’s second instalment of the Dune series packs a punch with jaw-dropping visuals, action and music that’s haunting


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Thu 22 Feb 2024, 5:50 PM

Last updated: Fri 23 Feb 2024, 9:50 AM

“This is just the beginning.”

Zendaya’s Chani was right to conclude the first instalment of Dune: Part One on this note. In that statement was hidden the wonder that the second part would be offering and it has to be said that Dune: Part Two pretty much lives up to that claim. In the first film, Paul Atreides (Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Ferguson) end up joining the Fremen tribe of Arrakis, the desert that houses ‘spice’ that all warlords are fighting over. Dune: Part Two picks up the pieces from the first instalment of the film, based on Frank Herbert’s epic 1956 novel, and delivers a spectacle that won’t be easy to match.

In Dune: Part Two, Paul and Jessica integrate with the Fremen tribe, as they meet Stilgar (Javier Bardem, who ups his comic game in this instalment of the Dune series). In the meanwhile, House Harkonnen continues its search for Paul and Jessica with the recovering Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) putting his nephew Glossu Rabban Harkonnen (Dave Bautista) on the job. Bautista embodies Rabban’s conflict, a tough man who is deeply fearful on the inside, effortlessly, and it is this contradiction that makes him so watchable in the film.

In Dune: Part Two, Paul has evolved from a boy escaping death to a leader of a persecuted tribe. Gone is the adult cuteness and what comes forth is a performance that is self-assured and lives up to the title of 'Lisan al-Gaib'. Overcoming the challenges that Stilgar and Bene Gesserit have put him through to test his resilience, Paul is now the very leader he once envisioned himself to be. But he, too, is fighting demons of his own.

If Dune: Part Two truly stands out in comparison to the previous film that is because even characters who had a fleeting role in Part One play a vital role in the plot here, and every actor stands out and contributes to a narrative that has gripped generations of readers. Paul’s chemistry with Chani (Zendaya) is another high point of the film. In Chani, Villeneuve has created a powerful female character, much like Jessica, that is likely to remind you of Princess Leia from the Star Wars series (as it is, the film is being compared to George Lucas’ franchise).

On the other hand, new entrants like Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter doesn’t do much for the narrative till such time the climax comes. As the bald and psychotic Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, the Baron’s youngest nephew and the successor of House Harkonnen, Austin Butler packs a punch. His character is in contrast with Rabban’s incompetence and Butler makes those scenes impactful with his screen presence. A scene shot in monochrome with Butler is likely to be applauded by the audiences.

At the heart of this visual spectacle is a technical team that has put its best foot forward in terms of special effects, cinematography (a huge shoutout to Greig Fraser), action while Hans Zimmer’s music gives a sense of the unexpected. Partly shot in Liwa, the film is also a beautiful reminder of the serenity of the desert and why it matters.

From portraying Harkonnen troops defying gravity to riding sandworms that devour everything in their way, Dune: Part Two is a cinematic masterpiece. You may not be into science fiction cinema at all, but the powerful storytelling, aided by technical brilliance, will simply draw you in. And it must be experienced in a theatre to savour the larger-than-life visuals that the team has brought to life. It is an experience you will cherish.

Dune: Part Two

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista

Stars: 4/5


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