Review: Dune Part Two

Timothee Chalamet Dune Part Two

In Dune: Part Two, Denis Villeneuve’s second dive into Herbert’s sci-fi saga starts off strong, weaving an intense narrative with a gritty focus on the main character. Dune: Part Two brings a mind-blowing spectacle, occasionally pushing beyond the source material’s boundaries. With everything laid out in Part One, the narrative is liberated from the burden of explaining extensive history and politics.

This installment begins right where Part One left off, Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his mom, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), hustle to team up with the Fremen against the ruthless Harkonnens, still sucking spice from the Fremen turf. In the mix, Paul’s romantic feelings with the Fremen warrior Chani (Zendaya) while wrestling with messed-up glimpses into his own twisted future. Meanwhile, Lady Jessica navigates the survival drill among the Fremen in exile. The young Duke of House Atreides isn’t buying into the destiny labeled as Lisan al Gaib. For many, like tribe honcho Stilgar (Javier Bardem), Paul’s journey screams divine fate. The Bene Gesserit’s prophecy has seeped into Fremen tribes, but Paul’s still an outsider, making some jittery. Lady Jessica aims to ride the fear wave, choreographing the prophecy, with her eye on becoming the Fremen’s new Reverend Mother. Paul, though, slams the brakes on that plan, vouching for Fremen liberation by one of their own. He jumps into the fight, getting closer to Chani along the way.

Stilgar becomes Paul’s desert guide, schooling him in the ways of survival, including taming the colossal sandworms. Under this new mentorship  Paul’s visions of the future gain strength. He foresees an impending Holy War and is dead set on preventing it. Chani falls for this version of Paul, an outsider striving to liberate her people without seizing control. Meanwhile, Lady Jessica’s pregnancy deepens with Paul foreseeing a future sister. Using the unborn child to her advantage, she manipulates Paul, leveraging the pregnancy to sway him toward accepting the prophecy. Caught between romance with Chani and a predetermined destiny, Paul’s character arc unfolds tragically and, frankly, horrifyingly.

Now we get to Austin Butler. He embodies Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen with a horrifying, sadistic presence. Feyd, the warped and malevolent character, slithers into the narrative halfway through, dispatched by his uncle Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) to crush the Fremen uprising on Arrakis. His belated arrival amplifies the horror, especially when he’s gruesomely introduced in the gladiator pits. When finally confronting Chalamet’s Paul Muad’dib, the screen pulsates with a disturbing energy. Butler’s magnetic presence drags Dune: Part Two into a nightmarish dimension, yet the most horrific performance may come from Rebecca Ferguson. She delves deep into the corruption of her own son, Lady Jessica’s actions ensuring she stands as the epitome of vileness.

As Harkonnen raids, orchestrated by the merciless Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, grow deadlier, draining Arrakis of its resources and posing an existential threat to the Fremen, the call for an escalated resistance becomes urgent. Recognizing the need for meticulous planning, strategic cunning, and united manpower, the Fremen must forge a collective strength to confront their brutal adversaries. With the desire for a prophesied leader to unite them, the Fremen grapple with the challenge of standing up against their ruthless rivals.

The film maintains a consistent high standard, devoid of weak moments or performances. Notably, Rebecca Ferguson and Austin Butler shine as true standouts. Butler tackles a more flamboyant villain role, while Ferguson brings a measured intensity that leaps off the screen.  As Paul charges into battle against the Harkonnen, the pulse of action and tension surges through. 

The film’s writing delves into profound themes like prophecy and power within the narrative. The characters undergo immensely satisfying development, making this sequel undeniably compelling. Like the first film, Part Two dazzles visually yet this time, everything unfolds on a grander scale—more immense, more awe-inspiring, and with heightened action. Despite being almost three-hours , it remains utterly captivating, and a somber and haunting film.

Dune Part Two is in threatres now.