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A Spoiler-Free Take on Dune: Part Two

Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler, and Florence Pugh in a movie together? Sign me up. As a huge fan of all four, of course I attended the opening night showing of Dune: Part Two in my city and I have some thoughts–all spoiler-free. 


Dune: Part Two, 2024 ©

Now, I need to preface this by saying that I am not a lover of sci-fi movies. I grew up watching every Star Wars film with my younger brother and an episode of the original Star Trek television series here and there with my Dad, but I never actively sought out sci-fi media. That was until they announced they were remaking Dune, which would star Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya. I watched the first film (released in 2021) of Denis Villeneuve’s remake trilogy on the floor of my friend’s dorm room with five of us gathered around a laptop. The film, while cinematically beautiful, felt very slow to all of us, and it wasn’t until the ending that we were aware there would be a second installment. I can’t lie when I say I wasn’t thrilled that I would have to sit through another one of these films. And I say ‘have to’ because if one of my favorite actors is in something, I will watch it regardless of what it is. Then it was announced that two more of my favorite actors, Austin Butler and Florence Pugh, would be joining the already star-studded cast, and I got a bit more excited for the film.


The film was originally supposed to be released in October 2023, then was pushed to November of the same year, before being pushed to March 1, 2024 due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, this was a brilliant choice because this film deserved the press tour that it got. 


Overall, I thought the film was excellent – and I don’t use that word lightly. Now once again, it is important to note that I have not read the Frank Herbert books and did not see the original Dune movie from 1984, so those may have been helpful in my understanding of the film but I don’t think it made a massive difference.  I made sure to see the showing in IMAX to get the full experience which this was such a good decision and I wouldn’t have wanted to see it any way else. The score by Hans Zimmer shook the entire theater, and I truly felt it in my core. The cinematography was just beautiful and the SFX were fantastic. It is such a large-scale film and you can’t help but think the sheer number of people that went in to making it the masterpiece that it is. 


The plot and acting in this sequel are far more advanced than in the first movie. Timothée Chalamet proves that he was the perfect and the only choice to play Paul Atredies, and you could almost say that it was the role he was born to play. Zendaya is thankfully in more than six minutes this go around as Chani and proves her acting chops in what I think is such a departure than what she is used to. Austin Butler though is my MVP of the film. He ties everything together with his utterly horrifying and unrecognizable character Feyd-Rautha. Is it too early to say that the Academy should be etching Chalamet’s and Butler’s names on the respective Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars?


 Florence Pugh– while still amazing–gets the Zendaya treatment from the first film, but I can already tell that she will play a much larger role in the third installment tentatively titled Dune: Messiah. Other notable performances include those of Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Dave Bautista. The cast is an ensemble of Hollywood legends who all blend together in such a pleasing way.


This movie was a masterclass in science fiction, and if you asked me an hour before watching it if I would be excited for the next one, I’d be stunned. So, I guess I am left stunned because I am genuinely looking forward to Villeneuve’s next installment. I think the fact that he made someone like me, who does not typically enjoy science fiction, enjoy it and want more, is a true testament to how good this film was and to his craft as a director and storyteller. I would recommend Dune: Part Two to anyone who wants to spend the day at the movie theater and leave throguhouly entertained. You do not have to be a sci-fi lover to enjoy this film. However, I do think you need to watch the first film before venturing to the sequel. 


Go see Dune: Part Two in theaters now. (I would see it in IMAX!)


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