A still from the film.

“It’s Breathtaking” Dune: Part Two Delivers

The multipart cinema experience continues to dazzle

Dune: Part Two has delivered and lived up to the hype that its predecessor bestowed upon it. The first Dune saw the downfall of House Atreides and spent most of the movie building to what was to come in the second movie. This movie felt monumental, it felt historic, it felt important to go to the theater and have this special experience. Denis Villeneuve has captured the essence of going to the theater and making it important.
“It’s breathtaking,” Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet, says sitting on the sand hills of Arrakis with Chani, played by Zendaya. Breathtaking is the perfect word to sum up this movie. The scenery and detail in each are just captivating. You find yourself constantly in awe of the desert planet. This movie relies on the sandy atmosphere whereas the first movie just scrapes the barrel of what’s to come. Villeneuve puts everything the Fremen have on display. The scenes where they hide in the sand and jump out to attack their enemies are beyond sensational. Each time I saw it I got fired up ready for the next attack. Fremen riding on sandworms with sand blasting in their face like they are surfing in the ocean was just another example of the amazing visuals in the film.
In contrast with the orange Arrakis, we visit Geidi Prime, home of the Harkonnens. Villeneuve uses the Black Sun to flip the colors of this environment and give us a dark world where the villains in the movie live. We are introduced to Feyd-Rautha, nephew to Baron Harkonnen. He is a sick and twisted individual who kills his servants and killed his mother. Feyd-Rautha is played by Austin Butler who gained mainstream fame starring as Elvis Presley in Elvis Butler gives a great performance as the psychotic Harkonnen prodigy. The emotion he portrays in his facial expressions drew me to him. I loved every scene he was in because of the unpredictability of his character. Baron Harkonnen strips Rabban Harkonnen of his position, giving it to Feyd-Rautha who revels in it and immediately puts plans into motion to attack the Fremen of Arrakis.
Along with the beautiful visuals of Dune: Part Two, the sound adds just as much to the film. Every sound effect is enhanced to make you feel like you are there. There is the sand blowing in the wind, the thumpers pounding to attract the sandworms, the explosions and shouting of war, the Fremen lunging out of the sand, and even the water being extracted from the dead. We hear it all. The IMAX experience is a necessity for Dune: Part Two. The ominous soundtrack, part of the fantastic score by world-renowned composer Hans Zimmer, accompanying Paul in many scenes is catchy yet also jarring.
Atreides goes through his own hero’s journey in this film where he must become a Fremen and also get them to believe in him as the Lisan al Gaib, a messiah. He helps them take down spice Harvesters and earns a Fremen name, becoming fully embraced by them. Throughout the film, Paul is haunted by visions and dreams of a holy war that begins when he moves south; he sees Chani burn alive and refuses to go south in hopes to avoid his dreams coming to fruition. Gurney Halleck, played by Josh Brolin, tries to explain to Paul that he must use his name and get the power to take down the Harkonnen. He says to Paul that he sees the visions “because you lose control,” to which Paul responds, “because I gain it.”
Chalamet does a fantastic job selling this inner battle that Paul has, constantly fighting the pressures of his mother and the burden of losing his great house, not diving headfirst into all-out war. After a war council is called in the south and he gets a dream where he sees his sister telling him to drink the Water of Life, he decides to go south and do what he must. In a fantastic scene with Zendaya, he tells her “If I go south, I might lose you.” She assures him but also does some foreshadowing by saying “You will never lose me Paul Atreides, not as long as you stay who you are.”
Later having drunk the Water of Life his whole demeanor changes. He gains foresight and sees everything. In the war council, he uses his new powers to intimidate but also inspire the Fremen. He puts on a passionate display of power and confidence, promising a green paradise. Whether that is because it is what he sees or it is something that he knows the Fremen want to hear to manipulate them is up to us as the viewers to interpret.
The shot of Chalamet standing tall over the Fremen army shouting “Long live the fighters” was an excellent example of how amazing this movie was put together. Paul and Feyd-Rautha come face-to-face in a duel to determine the next emperor and who will take Princess Irulan’s hand in marriage, the Emperor’s daughter. The final fight scene was done, in my opinion, perfectly. Drowning out any other sound besides some gasps from the crowd, Atreides and Feyd-Rautha fight with their blades and all we hear are their grunts and the blades hitting each other. Atreides gets stabbed twice and the deep breaths that Chalamet lets out make you feel how much pain he is in. He winds up taking a blade out of his body and kills Feyd-Rautha, becoming the next Emperor.
The movie ends with the news that the great houses will not accept Paul as the emperor and Chani riding off on a sandworm. The holy war that Paul wanted to avoid is what we will see in the third installment.

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