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Home > Dune: Part Two (2024): A Review

Dune: Part Two (2024): A Review

Image courtesy IMDB I Zendaya as Chani and Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part 2

Director Villeneuve Delivers a Storytelling Masterpiece

When Dune: Part One was released in December of 2021, many moviegoers left the theaters scratching their heads, wondering what they had just watched. It was visually stunning, and the score became iconic and monumental in the history of tailoring music for film. Still, it fell into the trap almost all book-to-movie adaptations make. It had assumed virtually everyone who came to watch the film had read the books or had some prior knowledge of the Dune series. It was hard to follow, felt slow-paced, and, surprisingly, did little to no world-building. The same cannot be said for Dune: Part Two.

Dune: Part Two was released to theaters globally on March 1, 2024, and has already racked in nearly $200 million against a 190 million dollar budget. If these numbers alone don’t speak for the masterpiece of the film, theatergoers are floored by the upbeat pacing, the groundbreaking visuals, notable performances, and world-building that will have viewers immediately invested in the story arc. The second film in the franchise follows Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) as he reels from the horrific events enacted on his familial bloodline by a rival house and learns the ways of the Freman: a group of people living in the desert of Arrakis. He befriends a few Freman, including Chani (Zendaya), who teach him the ways of the desert; however, as Paul begins to plot his revenge and fulfill an ancient prophecy, he must decide between the love of his life and preventing a future only he can see. The film stars Austin Butler as Feyd Rautha, Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Christopher Walken as the Emperor, and Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Harkonnen. The compelling film was directed by Denis Villeneuve and distributed by Warner Brother Pictures.

A Well-Balanced Pace 

Dune: Part Two is 166 minutes long. While this number may seem short compared to recent films like Oppenheimer (180 minutes) and Killers of the Flower Moon (206 minutes), it’s still a substantial amount of time to demand from the audience. However, the film doesn’t drag on. The pacing is perfectly spaced with a constant beat that keeps the story flowing in a rhythmic pattern. A perfect example of this is when Paul is learning the ways of the Freman, learning to ride giant worms and how the Fremen bury their dead. There is a moment when viewers are thrown back into Harkonnen territory for an introduction of a new character. Viewers meet Feyd Rautha: a ruthless warrior brought up by his uncle, Baron Harkonnen, to lead Harkonnen’s army against the Fremen. But first, Feyd must duel a few remaining survivors from the Atreides house in a fight to the death, thus proving his place as commander. It’s a scene that could have easily been added toward the latter half of the film but was placed in the middle for several reasons. Firstly, while Paul learns the lifestyle of the Fremen is interesting, too many scenes of him wandering the desert could have slowed the film down. Since Butler’s character was introduced in such a violent and bloody fashion, the pacing was strong. Secondly, if it had been added to the movie’s second half, it would have felt lopsided; all of the action would have taken place in the last hour, which was a mistake that Dune: Part One made. 

Image courtesy of Bloody Disgusting I Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part 2

Performances Brought Life to Arrakis 

The fantasy and sci-fi genre has always been challenging to tackle in a live-action setting. Animation makes for an accessible platform for these genres because it’s simple enough to make the unbelievable more relatable. In contrast, live-action is limited by things like the human body, effects, and location. Most live-action sci-fi and fantasy movies are cringeworthy; scripts seem tropey, and the acting feels forced. However, the performances in Dune: Part Two makes the world of Dune come to life, veering away from the realm of cringy fantasy movies. The two leading stars, Zendaya and Chalamet, deliver breathtaking performances that will have viewers wishing they had more screen time. Their chemistry is immeasurable as their two characters navigate the inner workings of a nasty, bloody war that leaves them with little room to make their own choices. Butler also gives such a chilling performance that audiences now see his range as an actor. Butler has reported that one particular moment with Baron Harkonnen was improvised, and this small example speaks to the brilliance of his skill as an actor. Furthermore, although Pugh has little screen time, she is a compelling Princess Irulan. Rebecca Ferguson does another brilliant job at being Paul’s mother, who, in a warped way, wants to protect her children. Last but not least, Zendaya closes out the film in the best way—leaving viewers with chills. 

A Patchwork of Groundbreaking Cinematography & Music  

Cinematographer Greig Fraser stitches together such a beautiful and engaging film. All of the shots of the desert are breathtaking and add to the overall tone of the movie. The shots are minimalistic ,yet so elegant that they burn in the memories of the viewers long after the movie has ended.

The costume design is another magical element of the film that makes Dune: Part Two much more successful. From Chani’s blue band that she wears on her head and arm when going into battle, to the elaborate dressings of Lady Jessica as the Reverend Mother, each piece of fabric, each stitching, feels like a work of art in and of itself.

As for the score, it’s magnificent, combining raw sound with music that drowns the moviegoer in a sci-fi sound bath. All of these elements help the world-building of Arrakis feel natural and relatable, leaving viewers wanting more, and proving the power of Villenueve as a director.  

Watch the Rise of Paul Atreides 

Overall, Dune: Part Two has redeemed the franchise and brought the beloved book series to life in a way far beyond imagination. From its high ratings to the overall positive reception of the film, it’s worth the price of a movie ticket and the 166-minute sit-time. Dune: Part Two is playing now in theaters worldwide. 

Image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly I Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Austin Butler as Feyd Rautha in Dune: Part 2

Dune: Part Two Official Warner Bros. Trailer

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I am an aspiring author living and working out of Honolulu, Hawaii. I received my bachelor's degree in Art History at Westmont College and then pursued a master's in Museum Studies at the University of Hawaii. I am currently working on a few novels, and am thankful for the opportunity to expand my creative writing voice at Dead Talk Live.

Elisabeth joined Dead Talk News in 2022 and loves movies and TV! After working for various sites, including Screen Rant and Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Elisabeth joined DTN to critique and review various movies, from horror flicks to Disney live-actions.