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  • Writer's pictureRua Fay

"Dune Part Two:" A Modern Masterpiece

After years of anxiously waiting, Denis Villeneuve's second installment in the Dune trilogy finally hit theaters. With a star-studded class of A-listers, an iconic story, and a gargantuan budget of nearly $200 million, fans were eagerly waiting to see what Villeneuve and company would bring to the big screen. And on March 1st, they got their long awaited answer.

Dune is a sci-fi franchise by Frank Herbert, initially published in 1965, garnering a cult following throughout the years. The first film adaptation of Dune was actually in 1984, directed by the legendary, David Lynch, starring Kyle McLachlan, Brad Dourif, and Sting. This ended up being a much too ambitious undertaking for 1984, and the film received mostly negative reviews. In 2021, Canadian director, Denis Villeneuve revived the series by coming out with another film adaptation, and this time he wanted to get it right. Despite being released in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dune was a massive success, grossing over $430 million at the box office and debuted with a score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Needless to say, Villeneuve's Dune was a major success.

Dune follows the story of Duke Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet, as his family gains control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only planet that contains an incredibly valuable substance called Spice. Arrakis is inhabited by the indigenous people, the Fremen and giant monstrous sand worms. Shortly after arriving, House Atreides is overthrown by their rival House Harkonnen and Paul and his mother, Jessica are exiled into the desert. Overall, Dune is similar to other sci-fi epics like Star Wars, with a strong message of greed and exploitation with some biblical inspirations. Think of Paul Atreides as Luke Skywalker if he was born a billionaire. It's an incredibly gripping story with a wealth of lore to dive into, a worthy franchise for anyone who gravitates towards anything nerdy.

Dune Part Two can be an understandably intimidating film for some people, considering its nearly three hour runtime, but those who have the patience will be treated to a quintessential sci-fi masterpiece.

Dune Part Two leaves off right where the first one ended, Paul and Jessica have been adopted into the Fremen clan consisting of Stilgar, played by Javier Bardem, and Chani, played by Zendaya. This film further expands on the lore of the Fremen, including their traditions, culture, technology, and their overall way of life. The Fremen, especially Stilgar believes that Paul is the "Lisan al-Gaib" which is another term for the messiah. Paul is hesitant to accept this at first but gradually starts believing it more and more as the film goes on, which makes you want to keep watching for as long as possible. Timothée Chalamet gives a stellar performance as Paul Atreides.

Speaking of great performances, Dune: Part Two introduces Austin Butler as Feyd Rautha Harkonnen, the nephew of Baron Vladimir Harokennen, played by Stellan Skårsgard. Feyd Rautha is easily the best part of this movie, he shows up an hour in and from his first appearance, he is utterly magnetic and intimidating. Every time he went off-screen I found myself eagerly waiting for his return.

When it comes to blockbuster films like these, one element that's often overlooked is costume design, despite it being an incredibly important aspect of filmmaking. And designer Jacqueline West deserved the absolute highest praise for her work, I suspect she'll receive an Oscar nod next year.

In terms of production design and special effects, Dune Part Two is truly one of the most impressive movies I've ever seen. It's humongous budget definitely shows, you can tell that only the best of the best were chosen to work on this movie. At times, its almost hard to believe that it was filmed on Earth and not some far-off galaxy. Everything down to the sound mixing is 100% perfect. All of that combined with the script's attentiveness to the lore and the amazing performances make Dune Part Two an incredibly immersive experience. If you are able, I would highly recommend seeing this in a 4D theater, this is a movie meant to be seen on the big screen.

I did not grow up with Dune like I did with Star Wars, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the lore or story and that I would end up lost and bored, but I couldn't have been more wrong. It hasn't really been since Marvel's heyday that we've gotten to experience a blockbuster film as ambitious and monumental as Dune. And I hope that these films introduce a new generation of fans to discover and obsess over this truly amazing series. Make sure that this month, you make time for a three hour trip to Arrakis.

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