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  • Lily Warden

“Dune: Part Two” Worms its Way into Theaters

By: Lily Warden

“Dune: Part Two”, the sequel to “Dune: Part One”, rocked movie theaters during its opening weekend. The film made $82.5 million in North America and $182.5 million globally, making it the biggest domestic opening of 2024. The film series is based on the 1965 novel “Dune”, by Frank Herbert, which is one of the most successful science fiction novels of all time.  Director Denis Villeneuve brings audiences back to the deserts of Arrakis and creates a compelling and immersive story worth seeing in theaters. 

 Movie Poster, credit to: Rotten Tomatoes

Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya return to the big screen to reprise their previous roles from “Dune: Part One”. Chalamet reprises his role as Paul Atreides, the main protagonist of the film. Fans of “Dune: Part One” will be excited to see Zendaya fully step into her role of Chani in a drastic improvement from her small appearances in the first film. Other actors include Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha, Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, and Christoper Walken as The Emperor. 


“Dune: Part Two” opens with a brief overview of “Dune: Part One” narrated by Princess Irulan Corrion. We then see the main protagonist, Paul Atreides, and his mother, Lady Jessica, where “Dune: Part One” left, with the two following the Fremen back to their base on Arrakis. Throughout the film, we follow Paul and his journey to integrate into Freman culture. In the process, Paul befriends Chani and the two eventually start a romantic relationship. He then starts to learn the Freman’s language and takes part in traditional Freman customs.  


At the same time, Lady Rebecca continues her efforts from “Dune: Part One”, convincing the Fremen that Paul is the Lisan al Gaib, the legendary off-world messiah prophesied to save the Fremen. Paul and Lady Rebecca use the faith and the support of the Fremen to reach their ultimate goal of seeking revenge on the conspirators who destroyed their family. 

Still shot, credit: People

One of the most breathtaking parts of the film is the setting. The film mostly takes place on the desert terrain of Arrakis. Though the environment is mostly sand, the film still has dynamic movement through light, particularly the clever usage of shadows. Furthermore, these lighting effects bring a personality to the barren land, making the desert seem inviting or intimidating based on the tone of each scene and allows for a neutral background to keep the focus on the characters conversations.  


In addition to the immersive setting, the acting of the cast is incredible. Chalamet and Zendaya did a fantastic job complementing each other as leads. It can be difficult for such well-known actors to not take the audience out of the film with their notoriety, but Chalamet and Zendaya give show-stopping performances. For example, Chalamet’s performance as Paul was phenomenal, as we see his character go through an extensive character arc from start to finish. I enjoyed Austin Butler’s performance as well. In addition, the intense, warrior nature of Feyd-Rautha, who Butler plays, is a refreshing change of pace from the characters he normally plays in films. Bulter’s performance alongside Chalament and Zendaya is a pleasantly underrated addition to the film. 

Hans Zimmerman’s score is another fantastic element of the film. The music does the perfect job of encapsulating the futuristic, dystopian feel of the Arrakis deserts. I especially thought the use of the vocal singing motif was used effectively in the film. The motif consists of a female voice singing an ethereal and powerful vocal rift. Carrying over from “Dune: Part One”, the motif is used whenever we see a shift in Paul’s characterization and does a wonderful job of clueing audiences into important plot elements throughout the film. The music is another element of the fantastic world building found within “Dune: Part Two”, and I believe the music in “Dune: Part Two” does a better job of encapsulating the feel of Arrakis than the first film. 


The only criticism I have is that I felt the pacing could be slow at times. Between such high intensity action scenes, some scenes felt slow in comparison. Though these scenes were less attention grabbing, they serve the overall purpose of creating world building through dialogue. The fantastic performance from the actors combined with the immersive world building and the overall plot made up for the slower scenes. 


Overall, “Dune: Part Two” is a remarkable film full of action in a breathtaking environment. If you love the Star Wars franchise or just love science fiction movies in general, “Dune: Part Two” is a must-see film. It would not be surprising to see this franchise become a series that defines the current science fiction genre for years to come. 


Summary: Based on Frank Herbet’s 1965 novel “Dune”, “Dune: Part Two” is delightful sequel to “Dune: Part One”. Fans of the first film will enjoy the action, scenery, music  and acting performances found within the film. If you are a fan of science fiction, “Dune: Part Two” is a must-see film in theaters.  


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