Review of “Dune: Part Two”: Denis Villeneuve signs a great classic of science fiction cinema

Denis Villeneuve wasn’t kidding when he promised a sequel to Dune more ambitious and “more muscular”. At the top of his art, the Quebec filmmaker has surpassed himself by producing a second part even better than the first, an epic, spectacular and grandiose work which will undoubtedly become a classic of science fiction cinema.

Denis Villeneuve’s technical mastery was already impressive in the first part of Dunereleased in 2021. It is even more so for this sequel, shot entirely in IMAX, which masterfully meets all expectations.

By imprinting his artistic vision in each shot of Dune: Part Two, Villeneuve makes the work of Frank Herbert his own and makes it accessible to as many people as possible. Picking up the action where the previous film left us, this second chapter focuses on the destiny of Paul Atréides (Timothée Chalamet), his relationship with Chani (Zendaya), that with his mother, Dame Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and his desire for revenge on Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), all told by Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh).

Continuing in the same visual vein as the first opus, Denis Villeneuve purifies it. There is no trace of the colorful descriptions of the Sietch Tabr, of the carnal excesses of the Baron, of the details of life on the planet Giedi Prime. Also, several secondary characters have disappeared, such as Count Fenring, husband of Margot Fenring (Léa Seydoux).

These decisions, far from doing harm, allow the moviegoer (especially one who is not familiar with the saga of Frank Herbert) to concentrate on the fate that Paul must face.


Even more action

Less slow and contemplative than the first opus, this sequel is more directly focused on the action and gets to the heart of the matter more quickly. Dune: part two is packed with breathtaking action scenes and intense combat, punctuated by the powerful music of the great Hans Zimmer. Epic and fast-paced, the final hour of the film will have you glued to the edge of your seat.

Rather than overloading the screen with visual information, Villeneuve goes to a minimum, thus ensuring maximum effect in each of his shots, as during these spectacular and daring scenes of gladiator fights against Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler remarkable in a role that he totally inhabits) which he dares to shoot in infrared in order to obtain a rich and textured black and white.

The filmmaker’s audacity is also reflected in his choice to hire a linguist in order to have his actors speak in Chakobsa (the language of the Fremen) and to subtitle everything, an initiative unthinkable a few years ago in Hollywood.

The scenes between Paul Atréides and Chani, especially those in the first half of the feature film, are the strongest emotionally. The birth of their love, Paul’s discovery of Fremen culture and his adaptation to this life as a fugitive are all particularly moving moments, the desert serving as a majestic and imposing setting for magnified feelings.

A beautiful maturity

Review of “Dune: Part Two”: Denis Villeneuve signs a great classic of science fiction cinema


Timothée Chalamet also demonstrates impressive maturity in his acting. After playing a more fragile Paul Atréides in the first film, the Franco-American actor delivers a much more complex and assured performance this time which allows him to stand up to seasoned actors Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling and Christopher Walken.

The screenplay by the filmmaker and Jon Spaihts also prunes the political and spiritual aspect of the romantic work in order to make it more likely to appeal to current moviegoers. The banner of the Atreides loses its green and black colors in favor of a neutral brown, the term “jihad” is absent, we will note a single mention of “holy war”, yet at the heart of Paul’s dilemma and his desire not to not fulfill his destiny.

In the same way, Alia, a two-year-old girl, does not brutally kill the Baron, who himself ceases to be fond of young boys. But this doesn’t bother at all, because, in effectively capturing the essence of the novel, this Dune: Part Two instantly becomes a great classic of science fiction cinema.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Dune: Part Two, a science fiction film starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and Austin Butler. Showing on 1er March.

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