Dune 2 (Dune: Part 2) Hollywood Movie Review


Dune 2 Movie Review: Dune – Part Two, the long-awaited sequel now finally in cinemas. This is a statement that can easily be extrapolated from its context and used as a key to understanding the entire film, which puts aside "the rules of the heart" to make a broad display of aesthetic and technical control. Which certainly satisfies the eye, but makes the entire film appear rather emotionally dry.

Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) therefore takes us back to the universe imagined in the 1960s by writer Frank Herbert, adapting the second and third parts of the first novel of the Dune Cycle together with Jon Spaihts. In doing so, having an even more impressive budget than that of the previous film, Villeneuve lives up to his promises of giving life to Part Two conceived as an epic war work, as opposed to the more contemplative Part One. Here, a greater dose of action is added to the aesthetic refinement, but the saga continues to appear so controlled as to suffocate every emotion.

Dune 2 Movie Plot:

Dune – Part Two picks up where the previous film left off. Following his escape into the desert of Arrakis together with his mother Lady Jessica and the Fremen, Paul Atreides begins to plot his revenge against the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and consequently against Emperor Shaddam IV who hatched the plan with him to destroy House Atreides. First, however, Paul will have to learn to understand the spirit of the desert in-depth, continuing his training as a Freman and accepting his role as "Mahdi", or the messiah prophesied by the people of the desert. In assuming this power, however, he will have to make extremely painful choices.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Dune 2 Movie Analysis:

Equally stimulating is what Dune – Part Two wants to tell us, making the political and religious aspects of Herbert's work further prevail regarding themes such as the exploitation of resources, the subjugation with fear of a people, and the blind conviction of this last in the arrival of a Messiah capable of restoring the earthly paradise. Themes with more references to our contemporary than to the one in which Herbert wrote Dune and which we experience through the gaze of Paul Atreides who, albeit abruptly, makes a further evolution as a tormented and ambiguous hero, perhaps in a diametrically opposite way to what his father was.

Dune 2 A world of suffocated emotions:

As mentioned at the beginning, this grandiose aesthetic display and its obsessive control lead Dune – Part Two to re-propose what was also the main "defect" of the first film, that is, an excess of rigor that dampens emotional involvement. However, one must not think that Villeneuve is a cold and detached director, nor that the characters in the film are devoid of their own complex inner world, but the ambition to convey everything in the most precise, faithful, and surprising way possible suffocates the heart, just as Paul suppresses his feelings for Chani.

It is therefore not surprising that it is precisely the latter that is easy to identify with. Helpless spectator of the perverse greatness to which Paul is abandoning himself, Chani turns out to be the wounded and cast aside the heart of the story, an aspect that Zendaya returns with poignant transparency thanks to a frowning look, trembling lips or sighs that are worth more than a thousand words. Just like Chani, the spectator too - or at least the one who will recognize himself in this point of view - will see an extraordinary work being carried out where, however, no room for imperfection gives soul and humanity and where one hardly feels involved into the point of fearing for the lives of the protagonists.

Of course, this very septicity could be understood as the mirror of what progressively happens to the protagonist and his world (remembering the reason why Leto Atreides was eliminated), but certainly, the concentration required of the spectator for two and forty hours is no small feat, considering the narrative complexity of the story. Not that Dune – Part Two had to be equipped with those playful and childish elements that today's blockbusters often abuse, but it certainly requires a lot without giving back much emotionally.

An example of this is how the relationship between Paul and Chani is managed, with choices that although could be defended as faithful to the novel, cinematically break the journey towards a climax that could otherwise have been much more incisive. Perhaps it is also precisely the lack of homogeneity with which the various sequences of the story are written and managed (see also how the beginning and end of the battle is hastily declared) that affects the formation of a more complex and lasting emotional spectrum than It's easy to be entranced by the visual beauty.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Dune: Part 2 Visuals:

Dune is undoubtedly the great science fiction saga of our times (along with James Cameron's Avatar). It is because of the ambitions that Villeneuve demonstrates in his staging ideas; his obstinate loyalty to Herbert's novel; his search for the material element alongside the CGI special effects; and his demand for the best in the sound sector, scenography, photography, and every other technical aspect; for his demonstration of the strong references to the present of a story composed now about sixty years ago; but above all for its being a work with precise authorial intentions aimed at a mass audience.

These characteristics are enough to make Dune - understood in its entirety - a work to be praised, as it sets objectives that are undoubtedly fascinating and not within everyone's reach. Villeneuve - now to be identified together with Christopher Nolan as an author capable of bringing his own authorship to genre films and even more so to blockbusters - evidently dedicates body and soul to giving shape to Dune's iconography, taking up the aesthetic discourses with Dune - Part Two and narratives of the previous film and focusing with greater vigor on a visual spectacle that without too many surprises proves to have few equals nowadays.

With this new Dune – Part Two we therefore take a journey to the sacred places of Arrakis, in the angular and dark palaces of power, crossing imposing amphitheaters for gladiators and vast battlefields, all strictly at the gallop of the mammoth sandworms. And again, exciting long shots, eloquent close-ups, and visual experiments: Villeneuve offers a wider range of scenarios that partially breaks the iconographic monotony of the previous film, making a world that has already proven convincing in 2021 even more fascinating and which will hardly fail to excite spectator interested in rediscovering these aspects.