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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

‘Dune: Part Two’ — Continuing the journey across Arrakis

“Dune: Part Two” is another unconventional blockbuster that ultimately succeeds on a technical level, but its slow-paced storytelling will be divisive for many.
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Warner Bros

“Dune: Part Two” is an American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve. It is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune,” and serves as the sequel to Villeneuve’s 2021 movie adaptation. The plot follows Paul Atriedes (Timothée Chalamet) as he unites with the Fremen people to wage war against the House Harkonnen army. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista and Christopher Walken.

In December 2020, Warner Brothers Studios planned to release Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune simultaneously in theaters and on streaming, a COVID-era release model that caused many films released to underperform financially. Even with the challenging circumstances, Warner Bros. would likely avoid greenlighting the sequel to the first film if they didn’t see an immediate profit and critical success. With a nearly $450 million worldwide gross and ten Oscar nominations, it’s safe to say “Dune: Part One” blew all expectations out of the water. 

There isn’t a director in Hollywood who works more efficiently and with higher standards than Denis Villeneuve. Those standards are reflected in the talent of all cast and crew members. Director of Photography Grieg Fraser builds on the foundation he laid in the original film by working with unusually high-contrast images that are very eye-catching and help to create the expansive world that Villeneuve was looking to build. 

Villeneuve’s longtime editor, Joe Walker, also aids in the film’s dreamlike quality with transitions between scenes that volley between feeling hypnotic and abrasive, making it an engaging watch. Just like the first film, the sound design was perfect throughout the entire movie. There were so many effects and adjustments that pair beautifully with Hans Zimmer’s score, which is another improvement on the original film, and that was one of my favorite scores he has ever done.

There isn’t a weak link in the entire cast, and actors like Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken still manage to create an impact with their limited screen time. Austin Butler gives a hilariously over-the-top performance that comes across as tongue-in-cheek, and he gets the freedom to be an erratic character, injecting some much-needed energy into the story. However, the clear standouts are Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya. There are so many layers to each of their performances, and they do an amazing job of giving this story the emotional weight it needs.

Watching the political buildup of the first movie fully unfold was extremely interesting for me as someone who wasn’t as familiar with the novels. Many might consider this decision to focus on the Fremen’s belief system and internal conflict anticlimactic, but I personally enjoyed how the film separates followers of the central prophecy of Paul and those who are opposed to it, which makes that conflict very compelling to me. However, many sequences are intentionally slow-paced, sometimes grinding the story’s tension to a halt even more so in this film than the first. 

The action sequences are few and far between, but when Villeneuve decides it’s time to pick up the pace, “Dune: Part Two” takes the form of a high-octane thriller with some of the last year’s best action. The set design shines during these sections, and the spaces they use are intricately designed. Many consider this an improvement over the first film, and there are many moments throughout that I agree with this. I do prefer “Part Two” in terms of writing and storytelling, but I also think that “Part One” has better pacing and contains more original action sequences. Therefore, I can see myself rewatching “Part One” more often. I also feel more connected to the relationship between Paul and his father in the first film, which gives “Part One” a slight advantage over “Part Two” for me.

Overall, “Dune: Part Two” is another unconventional blockbuster that ultimately succeeds on a technical level, but its slow-paced storytelling will be divisive for many. I appreciate the level of care and detail Villeneuve brought to the story through the editing, set design, and performances. If he chooses to follow up with an adaptation of “Dune: Messiah,” I’d be interested to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

About the Contributor
William Overbo
William Overbo, Staff Reporter
Will is a senior staff reporter, and this year is his first year on The Viewer. Awards: Best of SNO - The downfall of ELA education
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