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The Peanut Gallery Reviews Dune: Part 2

An engrossing story with an exceptional cast and visuals make Dune: Part 2 a film that must be seen on the big screen.

Dune: Part 2 was released in theaters on 3/1/24

An Instant Sequel Classic

The original 1984 Dune is a boring snooze fest. Yes, it has developed a cult following over the years, but personally I have never been able to make it through half the film before falling asleep. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) stepping up to the plate and taking on Dune brought a lot of hope and promise. Dune: Part 1 was enjoyable, if not a bit boring, but was by far a massive upgrade on the original. The biggest issue with Part 1 is that it involved a lot of world building and just as it was about to get real good, it ended. Dune: Part 2 picked up right where the first film left off and it jumped immediately into hyperspace and didn't let off for the entirety of its 166-minute run time.

Beautiful imagery, stunts and fights that amazed the eye, and a subtle and understated, but amazing, soundtrack only add to this rich and fascinating story that takes a look at religion, faith, and the susceptibility of the masses to be easily influenced by those in power. Dune: Part 2 is a major step up from the first film and has the potential to be mentioned in the same breath as The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II when talks of greatest sequels are brought up.

Chalamet and Zendaya

Timothee Chalamet (Bones and All) really embraces the role of Paul Atreides this time around. Conflicted and faced with great challenges and responsibilities, Chalamet gives one of the strongest performances of his career as the manufactured chosen one. His chemistry with Zendaya (Euphoria) is amazing and these two actors play tremendously well off one another. It's easy to see that they are friends in real life and their relationship is the backbone of the film, as Zendaya's Chani does her best to be Paul's moral compass. The beautiful and talented Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep) is terrifying in her role as Paul's mother. She takes advantage of her powers and the zealotry on the planet to spread the seeds of what is likely to be a massive galaxy-wide holy war in Part 3.

Dune: Part 2 Newcomers

As for the newest characters to the story, I felt like Florence Pugh (Midsommar) as Princess Irulan and Christopher Walken (Suicide Kings) as the Emperor were vastly underutilized. Perhaps it's the story and they have bigger roles to come, but neither of their prescenes added much to the overall film other than their name power.

The biggest impact made by a new character came courtesy of Austin Butler (Elvis) as Feyd-Rautha, the youngest nephew of Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard). A masochist and possible challenger to the chosen one, he brings the only true challenge to Chamalet's character. I've heard it said that he is the best on-screen villain since Javier Bardem's character in No Country for Old Men, but that is just wishful thinking. He comes across as a true threat, but he's not in the film enough to make that big of an impression. The Harkonnens as a whole, especially after the effect they had on the first film, kind of went out with a whimper this time around. Their inability to fight back against the Fremen and their guerrilla tactics made them look weak, and other than the final knife fight, they posed no real challenge.

A Treat for the Eyes

The visuals for this movie were mind-blowing. We spent most of our time in the desert and it looked amazing. Sandstorms and sandworms, the effects are seamless and it truly appears as if they are riding these giant sandworms. The battles and explosions are vivid, but it is when we visit the homeworld of the Harkonnens that Villeneuve shows his true mastery of the camera. Their home world is almost devoid of color, causing the extreme paleness in the Harkonnens. The black and white of their world adds a nice contrast to the orange and desert color of Arrakis.

Buy Your Ticket

Dune: Part 2 might go down as one of the best films of the year. Beautiful imagery, mysticism and magical powers, religious tones, and prophesied saviors, combined with politics and war on a galactic scale, make for an excellent film. Visuals for days, battles and explosions that rank up there with some of the best sci-fi films; the rewatchability factor, even for a film of this length, is undeniable. An engrossing story with an exceptional cast make Dune: Part 2 a film that must be seen on the big screen. Maybe even more than once. Denis Villeneuve gives us his best film to date while simultaneously bringing Dune: Part 2 into the upper echelon of all-time great sequels. It’s a masterpiece of cinema.

PG Score: 8.75/10

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