MediaFilm ReviewsDUNE PART TWO by Denis Villeneuve

DUNE PART TWO by Denis Villeneuve

This science fiction film is a sequel to “Dune” which screened in 2021. It is the second of a two-part adaptation of the original 1965 novel, “Dune”, which was authored by Frank Herbert.

DUNE: PART TWO. Starring Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Lea Seydoux and Charlotte Rampling, and an ensemble cast. Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Rated M (Science fiction themes and violence). 166 min.

Review by Peter Sheehan, Associate of Jesuit Media Australia

The political and social-scientific features of Herbert’s work is known as the “Dune Universe”, and they occur thousands of years in humanity’s future when all AI, computers, and thinking machines are banned. Vital to the survival of the universe is a harsh desert planet, Arrakis, known as Dune, and it is the only known source of a valuable substance, which is necessary for human survival. Any possession of a computer, or any machine that “thinks”, is punishable by death, and the survival liquid is the most precious substance in the Universe.

Denis Villeneuve directs and is co-producer of the film, and the movie continues the adventures of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) who joins forces with Chani (Zendaya), his lover, and the Fremen people of the desert planet, Arrakis, to wage war against the enemy. Atriedis seeks revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family, and he wants to change a terrible future that only he himself can predict. In this sequel, nine actors reprise their original role, and four new members join the cast. Principal photography was in Abu Dhabi, Budapest, Italy and Jordan, and production work occurred back to back with the original 2021 film. A special action sequence shows Atriedes riding a sand-worm into battle. Such scenes cement this film’s claim to be a very sophisticated and arresting, “fantasy adventure” movie.

PART TWO is very much an action movie. The planet, Arrakis, is the only planet where the survival substance can be found, and it is difficult to find because of the presence of giant sand-worms, who guard it, and who respond to rhythmic beats and sounds beneath the desert sands. Control of Arrakis, and the production of the survival liquid, become the centerpoints of millennia-long conflicts across the series. PART TWO addresses the politics of humanity as distinct from the future of technology that human beings might otherwise adopt. The de-emphasis on technology highlights the relevance of being human and what is necessary for humans to survive in a world without technical aids. Such an emphasis gives the movie strong contemporary relevance. The Dune Universe is also a spiritual melting pot which is inclusive: it incorporates a variety of religious belief systems, that embraces Catholicism, Judaism, and Hinduism.

The movie is technically brilliant, thematically challenging, and addresses the emotional complexity of its key characters. It is an impressive fantasy sequel, but its action is often very brutal which necessarily restricts age-appeal. The stature of the Dune Universe rivals the complexity of other fictional works such as “Star Wars” and “The Lord of the Rings”. The film tackles the complexity of Atreides, by painting him as a person subject to a lust for power, and human desire, and his wanting vengeance expresses a dark side that is pointedly anti-hero.

Epic battles, and giant sand-worms make this film’s fantasy-world-of-action a compelling depiction of the imaginative force of Villeneuve’s direction. Overall, this is a fantasy-adventure movie that is a very impressive sequel, that forcefully anticipates a “Holy War” ahead.

Peter W. Sheehan is an Associate of Jesuit Media


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