April 15, 2024

Dune: Half Two is greater than a mere sequel. It’s a continuation, end result, and in the end a implausible elevation of every part you already beloved about director Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 movie Dune: Half One. That movie ended with Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) embracing a brand new lifestyle after virtually everybody he beloved was massacred. Right here, after a short interlude, issues decide up proper the place they left off and weave a sweeping, cautionary story of a younger man burdened by future and the way he’ll act to meet it. The movie is dense and complicated but in addition majestic and interesting on a degree the primary movie merely touched upon.

That’s saying one thing too as a result of Dune: Half One—which gained six well-deserved Oscars for technical achievement—was itself a outstanding accomplishment. This time, that degree of talent is not only again, it may be higher. Dune: Half Two appears to be like gorgeous, stuffed with pictures you’d be glad to hold in your wall. The eye to element in each body is masterful, with costumes and props that may very well be artworks on their very own. You’re feeling each sound and observe of music in your bones in addition to your coronary heart. It’s additionally fairly bizarre, totally embracing writer Frank Herbert’s voice and originality. Very similar to the primary movie, the script by Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts is crafted in such a approach that whereas each title or idea might not stick, essentially the most essential elements of the story are simple sufficient to grasp. So even in the event you don’t know your Kwisatz Haderach out of your Sietch Tabr, you get sufficient to take pleasure in it.

Chalamet as Paul.
Picture: Warner Bros.

However, once more, you’ll be able to say most of that in regards to the first movie. What distinguishes Dune: Half Two from its predecessor are the extra full and layered performances and characterizations, the escalation of pressure by way of modifying, and new additions to the forged elevating already thrilling materials. All of which begins with Paul Atreides.

That is Paul’s story. The primary movie was his story too—however now that he’s damaged, misplaced, and in a complete new tradition, Villeneuve totally focuses on the character’s development, humility, and burgeoning function. Take a snapshot of Chalamet within the movie’s first scene versus its final and it will seem like two totally different individuals. To earn that, Half Two traces Paul’s accomplishments, choices, and ever-changing psychological state fantastically, anchored by an award-worthy lead efficiency by the actor. Anybody who thinks of Chalamet as a typically cute and unthreatening on-screen presence may have these preconceptions blow up in a giant, large approach with Dune: Half Two. He goes darkish, and it’s implausible.

As Paul slowly begins to understand he could also be this messiah the Fremen of Arrakis have been ready for, he’s consistently checked by the rising romance he has with Chani, performed by Zendaya. Dune: Half Two significantly beefs up her function, not simply from the primary film however the authentic novel too, giving Paul each a worthy accomplice in addition to a formidable voice to problem his personal. Chani takes no shit, speaks her thoughts, and isn’t scared to be defiant, even within the scariest of circumstances. Zendaya’s intense, assured efficiency creates a personality with an equally fascinating and necessary arc within the movie as Paul’s. One which embodies lots of the movie’s most noteworthy themes about faith, prophecy, and loyalty.

Butler’s Feyd-Rautha is an all-timer.

Butler’s Feyd-Rautha is an all-timer.
Picture: Warner Bros.

And whereas Dune: Half Two focuses totally on Paul’s aspect of the story, the villains are rather more prevalent and entertaining this time round. Half One noticed the Harkonnens, led by the Baron (Stellan Starsgård), bloodbath the complete Atreides household, or in order that they thought. Within the sequel, we spent extra time with not simply him, however his nephews Rabban (Dave Bautista) and Feyd-Rautha, performed by Austin Butler. Butler’s Feyd-Rautha is a brand new addition and he offers as chilling a sci-fi efficiency as we’ve seen in a while. Rautha is clearly being arrange as a power able to dethroning Paul and although we don’t spend as a lot time with him, each time we do, it’s terrifying and intense. By means of Rautha, and Butler’s interpretation of him, we see a complete different perspective on this world and virtually a mirror of what Paul may turn out to be.

The Harkonnen genocide of the Atreides was performed on behalf of the Emperor, a personality absent from the primary movie, however delivered to life right here by the one and solely Christopher Walken. He’s usually joined by his daughter, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh), who acts as a go-between for all of the characters and partial narrator. As per Herbert’s novel, neither will get a ton to do on this film however every actor nonetheless has sufficient presence that their characters match effortlessly into the world, exhibiting presence and authority befitting of royalty. Each time they seem, you need to see extra of them.

Villeneuve is ready to concurrently bolster Paul and the Harkonnens by discovering an virtually superhuman stability in modifying between the 2 sides. Early sections of the film are lengthy and constant. Then, because the motion continues to rise, the parallel modifying will increase in velocity. Dune: Half Two begins with over an hour of simply Paul and the Fremen on the brilliant, sandy floor of Arrakis. There’s no break within the story. No cutaways. We get a pleasant, lengthy, noteworthy chunk that may very well be a whole film by itself. Solely later does the movie utterly shift gears to the Harkonnens, spending a shorter however nonetheless noticeably lengthy (a couple of half-hour) uninterrupted part with them. The transition is so jarring it virtually looks like a sequel inside a sequel. Because the movie progresses from there, the handoff between scenes will get shorter and shorter as the 2 tales begin to mix and, finally, explode in a briskly paced, multi-faceted third act. The deliberate improve in pacing implies that Dune: Half Two, even at virtually three hours, isn’t ever boring.

A crucial showdown.

A vital showdown.
Picture: Warner Bros.

So we’ve established Dune: Half Two appears to be like nice, sounds nice, has fantastic performances, and an thrilling tempo. Is that it? Nope. It’s enjoyable as hell too. Dune: Half One definitely had its share of thrilling, action-packed set items, however they one way or the other pale compared to those in Half Two. From the primary time Paul rides a sandworm, to an epic showcase for Feyd-Rautha, to a full-fledged conflict with Lord of the Rings scale, and the private, poetic, highly effective remaining showdown, the motion scenes present a cathartic mix of anticipation, pleasure, and payoff. You’re feeling like you’re on that sandworm, in a close-quarters knife struggle, or flying by means of the air. Villeneuve makes positive, it doesn’t matter what the size, that his motion has vitality however can also be simple to observe, which provides to the enjoyment. Scenes of Paul falling by means of sand for instance are utterly chaotic and blurry. And but, one way or the other, we are able to nonetheless see and observe all of it completely. Plus, the set items are unfold out simply sufficient so as to add to the movie’s pacing, retaining the ebb and stream of it participating all through.

In all probability essentially the most difficult factor about Dune: Half Two is the story of Paul’s mother, Woman Jessica, performed by Rebecca Ferguson. Following Herbert’s lead, the movie rapidly sends Jessica on her personal journey. One which’s essential each to the all-important lore of this story and the general world. Nonetheless, Jessica’s story is by far the least accessible within the movie, just because she doesn’t adhere to the standard mythology or the principles of actuality. She sees the previous, the longer term, consistently talks to her unborn child, and is never simple to get a learn on. It’s lots. And nonetheless, by means of Villeneuve’s skilled course and writing, every part that feels bizarre and awkward about her character and story finally ends up including a lot to the selections Paul, Chani, and the remainder make ultimately. So whereas it at first may appear as if Woman Jessica is a legal responsibility to the movie, you need to belief Villeneuve that the tiny speedbumps are essential and in the end useful.

Zendaya and Ferguson.

Zendaya and Ferguson.
Picture: Warner Bros.

That’s what all of it comes right down to. To be an excellent director, it’s essential to have a imaginative and prescient, and Denis Villeneuve has imaginative and prescient to spare. In deciding to adapt Frank Herbert’s seemingly unadaptable e-book Dune, that imaginative and prescient was an bold gamble to separate it into two halves, and not using a assure that the second half would ever be made. Many most likely thought it will by no means occur. However, in Villeneuve we belief. He turned Half One into an award-winning hit and now Half Two completes, elevates, and integrates that already basic film into one thing new and fantastic.

So in the event you favored the primary Dune and had been desperate to see the story play out in a approach that enhances the unique, Dune: Half Two is all that after which some. It’s a superb character piece informed on a grand scale with all of the motion and visuals you’re craving. Stars like Chalamet and Zendaya shine, whereas new characters performed by the likes of Butler and Pugh elevate every part round them. In retaining the story near the unique novel, Villeneuve does finish the movie quite abruptly, as soon as once more leaving us wanting extra. However even when the movie wrapped up in a bow, Dune: Half Two is so good, we’d need extra regardless. It’s the value we pay for the privilege of watching the work of a seminal filmmaker who has simply accomplished a definitive sci-fi saga for the ages.

Dune: Half Two opens March 1.


This story initially appeared on io9. Need extra io9 information? Take a look at when to count on the newest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on movie and TV, and every part you have to find out about the way forward for Physician Who.

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