“Dune 2” fills movie theaters, wows audiences

April 11, 2024

By Sam Tankersley, Guest Writer

Denis Villeneuve brings the “Dune” universe back to the big screen in what is nothing shy of a modern science fiction masterpiece. “Dune 2’s” shocking runtime of 2 hours and 46 minutes might seem daunting, but due to masterful pacing and a truly generational story, this movie flies by. 

Visually, this movie stuns with effects like nothing we have seen in a very long time. Its inspired use of colors and atmosphere are matched by an equally impressive soundtrack. It could be the stark employment of orange washing over the sand on Arrakis or the bleak contrast of white and black on the Harkonnen’s homeworld of Geidi Prime, but either way we are shown entire worlds beyond imagination somehow brought to life in easily some of the most impressive visuals the science fiction genre has ever produced. 

Hans Zimmer will have you shaking in your seat with a score that inspires awe and makes you feel like you are in the movie. While he has amassed one of the most legendary resumes of any composer in recent memory, with iconic scores from movies like “Man of Steel,” “Interstellar” and, of course, “Inception,” somehow he distinctly gives “Dune 2” its own identity, crafting something familiar to his style but also completely new and unique. Long after the closing credits have rolled across the screen, you will have the blaring trumpets ringing in your ears. However, the music is not the only memorable aspect of the movie; audiences can expect the film to stick in their minds for a while. 

The film spectacularly creates a rich world of alien planets, characters and cultures. All of these things are enhanced by some of the best acting performances of the year. Timothée Chalamet gives a career defining performance alongside a somehow just as impressive and praiseworthy Austin Butler. While they are clearly the standouts, the movie is littered with an all-star cast, each giving memorable performances no matter how little screen time they are allotted. The cast also boasts Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Christopher Walken and, a personal favorite of mine, Javier Bardem as Stilgar. 

However, the true crowning achievement of “Dune 2” is the subtle conversation lurking just below the surface of the sand. Commentary on colonization, the white savior trope, the danger of charismatic leaders, power and the historical political manipulation of the middle east can be seen throughout the film. While it was not George Herbt’s intention when he first started the “Dune” series to comment on such matters, it is clear what Villeneuve is trying to say with the clear inspirations taken from Arabic culture throughout the film. The parallels to the real world shown through the commodity spice could not be more well laid out. 

It is always fun to experience a movie as brilliantly put together as “Dune 2,” especially one that is endlessly fun. However, this movie almost transcends as it warns and educates moviegoers in a way that both respects the audience’s intelligence but also begs of them to walk away with more than they sat down with. There is so much fun to be had with what will obviously become a modern “Star Wars,” but it is also important to note that this science fiction magnum opus is also attempting to use the genre to have a powerful dialogue with its audience. 

Villeneuve has a filmography where you could randomly choose a movie and it would be what any filmmaker would consider their best work. “Prisoners,” “Arrival,” “Sicario” and “Blade Runner 2049” are some of the best movies of the last twenty years. Villeneuve has somehow surpassed his own incredibly high personal standards with something that will have you addicted to this universe as you finish the second movie. 

What else is there to say about Villeneuve and “Dune” other than “Lisa Al Gaib?”

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