Dune: Part Two

Nolan Rollins Reviews "Dune: Part Two"

Let me start by saying that we are witnessing history. Dune: Part Two, despite being released last Friday, has already landed itself at #18 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films of all time and amassed a 4.6 star rating on Letterboxd. Even weeks before its theatrical release, the film was receiving comparisons to Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Night, Lawrence of Arabia and The Lord of the Rings, and being heralded as a masterpiece of Science Fiction and filmmaking. But I am here to report that Dune: Part Two is none of those things; it is all of them combined and so much more. Dune: Part Two is a gargantuan epic that will shape the cinema landscape for months and years to come. But in order to understand just how important Dune: Part Two is, we’re going to have to rewind.

Herberts original source novel was published in 1965 with its following sequels being released until Herberts death in 1986 from pancreatic cancer. In the 70’s, Avante-Garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (of The Holy Mountain) attempted and failed to adapt the book into a film (detailed in the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune) but the franchise was successfully adapted by Twin Peaks creator David Lynch in 1984. Although Lynch’s adaptation (featuring Sir Patrick Stewart and Twin Peaks star, Kyle MacLachlan) ended up flopping at the box office, it has since gained a cult following and helped draw attention to the franchise.

Montreal-native and sci-fi director juggernaut Denis Villeneuve picked up the rights to the Dune franchise in 2016 and launching off the success of Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, landed himself an all star cast including Timothe Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac and Stellan Skarsgård to name a few. Villeneuve’s remake debuted in 2021 to outstanding acclaim, landing itself six Oscars, including a nomination for best picture, and has grossed 433 million dollars worldwide, making itself the most successful adaptation for the franchise… as of yet.

Herbert’s original novel is split into three books (like sections), with Dune (2021), covering the story up until the beginning of the third section. We’ve seen this done before with films, splitting up the final book in a series in order to keep people coming back for more as with The Hunger Games, the final instalment of Harry Potter and even splitting a single book into three films like with The Hobbit, but this isn’t what Villeneuve is doing here. For one thing, Dune is massive, both in its scope and page count, and while this is a frequent and valid criticism of the original novel, the result in a cinema climate filled with three hour films and sequels, allows Villeneuve to take his time and do the size and scope of the work the justice it deserves. And let me tell you, Dune: Part Two, is all of that and more.

The performances from Austin Butler, Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson really shine through here, giving each actor their own time and space to shine, really letting them sink their teeth into the world and the complexities of their respective characters. Hanz Zimmer’s world-shaking score along with some incredible sound design (with particular attention paid to the legibility of the dialogue) really help accentuate the scale of the conflict central to the sequel. The set pieces, art direction and costume design are also absolutely incredible, bringing a richness and a vibrancy of colour that was largely absent in the first installment. The action sequences in Part Two are much larger and epic in scope, including a particularly memorable black and white gladiator sequence on the Harkonnen home planet and the entire last half an hour of the film that kept me on the edge of my seat with my jaw on my lap. The film is gorgeous, to say the least, jam packed with details and design elements that will make rewatches an absolute pleasure and Dune: Part Two a surefire winner for at least a couple of awards at next years Oscars.

But those aren’t the only reasons you should be excited for Dune: Part Two. Not only will this film be the epic conclusion to Herbert’s masterpiece, but it will also be the precursor to Dune Messiah, the next film in Villeneuve’s Dune series (yes, there are going to be three of them). While the film has not yet begun production, Villeneuve has spoken widely about the third installment in his adaptation of the franchise, and while it will be a number of years before we get to see it as much of the cast and crew will be focusing on projects directly after Part Two, Villeneuve and his actors have signed on to adapt the sequel book as well, with a possibility of even more films further down the road, exploring other novels in the series.

The hottest cast in Hollywood is about to take the world by storm in a Butlerian Jihad that will rock the box office for months to come and I’d highly suggest you buy your tickets as soon as humanly possible (in IMAX if you can). And for those who have not read the book, I would highly encourage you to do so as well. Yes, the novel is almost 800 pages, but if you read “Order Of The Phoenix” in grade school (like I’m sure many of you did), you should be able to tackle Dune, and trust me, its worth it, you owe it to yourself.

There will be haters, silence them. Yes, Dune: Part Two is long, yes, it is filled with politics, yes the IMAX speakers will vibrate your seat and rupture your eardrums but it is everything. Don’t take Dune: Part Two for granted. This is the greatest Sci-Fi movie of this, and Villeneuve’s adaptation is finally able to give Herbert’s franchise the justice it deserves. But don’t take my word for it, go see it for yourself.

Long Live the Fighters and bring on Part 3.

Nolan Rollins (he/they) is a third-year writing student who devotes his dwindling sanity to crafting comedic tales for the screen and stage. Do not let him touch your microphone stand, DJ your party or feed him after midnight. He was born in Richmond B.C. and still has no idea what he’s doing. He serves as Drama Editor for This Side of West.
Nolan Rollins