'Dune: Part Two' Movie Review: A Slower But Engrossing Follow-Up

Dune Part Two starring Timothee Chalamet and Josh Brolin

Director Denis Villeneuve delivers a visual spectacle in DUNE: PART TWO. The sequel is slower paced than the first installment with the director taking time for Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) to prove himself the messiah to the Freman. The standout is Austin Butler’s turn as the creepy warrior Feyd-Rautha.

PART TWO picks up where the first film left off. Paul and Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) are taken in by the Freman after his father was betrayed by the Emperor. Stilgar (Javier Bardem) believes Paul is the Muad'Dib prophesied by his people. Chani (Zendaya) doesn’t believe in the prophecy or a savior. The Fremen are split as well.

Paul spends the majority of the film proving himself worthy of the Freman’s messiah title. Chani is reluctant to believe he’s a savior even as she falls in love with him.

In between the action on Arrakis, the Baron and his nephew are plotting against the Fremen. Here we meet Feyd-Rautha played by Butler in a game-changing performance for the actor. After Butler’s amazing performance as Elvis Presley, he follows it up with an impressive and creepy villain. There’s no doubt he’s a star on the rise.

Once again, Chalamet is a captivating Paul Atreides. The actor brings mischief and innocence to the character. When Paul transitions from the young prince to a leader, Chalamet’s eyes make the transition from an empathic Paul to a cold and calculating ruler. It’s quite stark.

Villeneuve sets up plots and characters from the Herbert's Dune Messiah novel, which will not pay off until Villeneuve's third installment.  Hence new characters played by Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan, Christopher Walken as the Emperor and Lean Séydoux's Lady Margot Fenring share little screen time given they will play a major role in the next movie.  

While there is action littered throughout, the pacing halts a few times with what seems like redundant scenes. For example, we meet a couple of different groups among the Fremen, doubting Paul’s destiny. For a two-hour and 45-minute movie, scenes could’ve been combined which is often done in adaptations. One can argue the Director is sticking to the events in the Frank Herbert novel but for a cinematic experience, it feels repetitive and slows down the pacing especially when the finale feels rushed. Paul’s transition wasn’t given much screen time as it occurs in the last 15 minutes of the movie.

The final moments in the film feel rushed as Paul enters the transition from prince to ruler. No doubt Denis Villeneuve is saving Paul's ascension into full power for the third installment, DUNE MESSIAH but it certainly leaves the audience salivating for more. However, that wait is looking like a few years in the future telling Collider that he will be "taking his time" with the follow-up, and will most likely work on another film in between.

The score is big and ominous while the visual effects engulf you in the world of Arrakis as does the production design of the sets. 

DUNE: PART TWO opens in movie theaters on March 1.

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