May 12, 2024

DUNE: PART TWO and the World's Most Accurate Meme

DUNE: PART TWO (Blu-ray)
2024 / 166 min
Review by Pepper the Poopy😸

I recently saw an amusing meme that read, “Dune is Star Wars for people who listen to Tool.” Not only did I laugh, I had to admit it was a spot-on assessment of the movie itself. If you are at-all familiar with Tool, you know their music is long, complex and damn-near inaccessible to casual listeners raised on three-minute pop tunes. Yet they are currently one of the biggest bands in the world.

Similarly, both parts of Dune are long, complex and damn-near inaccessible to anyone with short attention spans. Yet together, they form what’s arguably the best sci-fi saga since the original Star Wars trilogy. Much of that is due to Denis Villenueve, the only director to successfully wrangle Frank Herbert’s oppressively dense novel (which I got 100 pages into before giving up) without dumbing it down or turning it into a mere highlight reel. 

In our review of Dune: Part One, I mentioned the utter bravery of spending gajillions to tackle half of a story without being sure Part Two would ever even happen. But now that it has, Dune: Part Two demonstrates a considerable amount of bravery as well, beginning exactly where Part One ended, with no recap or exposition of who these characters are and what's transpired so far. It’s literally the second half of a five-hour film, with enough confidence in the ongoing story that dividing it into two parts is not-only logical, but preferred (this coming from a guy who normally condemns the practice as a cash grab). 

Date Night with Paul Atreides.
Part Two is bigger, more action packed and introduces several intriguing new characters, especially the psychotic heir to House Harkonnen, Feyd-Rautha (played with menace by Austin Butler). Conversely, Christopher Walken is distractingly miscast as Emperor Shaddam, simply because he looks & sounds like himself. But perhaps the film's most surprising aspect - at least for those of us who couldn’t get through Herbert’s novel - is Paul Atreides’ (Timothee Chalamet) character transformation. Without going into specifics, let’s just say he doesn’t turn into another Luke Skywalker. But best of all, those massive, majestic sandworms show up early and often (a true sight to behold).

Both aesthetically and narratively, there’s so much going on that digesting the entire story as a single five-hour film would’ve been overwhelming in a theater. But while their overall visual and sonic grandeur is certainly diminished at home, watching Parts One & Two back-to-back on the sofa becomes immersive in a different way. It's a sprawling, complex story that may not always display a lot of heart, but is consistently engaging enough to justify two films and an epic overall length, especially for those of us who listen to Tool.


FEATURETTES - Chakobsa Training; Creating the Fremen World; Finding the Worlds of Dune; Buzz Around the New ‘Thopter’; Worm Riding; Becoming Feyd; A New Set of Threads; Deeper Into the Desert: The Sounds of Dune. These features run 4-13 minutes each and mostly cover various technical aspects of the film, such as various real locations, certain special effects sequences, Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score, production & costume design.


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