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  • Writer's pictureKen Silvers

Dune: Part Two

Timothee Chalamet is having box office success with his recent hits "Willy Wonka" and "Dune: Part Two." When "Dune: Part One" hit theaters and Max in 2021, the awarding winning film left fans wanting more, and we finally have the sequel. Director Denis Villeneuve ("Blade Runner 2049) has a knack for stylized epic films, which is clearly on display in the now announced "Dune" trilogy. The new film begins where the first one left off, after the destruction of House Atreides, of which our hero Paul Atreides (Chalamet) is a member. The Atreides house was wiped out, save for Paul and his mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) by the bizarre and evil House Harkonnen, led by the vile Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard). Paul and Lady Jessica have been introduced to the Freman society of the planet Arrakis, home to the  mysterious and coveted spice. After meeting many of the Freman, the various members of this society feel Paul and his mother are spies, or Paul is the long awaited messiah who will bring peace and prosperity to their planet. There is a bit of infighting among the Freman about Paul and his mother, but eventually Lady Jessica takes over for the groups Reverend Mother, who is dying. While his status is being debated, Paul has a budding romance with Freman Chani (Zendaya) that continues during the course of the film. After she becomes the new Reverend Mother, Lady Jessica implores Paul to drink the "Water of Life", which is toxic liquid taken from a dying sandworm typically fatal to males. As a reminder, or for those who don't know, Sandworms are giant worm-like creatures native to Arrakis, whose larvae produces a drug called melange, which is the aforementioned "spice". The spice is highly desired because it's essential in making interstellar travel safe and accurate. The water taken from the worms awakens the mind to much knowledge and memories of the previous Reverend Mothers for those who drink the liquid. Paul drinks the Water of Life at the encouragement of his mother, and even though he seemingly dies, survives. For those who have never read the Dune novels, myself included, the storyline is at times complicated, but this new film version is a bit easier to follow than the original film, released in the 1980's. Director Villeneuve did make some changes to the latest adaptation, some of which are an improvement, and some not so. One such change is Paul's sister Alia, of which Lady Jessica is pregnant with during the course of the film, but is able to directly communicate with due to having drank the Water of Life. The director decided to keep Alia unborn during the second film, with the character only appearing briefly as a grown adult in one of Paul's visions. The main reason for the change is the fact the film does not do a two-year time jump as the novel does. leaving the time frame an eight-month period just after the ending of the first film. The director also concentrates on the romance between Paul and Chani, which I feel gives the plot a bit more emotion due to a pending betrayal. The storyline eventually leads to the Freman, led by Paul, battling House Harkonnen, led by the Baron's nephew Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista). If Beast isn't bad enough, Paul eventually fights the Baron's other nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), who will certainly go down in cinema history as a villain on par with Darth Vader of the "Star Wars" films. Butler is nearly unrecognizable as the bald Feyd, and nearly steals the film from Chalamet. I have left out many plot points and cast members, otherwise this review would go on for pages. I will say the second film in the "Dune" series is a must see on the largest screen possible, and I recommend the IMAX size if you are near one. Despite Butler nearly overshadowing the main star, Chalamet holds his own as he continues to grow and display his talents in the role of Paul Atreides. "Dune: Part Two" has the required action, emotion, betrayal, and thought provoking moments to fill several sci-fi films. This is one beautiful film filled with epic moments to be enjoyed by fans of the novel and cinema buffs alike. (Rated PG-13)



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