“Dune: Part Two”

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Muad’Dib, the dune-mouse, symbolizes the Paul Atreides of “Dune”—a small figure with an incredible will to survive. Artwork by Peter James.

A cinnamon-atic masterpiece taking the theaters by sand-storm

Though grand-scale science fiction block- buster films seem to have been dormant for a time, “Dune: Part Two” appears to resurrect a part of cinema that audiences have been yearning for.

After its rescheduling, the movie came to audiences on March 7th as the second installment of “Dune.” These two movies, both direct- ed by Denis Villanueve, covered the entire first novel of Frank Herbet’s “Dune.”

As of March 15th, “Dune: Part Two” has made $384.2 million in the box office world- wide. By comparison, the previous installment made a total of $433.9 million worldwide. The second part of the “Dune” saga will likely exceed the first part, as it still is in its second week of showings.

Stellar performances could be seen by both lead actors; Timothée Chalamet (playing Paul Atreides) was able to deliver both the images of a teenager struggling with the weight of power and a messianic dictator believing he can do no wrong. Likewise, Zendaya (playing Chani) delivered a powerful performance of hesitation for a supposed messiah and a belief in the goodness of Paul.

Florence Pugh (Princess Irulan) and Austin Butler (Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen) were new actors to the “Dune” Saga who absolutely nailed their roles in the film. Butler, portraying a sadistic rul- er and one of the main villains of the film, was quoted saying he took inspiration from Gary Oldman and Heath Ledger for the role.

The story of “Dune: Part Two” picks up right where the first part ended. Paul is on the run from the Harkonnens with the new Fremen allies he has just made. The film plays on numerous themes – most of which were alluded to in the books – corruption from power, prophecy, fatalism and cult-like behavior. The goals of our protagonist range from mere thoughts of revenge to much grander designs.

Villanueve, much like Herbert, tells a very tragic tale – one where there may be a clear “bad guy,” but not a definitive “good guy.” This, however, is masked by the allure of inspiring leadership of Paul, so that even the viewer may feel swayed to follow such a “noble” leader.

Though “Dune: Part Two” lends itself greatly to the book in which it grounds itself, there are distinct choices the film makes, altering how characters are portrayed or omitting certain events. Even if you have already read the novel, you might still find yourself on the edge of your seat, wrapped up in the tension and mystery of the story.

Aside from the story-telling, a crucial aspect of this film is the masterful cinematography. Wide sweeping scenes appear more as pieces of art – each with a unique purpose, and often accompanied by little to no dialogue.

The color schemes which Villanueve employs are the most no- table feature of the film. The vibrant orange colors of the Fremen might reflect the spice – the centerpiece of power in the Dune universe – or the vast desserts of Arrakis (shot in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates); the monochrome of the Harkonnens alternatively depict a foreboding or ominous tone – one most likely to accompany the “villains” of the story.

The impressive cinematography of the film is highlighted by the music (done primarily by Hans Zimmer) which flows through each scene, overwhelming the audience with rhythmic beats and dramatic orchestral mixed with electronic sound.

With the completion of films covering the first book, many speculate whether there will be a third movie to cover the next book, “Dune Messiah.” While it has not been confirmed, as of writing, there is a third movie in the works – although this depends on the success of “Dune: Part Two.”

There are six books in total in the “Dune” series – not including the 22 other books covering various aspects of the world Herbert created. With all this potential, it will be interesting to see what this saga has in store for future films, and, judging by its successes so far, this appears to already be a reality.

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