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'Dune: Part Two' Review

LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic It’s been two years and four months since the simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release of “Dune”. The star-studded action drama from Academy Award nominated “Arrival” director Denis Villeneuve was the highest grossing film of 2021 for Warner Bros., earning $400 million worldwide. Now comes the next chapter, which is looking to double the original’s total at the box office.

I liked “Dune”, but “Dune: Part Two” is superior to the first installment in a number of ways. The story is less explanatory and less complicated. Hans Zimmer’s score isn’t as overwhelming. The scale and scope is even more epic. It’s an incredibly compelling, immersive experience. I got to see this in IMAX — well-worth the (overly) high ticket prices.

But what impresses me most of all is the character depth, especially in the fantastic first act. Paul Atreides (played by Timothee Chalamet) and his pregnant mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) continue along their journey. There are several powerful, emotional, intimate scenes involving these two, as well as Chani (reprised by Zendaya, who gets much more to do this time) and Stilgar (Javier Bardem).

The weakest aspect here is when Villeneuve takes us out of the momentum and shifts the focus to the evil Feyd-Rautha. Austin Butler (who still has some Elvis twang in his voice) didn’t blow me away in this role. An extended ‘fight to the death’ sequence drags and doesn’t feel genuinely intense. Thankfully the third act is pretty top-notch, setting the stage for what could be a tremendous third chapter.

“Dune” won six Oscars. We’re a year out from knowing how many “Dune: Part Two” will earn. But here are two things I already know: this is Villeneuve’s second-best film (only behind the near-perfect “Blade Runner 2049”) and one of 2024’s strongest movies so far.

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LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic

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