The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] ‘Dune: Part Two’ an Imax-ready masterpiece of messiah and sandworms

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Feb. 23, 2024 - 16:48

    • Link copied

“Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.) “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

Following the box office success of director Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” (2021) at a time when global cinema was humbled by the pandemic, the second half of the director's adaptation of the 1965 epic science fiction novel of the same title by Frank Herbert has finally been revealed.

“Dune: Part Two,” which hits local theaters Wednesday, is an Imax-ready blockbuster with a dense, nigh impenetrable storyline that follows the recently outcast heir to the throne of House Atreides, Paul (Timothee Chalamet), and his mother, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson).

As they get along with the Fremen tribe, who have spun tales of a savoir to lead their marginalized group to freedom, Paul finds a path for revenge on the emperor with the Fremen’s unique power of controlling sandworms, and positions himself as a messiah. Without knowing his choice could spell doom for the entire galaxy, he embarks on a holy war.

The movie continues in the year 10,191 on Arrakis, the sand planet commonly known as Dune, where the scarce and supremely valuable resource spice is produced. Unlike the first installment that was more of a tug-of-war between those who want to produce spice and others who would steal it, “Dune: Part Two” is more about the rebellion against those who hold power and authority – the emperor and House Atreides’ rival Harkonnens.

The new movie contains magnitudes more action, just as Villeneuve indicated in a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday. The scenes are more dramatically and beautifully choreographed than in the previous edition, taking place in various settings that include shootouts above dunes and gladiatorial fights at House Harkonnens’ massive colosseum.

Besides such extremely long-shot battle scenes, the director’s portrayal of Paul learning to summon sandworms that snake through a sandstorm toward their prey is a spectacle -- and a major reason the movie must be watched in Imax.

The scale of the film creates an overwhelming sense, as does the message throughout the film. A hero’s victory might just make the universe even uglier, it says.

“Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.) “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.)

Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya’s performances dazzle visually, delivering Villeneuve’s weighty message on the relationship between power and religion.

Chalamet displays a detailed, wide range in his portrayal of a young man’s cautious rise to power -- including the intensity of his worries and childlike loneliness in front of his true love Chani (Zendaya) -- in a universe dominated by inhumanity. The director contains Paul’s changing emotions in a tight shot; a clear contrast to the pale, bald Harkonnen and the ruthless gaze of violent prince Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler). The visual pallette becomes bleached in monochrome in the switch to Feyd-Rautha’s story, away from Paul and Chani, making an illuminating comparison.

Having elaborately assembled the “Dune” cinematic experience based on the novel, Villeneuve shot the film in Imax proportions and completed it with a rich, grand score by the illustrious Hans Zimmer, offering satisfaction for both the eyes and ears.

“Dune: Part Two” hits local theaters Wednesday.