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March 1, 2024 / Warner Bros. Pictures Canada

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya , Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista

Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) continues his family's century-long journey to destroy the Emperor of the Known Universe. Crossing paths with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen, they team up on a warpath of revenge for Paul’s family.

Being the chosen one of the prophecy gifts, Paul can see into the future, which shows him an unimaginable and terrible fate on the horizon. With the knowledge of an upcoming war against the people that want him dead, including the evil Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler), Paul and Chani have to strengthen their defences and win for their own people. Paul must do everything he can to prevent it, but will inevitably face the choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 5 out of 5

Dune: Part Two is nothing less than an all timer science fiction masterpiece that is epic in every sense of the word thanks to incredible performances from a cast at the top of their game and jaw-dropping visuals that gives Frank Herbert’s revered science fiction novel the adaptation of a lifetime!

Back in 2021, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve took audiences to Arrakis as he began his two part adaptation of what many considered an unadaptable novel for the big screen. It had been attempted back in 1984 by David Lynch, but due to studio demands to make a shorter film, it fell incredibly short of the legendary status of Frank Herbert’s beloved novel. But, Villeneuve proved that the impossible was in fact possible with his adaptation of the first half of the novel, creating one of the greatest science fiction films of the decade with Dune. Two and a half years later, his breathtaking vision for Herbert’s novel concludes with Dune: Part Two that not only outdoes the first film at every turn, but results in a grand epic big screen experience we have witnessed since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Every aspect of the film will leave audiences speechless from an amazing screenplay that makes this almost three hour rush by and feel short, a sensational cast and outstanding visuals that confirms Villeneuve as one of the most visionary and talented filmmakers currently working.

Audiences are not ready for the story that unfolds in Dune: Part Two as Villeneuve sticks close to Herbert’s original intentions for the novel, which not only creates an unforgettable war film full of rich themes, but perfectly sets up the next installment in the story of Paul Atredies. The film picks up minutes after the ending of Dune with Paul and Lady Jessica fleeing with the Fremen across the deserts of Arrakis. It is undeniably a war film with the Fremen trying to drive the Harkonnens off of their planet, creating many moments that will have your heart racing and is guaranteed to have you expressing disbelief at how incredible this story is. It comes as no surprise that the political scheming once again features heavily in the screenplay from Villeneuve and co-writer Jon Spaihts, as new and pivotal characters are introduced to the mix, delivering one riveting experience to unfold on the big screen. But what makes the story so enticing is the biblical and religious themes that are explored in it. With Paul’s acceptance of his future as and transformation into Lisan al-Gaib, the screenplay explores the dangers of religion and blind faith in prophecy that creates an utterly chilling experience that is unlike anything else you have seen in a studio blockbuster. It’s one that is bound to divide audiences as it is controversial and uncomfortable, avoiding giving the traditional heroic character arc we have come to expect from the studio system. Yet, is the perfect direction for not only this film that stays true to Herbert’s vision for these characters, but sets up the next novel to be adapted in the series with fundamental development in the character arcs of both Paul and Chani.

As with the first film, Dune: Part Two is a marvel in every sense of the word when it comes to the film's technical elements. Greg Fraiser’s cinematography is striking, capturing the beauty of the desert filming locations while conveying the darkness of Paul’s character arc with each shot. Whether it be the striking silhouette visuals of the duel between Paul and Feyd-Rautha, the black and white arena sequence, or the attack of the Fremen forces in the film’s third act, Fraiser depicts each moment with some of the most beautiful camera work you have ever seen. The practical and visual effects to bring Herbert’s story to life are nothing less than incredible, especially to bring to life the sand worms and those heart pounding riding sequences that deliver a thrill unlike anything you have experienced on the big screen. The costume and set design are spectacular, capturing the different races and houses of Herbert's world with precise detail that brings an ancient and futuristic aesthetic to the film. Hans Zimmer’s musical score builds upon his Academy Award winning score of the first film, creating an unmatched musical experience that continuously elevates the entire film to a god-like level. It’s masterclass filmmaking in every department, creating an all encompassing world to get lost in during the entire film.

At this point in his career, there is nothing Timothée Chalamet cannot do, but he truly gives his best performance to date as Paul in this film. It’s an impressive performance that embraces the undeniable darkness within Paul while wrestling it against the desire to be a hero and savior to the Fremen people, resulting in a complex character arc to define the entire story. Never for a second misleading the audience, Chalamet will leave you speechless with a tour de force performance full of passion, emotion, and an undeniable presence that not only demands your attention, but is the heart of the film while once again proving why he is one of the most talented actors currently working today. Grounding the film is Zendaya as Chani, who is extraordinary every second she is on screen. In each scene, Zendaya gives a fearless performance that captures her character’s strength and intelligence, not being fooled by the prophecy that everyone believes Paul will fulfill, instead falling for his kindness and compassion. But as the story progresses, Zendaya ensures that Chani is not following blindly like the rest of her people, setting Chani on her own path that results in a truly heartbreaking endpoint for her character in this film. Her chemistry with Chalamet is undeniable, with the two of them delivering electrifying moments whenever they are on screen together that become some of the film’s finest scenes.

Though, the two standout performances of the film were Rebecca Ferguson and Javier Bardem as Lady Jessica and Stilgar. While they have very different character arcs, both of them are absolutely chilling with two distinct and different character arcs that touch on the religious extremism in the story. Bardem’s funny nature as Stilgar in the film’s first half is greatly contrasted to his blind faith in Paul in the film’s latter half, mirroring religious extremism in today’s world and how easy it is to get lost in an idea and miss the chilling truth in front of your eyes. On the opposite side of the same coin, Ferguson is mesmerizing as a religious leader for the Fremen, preying on the weak and powerless to enact her own agenda, highlighting the sometimes misguided trust we place in our leaders in the name of a higher power. They’re both subtle supporting performances, and while it is for Chalamet and Zendaya to perfect the film’s shocking ending, the film cannot get to that point without the work of Ferguson and Bardem.

From the second he enters the film as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in that electrifying arena battle, Austin Butler confirms his status as  movie star. As the Harkonnen heir Feyd-Rautha, Butler is a deranged psychopath that is terrifying in every way imaginable from his line delivery, the emotionless look he wears the entire film, his brutal rage and violent tendencies, and the unpredictable nature of his character. At the same time, Butler makes Feyd-Rautha slightly seductive in the most skin crawling way imaginable that makes you unsure whether he is going to kill or play with his latest victim, which only amplifies the threat his character poses that creates one unforgettable villain. Florence Pugh is perfectly cast as Princess Irulan, the Emperor’s daughter and one of the Bene Gesserit, bringing a wisdom and elegance to the film that captures this young woman trying to align herself to ensure that she survives the situation she finds herself forced into. And while they all do not have a lot of screen time, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walker, Léa Seydoux, Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgård are all exceptional and round out a truly pitch perfect cast.

Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming and exhilarating experience that is Dune: Part Two. It is grand cinematic filmmaking at its finest that not only demands to be seen on the biggest screen you can find, but reminds you why watching a film of this scale at a cinema is an experience to cherish. And the best part is that Denis Villeneuve still has one more story left to tell with the script for Frank Herbert’s second novel in the series, Dune: Messiah, already in the works. While it's only February, the bar has been set for the rest of 2024 as it is going to be incredibly difficult for any film to pass the standard set by Dune: Part Two, which could very well be the best film of the entire year come December. Anchored by amazing performances from Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and Austin Butler, Denis Villeneuve’s vision for Frank Herbert’s revered novel is nothing short of cinema at its finest with one of Hans Zimmer’s finest musical scores to date, stunning cinematography from Greig Fraiser and an incredible screenplay that will simultaneously send chills down your spine while making your jaw hit the floor, that allows Dune: Part Two to give a whole new meaning to the terms epic and masterpiece!

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