Dune: Part Two Movie Review: Denis Villeneuve Film Expands on Epic Scale of Original

Review: There’s nothing like Dune: Part Two, which feels like it could only be conceived by Denis Villeneuve and the best crew around him possible. Everyone is working at the top of their game to create one of the best theatergoing experiences of 2024. Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya star in the science fiction movie that stands against the genre’s best.

timothee chalamet dune part two film 2024
Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune: Part Two (2024)

The movie theater event (possibly) of 2024, Dune: Part Two, is finally able to see after a long delay and an even longer wait following the success of Part One in 2021. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Denis Villeneuve felt fit to conjure one of the most riveting, original, and expansive introductions to a science fiction universe put to film in the 21st century. And with Dune: Part Two, the master director raises the bar in massive ways, adapting both the best aesthetics and themes possible from Frank Herbert’s source material.

Every ounce of this blazing epic has a real “how did they do this?” feel to it – from the deserts of Arrakis hosting combat between the Fremen and Harkonnen, to large scale spaceships traveling in and out of orbit of planets. It’s a movie on the grandest of scales, achieved by some of the industry’s best visionaries. Denis Villeneuve was lauded for his work directing Dune: Part One, and Greig Fraser for his cinematography, but they consistently outdo themselves this time. The film often has set design I’ve frankly never seen before in a movie.

And its clear this movie was shot on location, but the endless landscapes make it look like there’s no chance this was shot on any of our locations on Earth. Arrakis is so crystalized and fully realized in a way that few movies have ever achieved. Part Two continues to build the world out beyond what Part One was able to. Similar to franchises like Star Wars, John Wick, and others, the sequel expands on the small details set up before it, but works at a much more efficient rate, allowing for new characters and rules to be introduced at a breakneck pace.

It helps that Dune: Part Two contains one of the most stacked casts in a recent blockbuster. The mainstays from the first film are all still here, from Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides to Rebecca Ferguson as his mother. Lady Jessica. Zendaya makes a brief appearance in Part One during a few flashback sequences and towards the end – but she’s much more prominent this time around. And she’s much more effective this time around as well, from the physicality in her performance where she’s able to convey so many emotions with such little English dialogue, to her perfect casting as you’re relentlessly empathic to her during her fraught relationship with Paul.

Austin Butler highlights the new cast as the sadistic Harkonnen nephew Feyd Rautha, who takes his sweet time to appear in Dune: Part Two, but makes quite the entrance once he’s finally front and center. He’s cartoonishly evil by nature, and Butler captures the characteristics quite effortlessly by being a maniac that you can’t quite look away from.

Christopher Walken and Florence Pugh are the empirical father and daughter duo that also make the premieres in Part Two. Walken has very few lines at all and uses his stoic screen presence to great effect in the meantime, and Pugh’s role is mostly expository – much like David Lynch’s 1984 Dune, Princess Irulan is tasked with helping you move along in the story coherently.

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The old guard continues to make their presence heard in Dune: Part Two. Stellan Skarsgård is as gooey and gross as the Baron Harkonnen as he was in the first, and Josh Brolin makes a brief, yet effective, return as Gurney Halleck. Javier Bardem gives arguably my favorite performance in the movie (and maybe any movie so far in early 2024) as he captures his singular screen presence so well, becoming the character with the best comedic timing and harmless entertainment throughout.

But the main dish is served by Denis Villeneuve, who synthesizes everything he’s worked on in his career to deliver a science fiction epic of this length and magnitude.  The sheer size of Dune: Part Two is something to behold, which breaks well beyond anything released in movie theaters since Mad Max: Fury Road. The landscapes are vast and deep, and the battle sequences buried inside them match that scale.

If you liked Part One, Dune: Part Two will knock your socks off. It’s the best blockbuster sequel in a very, very long time, and despite the cliché sounding like a broken record, the movie deserves to be seen on the biggest screen you can find. The sound design and picture mix perfectly, creating the most invigorating movie theater experience I’ve had in 2024, and one that will not be easy to top.  Dune: Part Three isn’t guaranteed, but Part Two confirms that there’s still more on the bone in this ever-expanding universe.

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Genre: AdventureSci-Fi

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Dune: Part Two Movie Cast and Credits

dune part two movie 2024


Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides

Zendaya as Chani

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica

Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck

Austin Butler as Feyd Rautha

Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan

Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban Harkonnen

Christopher Walken as Emperor Shaddam

Léa Seydoux as Lady Margot

Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Harkonnen

Javier Bardem as Stilgar


Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writers: Denis VilleneuveJon Spaihts, Frank Herbert (Original Writer)

Cinematography: Greig Fraser

Editor: Joe Walker

Composer: Hans Zimmer

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