A couple of people in clothing.

Review of “DUNE: Part Two”

Note: This review contains spoilers.

A movie poster with two men in clothing.
AMC Mission Valley cinema, San Diego

“DUNE: Part Two,” a film by award-winning Director/Writer/Producer Denis Villeneuve, follows the six-time Academy Award-winning 2021 film “DUNE,” and is based upon Frank Herbert’s novel. The stellar cast includes many Oscar-nominees and winners.

Actor Christopher Walken, who plays the key role of Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, tells us that “This film is about power, about families, vengeance, rivalries. And love, it’s a love story.”

This chapter begins shortly after the end of “DUNE,” and is set thousands of years in the future on the remote planet Arrakis — mostly in a vast desert where the Fremen people must somehow survive despite a near-complete lack of water.

A man with blue eyes and a gold headdress.

In stark contrast is the life enjoyed by the ruthlessly oppressive Harkonnen, “a manifestation of corruption, violence and greed,” who dispatch heavily armed, flying machines to plunder precious spice in the desert, and face fierce opposition from the Fremen people.

This is a dark, brutal story of revenge and retribution, set in a truly inhospitable, violent world and centered around Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), who patiently and methodically seeks revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. “Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.” The conflict has been raging on for centuries. The stakes could not be higher, as the fate of not only this world but others hangs in the balance.

A man with his mouth open.

Villeneuve tells us that this chapter is about “the integration of Paul and his mother, Jessica, into the Fremen culture, into the Fremen tribes.” Paul falls in love, as he begins a campaign against the oppressors and foresees a holy war. “Paul is torn between his desire of vengeance and the fact that he has a strong intuition that the path he is on could bring him to catastrophe; that by trying to avenge his father, he could bring his friends, the Fremen, chaos and war.” 

The fighting and battle scenes are brutally realistic. According to Denis Villeneuve, “Roger Yuan … has tremendous knowledge of all different kinds of fighting and combat. His choreography defines the different ways of fighting for the Fremen, the Harkonnens, the Atreides and the Sardaukar. Everybody has their own way of using swords or daggers, and Roger was able to help us define what the combat shields are and the very precise way of fighting with them.”

A man in armor holding a sword in front of a group of people.
Paul Atreides & Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen fighting

The world of “DUNE” has been meticulously crafted for unquestionable realism, shot 100% for IMAX and with incredible special effects. “We made so much effort to bring all the tiny details of the desert and what it is to be walking on Arrakis.”

It is a world in which the natural and technological blend together seamlessly. In experimental, especially complex and realistic sequences, gigantic creatures called sandworms — upon which individual Fremen ride over vast distances, are summoned from the depths of the desert by devices that rhythmically pound the sand. “For a sequence with a baby sandworm … to see the worm traveling under the sand, we decided to do it for real, and Gerd (SFX supervisor Gerd Nefzer) used a very sophisticated tracking system with carpets under the sand that created the illusion that the worm was traveling under the sand. He also had to create the worm, creating a platform on gimbals that were designed to bring the specific movement I was looking for. It was quite tricky.”

A group of people riding on a dirt field.
Sandworms in the desert

Hans Zimmer orchestrated the exquisite musical score. “Hans and I have shared the same passion, the same history with the book from when we were young. … Hans started to build instruments again, do research, go deeper into the world of the Harkonnens. … I wanted him to write something unforgettable for Chani. A love theme… I wanted something heartbreaking, and the most beautiful love theme ever written, and honestly I think he did it.”

Two people sitting on top of a sand dune in the desert.
Chani & Paul in the desert

“DUNE: Part Two” is a film that you must see in a large, state-of-the-art IMAX theater, enveloped in immersive sound to truly experience the grandeur, epic scale and proportions of the fantasy world of “DUNE.” It is in theaters now. To see the official movie trailer, visit: https://www.dunemovie.net.

A movie theater with a large sign.
AMC Mission Valley cinema, San Diego

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Copyright © 2024 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #829

Jan Wagner


  1. David Sperry on March 28, 2024 at 11:16 pm

    Jan, while browsing through the TV menu tonight, my son and I came upon the 2021 Dune Part 1 on TNT. While it’s a 2 hour movie, the endless commercials push it to 3 hours. Putting aside these distracting interruptions, the movie is really quite good. The plot, acting and special effect are excellent, in contrast to the flop of 1985 with Sting and a big ensemble cast.

    Dune Part 1 is clearly a prequel to Part 2 which you have superbly reviewed here. If you haven’t seen Part 1, you should. It connects all the dots 10,000 years in the future. David.

    • Jan Wagner on March 29, 2024 at 2:05 am

      Hi David,
      I’m glad that you got to see Dune Part 1.
      I just looked through several days of upcoming listings for TNT, but Dune Part 1 is no longer there. I wish I had seen the listing that you saw, since it has been several years since I’d seen that movie.

  2. David Sperry on March 10, 2024 at 6:28 pm

    Jan, because of my curiosity in why Sting might have lived such a low key life in Mexico City while filming the original Dune, I’ve done some research.

    I’ve determine that the filming of Dune did take place in Mexico City during the exact time we lived there, and was released in 1985. Production took place at Churubusco Studios with a huge ensemble cast. Never having seen the movie, I’ve always assumed that Sting had a major role, but it seems he was one of many stars.

    Also, at that time he was better know as a musician in the rock group Police, formed earlier in 1977. Dune would have been one of his earliest, if not the first, venture into films

    So I can see that with many stars in the movie, and he being better known as a musician, Sting would not attract particular attention in a huge place like Mexico City.

    What I can’t prove is if Sting actually lived across the street from me in San Angel. I never saw him, but that’s the urban folklore.

    Footnote: The 1985 version of Dune was a flop at the box office for many reasons (mainly a confusing script and poor special effects).The two newer versions Dune Part 1 (in 2021) and Part 2 (in theaters now) have no real connection to the original. Sting did appear at the Red Carpet Premiere of Part 1 in 2021, but is not in the movie.

    • Jan Wagner on March 10, 2024 at 7:05 pm

      David, the new DUNE films correct both of those ills: they have scripts that are not confusing and they have incredible special effects. That said, I wish that they had toned down the violence in Part Two.

  3. David Sperry on March 9, 2024 at 10:29 pm

    Jan, to tell you the truth, I lost track of Dune after the original version with Sting many years ago. I’m sure the new Part 1 and Part 2 movies are well made and entertaining, but there is so much new content coming out on the streaming sources I have available, I just can’t keep up with everything.

    I do have one small factoid however. On one of my many international assignments as an expatriate, I ended up for 3 year stint in Mexico City. This was in the early 1980’s and my wife and I had been married for a few years. Our son was born in Mexico City and we lived in a small house in the quaint neighborhood of San Angel.

    We quickly learned that the original Dune was being produced/filmed in Mexico City, and that the leading star Sting lived in a cottage across the street from us. In those early days Sting was not yet the celebrity he eventually became, so he lived there quietly without any obvious security or entourage.

    We were obviously curious and kept an eye open, but never once saw Sting enter or leave the house, on foot or by car. My neighbors insisted that he really did live there, but I’ve always wondered how such a rising star could be invisible.

    • Jan Wagner on March 10, 2024 at 11:15 am

      What a fascinating bit of history. The fact of the matter is that all celebrities are people, just like the rest of us.
      I don’t think that I saw the version of “Dune” that you did.

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