Dune Part II - REVIEW

Dune Part II is everything it promised to be, certainly the most satisfying science fiction blockbuster epic of the last decade or so, but it also remains nebulous on the pontentials of a future franchise.


Despite being non-original - as in, an adaptation of a cult novel, that influenced science fiction for decades to follow - Dune part II feels original. This originaluty can be perceived through the film's energy, which differs from that of the modern blockbuster, goes into more phylosophical territories. Villeneuve's past filmography was indication of his interest in nuanced, ambiguous characters and complicated ethical topics, all of which can be found in Dune, albeit not without the presence of spectacle: Dune Part II is a giant epic, and the visual grandeur remains at the center. Dune Part II is most definitely Villeneuve's film that most relies on blockbusteresque spectacle, thus the ethic-phylosophical compartment, even if present, is much more subtle than in Prisoners or his other films.

In several ways, the second chapter seems to be exactly what viewers found to be amiss from the first one: highly stylised aesthetics, mysticism, but also action. Curiously, seeing the two parts together balances perfectly between their contrasts - the first film being more desaturated, slower, at the same time emotionally completely different, the second one being vivid, eventful, fast paced, and on the opposite pole of emotional impact - and their uniformity:  the metaphor about the two sides of the same coin applies entirely to the two entries of Dune in a positive manner, the parallels are perceivable.

Of course, in any book-to-screen adaptation, changes will occur, and so it happens with Dune, a bit more than with the first chapter. Mostly omissions, such as a reduction of the mystic-surreal aspects of the Fremen culture - although Villeneuve did tackle the surreal in his previous works and could have amplified these segments - but also a few subtle changes that could prove to complicate faithfullness when it comes to a potential adaptation of the sequel novel, Dune: Messiah. Namely, a shift in Chani's character leads to an outcome that does not match the premise of the second novel, therefore requiring some amendments for the third chapter to work properly. No change betrayed the meaning or the characters in the book however, therefore Villeneuve can be definitely still be trusted with the third chapter.

This film is most definitely the best adaptation of Frank Herbert's work that exists on screen, the only one that could capture well both the epic and the complex moral nuances of the novel, without falling into simplicistic epilogues as David Lynch's version did, for example. It could very well be Villeneuve's masterpiece, as well as an indicator to studios that audiences are ready for a more complex range of grand scale narration.


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