Dune: Part Two (2024) – Film Review

Dune Part Two (2025) Film Review

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson
Certificate: 12A

By Roger Crow

Similar to its predecessor, the second part of Dune is like being transported to alien planets while drunk, and not sobering up until the closing credits.

It’s 40 years since I first read Frank Herbert’s much-praised novel about feuding houses fighting for control of the most lucrative commodity in the universe. That thirst for the life-enhancing spice may be the engine that drives the story forward, but it’s those at the spearhead of the vast spectacle of a movie that focuses the attention. All eyes may be on the messianic Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), but there are so many peripheral characters it’s easy to get distracted.

Though she opens the novel and the David Lynch adaptation, Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) has been saved for the beginning of the second chapter, her personal diary adding valuable exposition for those playing catch-up. (The recording device which laser-cuts words onto steel cylinders is seriously cool). And if you missed part one, then there should be enough pointers to give you an idea of what is going on.

Seeking vengeance for his father’s murder, and those of his fellow warriors, Paul, and his pregnant mother Jessica, bond with nomadic desert folk the Fremen on desert planet Arrakis (aka Dune). Oh, and there’s also Paul’s blooming romance with the Fremen warrior Chani (Zendaya), a character who seems to spend most of the third act giving him Paddington hard stares for reasons which will become apparent as Paul drops a bombshell near the end of the film.

Dune Part Two (2026) Film Review

“Bold moves”

Meanwhile, on their S&M planet, Geidi Prime, the dreaded Harkonnens juggle sadism and what shade of grey to wear for their next atrocity with more bold moves in their quest to mine spice while Fremen forces attack their mining trucks.

Once more Stellan Skarsgaard does a fine job in a fat suit as the fearsome, floating Baron Harkonnen, while Dave Bautista is fabulous as his leading sidekick, Beast Rabban.

However, it’s Austin Butler’s psycho Feyd Rautha who steals the show on the villain front. (Sting played the character in the ‘84 version, but was given little screen time compared to this version). Yes, Butler’s black teeth are reminiscent of those viral comedy photos where famous people have their teeth digitally removed, but he’s no less terrifying, especially when killing terrified slaves for fun.

The fact this is a 12A is remarkable; fantasy violence clearly is considered less psychologically disturbing than atrocities committed in real settings. (Might want to have a think about that Natasha Kaplinsky and your own small army of ratings accomplices).

Dune Part Two (2024) Film Review


It’s testament to the army of affects artists and sound crew that Dune 2 is as compelling as it is. Yes, there are moments that could have been trimmed, but Paul riding a giant sand worm isn’t one. It’s that cacophonous set piece which nails in five minutes what David Lynch’s version failed to achieve in two hours. (To be fair, Lynch had an impossible task compressing such an epic novel into such a short running time).

So it’s not perfect; there are times Dune 2 is Pythonesque, bordering on someone yelling: “He’s not the messiah. He’s a very naughty boy”. Some of those worms are a tad rubbery in places, and the monochrome Gladiator homage needed trimming, while it would have been nice to see some of the faces; Charlotte Rampling’s witchy antagonist spends most of her screen time behind a veil, but this is still an intoxicating event which needs to be seen on the biggest screen possible with the best sound system.

It’s not quite the fully rounded drama I’d hoped for. Though it almost ties things things up, the way is very much open for a third film, no doubt adapting the more slender tome, Dune Messiah, or even the more weighty God Emperor of Dune. There are a lot more pieces on this chess board that haven’t come into play yet, one of them being Jessica’s unborn daughter Alia, who is seen in flash forward and played by Anya Taylor Joy. Then there should be a returning character from film one, but that’s all in the future.

Some will be confused, others bored, but if you love intelligent, grown-up sci-fi which has a texture so rich you can almost touch it, then this bridging movie should spice up your life a treat.

Dune: Part 2 is in cinemas now

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