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Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

An iconic theater experience: ‘Dune: Part Two’

The second “Dune” film is a dazzling combination of impressive visuals, sound design and story
Riley Scott

The 2021 hit film “Dune: Part One” finally saw its sequel hit theaters March 1. Going against the norm, “Dune: Part Two” quickly surpassed its predecessor in profits and reviews, signaling continued potential for this trilogy. 

Based on the 1965 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, the “Dune” films stand out among their blockbuster peers. With a runtime of 2 hours and 46 minutes, “Dune: Part Two” is about ten minutes longer than the first movie. Both are slow burns, gradually building up to large-scale conflicts and fleshing out in-depth relationships. 

The original “Dune” book was extremely influential for science fiction storytelling, and the films will likely have similar impact. Their tone is unlike most sci-fi movies, unashamedly slow-paced and contemplative.

These unique movies inspire a variety of comparisons, like the original “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” trilogies. While I’m hesitant to compare the unfinished trilogy of “Dune” to such impressive stories, its quality so far is striking. With a complex story, staggering visuals and unusually detailed sound design, “Dune: Part Two” deserves praise for its creative achievements. 

Some films are cultural experiences that you can look back on and vividly remember watching in the cinema. 

This movie, more than most, is made to be watched in the theater. Its cinematography is stunning. The camera and audio pair extremely well, adding much more depth to scenes that viewers can appreciate most on the big screen. At one point enemy soldiers lift off the ground and hover up a cliff side, and the way the sound effects combine with the camera rotating creates a fantastic shot. There’s a moment in the film where gladiatorial-style combat is held in an arena, and it’s under a sun that makes everything colorless. The shots transition from muted color indoors to the harsh, bright white washing over everything. 

No actor’s performance stands out as subpar. With a stacked cast of acting powerhouses like Timothée Chalamet, Austin Butler, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Walken and Javier Bardem, the screen is always filled with talent. 

I highly recommend watching this film while it’s in theaters. According to AMC DINE-IN Manhattan 13’s website, “Dune: Part Two” has its final showings Wednesday, March 27. 

While the first movie has the slowest pace, as it has the burden of setting up the world in addition to the story, “Dune: Part Two” has a tense action scene early on. The story is full of thought-provoking inversions of scenes in the first installment. While the first starts with a voiceover by Chani, the main character’s love interest, the second starts with a voiceover by the emperor’s daughter, who may have to marry the main character, Paul Atreides, for a political alliance. 

“Dune: Part Two” continues Paul’s journey to avenge his father’s murder at the hands of the emperor and his conspirators. The Fremen, the native people of the desert planet, had superstitions planted in their society of a prophesied messiah. Throughout the film, Paul wrestles with the choice of whether or not to use his title of their so-called messiah to achieve his goals. 

The movie has a few minor plot issues, but they don’t overshadow the story. 

The majority of fight scenes rely on melee combat. This is in part explained away by the shields mainly used by the enemies, but the few times the antagonists use guns or mortar against the protagonists are quite effective, making me question why they don’t do it more. 

At first, an enemy leader is placed in charge of hunting down the Fremen, and achieves little when faced with their guerrilla warfare. Then, the leader’s brother replaces him, quickly striking a significant blow to the Fremen by attacking many of their hidden bases. If the enemies knew the Fremen’s location all along, why didn’t they attack them from the start?

These concerns are a drop in the bucket compared to the sheer amount of good storytelling present in this movie. Because of this, filmgoers should certainly watch “Dune: Part One” to fully appreciate and understand the events of the sequel. Once that’s out of the way, check out “Dune: Part Two” before it leaves theaters; it’s certainly worth the ticket price.

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About the Contributors
Cole Bertelsen, copy chief
Copy chief for 2023-24. Previously asst. copy chief for 2022-23.
Riley Scott, graphic design chief
Graphic design chief for spring 2024.
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