The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | ‘Dune: Part Two’ lives up to the hype

Denis Villeneuve brings the second half of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel to life with inspired grandeur.
Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY
Jan 7, 2024; Beverly Hills, CA, USA; Timothee Chalamet at the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.. Mandatory Credit: Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY

“He who controls the spice, controls the universe.”

When Stellan Skarsgård’s voiceover as Vladimir Harkonnen blasted through the pitch-black cinema before even the studio’s logos had occupied the screen, I knew that “Dune: Part Two” was going to be something special.

After the release of “Dune: Part One” 2021 — Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the first half of Frank Herbert’s influential 1965 novel — it made a modest $440 million at the box office and was a hit with critics and general audiences alike.

Now that the second half of the story has arrived, it is seemingly poised to make an even bigger splash.

“Dune: Part Two” originally had a release date set for Nov. 17, 2023, but last year’s SAG-AFTRA strikes saw it delayed until March 1.

Because of this delay and the film’s status as a sequel to a highly regarded first installment, it isn’t hyperbolic to say that “Dune: Part Two” was the most anticipated film of 2024. But did it deliver?

This was an epic film that prioritizes spectacle above all else. There were countless jaw-dropping moments, set against gorgeous backdrops, that delivered an unforgettable experience. Though an epic story that commanded awe, the film was also heartfelt at its center.

This came through the character of Paul Atreides, played by Timothée Chalamet. His mythic journey found him at war with the Harkonnen family, who took everything from him in the first film.

Paul is a much more proactive protagonist in this sequel than in its predecessor, and that’s just one thing Part Two immediately holds over Part One.

While Part One and Part Two are equally strong adaptations of their source material, the second half of the book has a more interesting story, making Part Two automatically the stronger film.

Likewise, it was an excellent call on Villeneuve’s part to turn his “Dune” adaptation into two movies. Both films are very deliberately paced, and every scene is indispensable, and subsequently do the story justice.

RELATED: REVIEW: ‘Drive-Away Dolls’ brings LGBTQ+ spin to road trip comedy

There were several deviations from the novel that resulted in surprising moments. It’s up for debate whether these changes enhance or detract from the story, but the film is overall a very faithful adaptation when it comes to the broad strokes.

Hans Zimmer’s score felt as if it was holding back in the first film. Certain emotional scenes in Part Two hit much harder thanks to his score, which helped sell the tenacity of this story far more than it did in Part One.

A simple fact remains: 166 minutes is a long time to spend in a theater. I rarely found myself bored during my viewing experience, but audiences should be aware of the runtime before they consider buying a ticket.

Overall, “Dune: Part Two” is simply an epic film that does Herbert’s classic story justice. It deserves to be seen on the biggest, loudest screen you can find.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Grant Darnell, Arts Reporter
Grant Darnell is a second year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in English and Creative Writing and Screenwriting Arts. He is currently an Arts Reporter for the Daily Iowan.