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Dune 2 sweeps on

Back in 2021 I left a theater and wrote, “If you walk into the movie Dune cold, you may find yourself lost in a hot desert,” a line that works two ways.  Detailed interactions can lose those unfamiliar with the story. Or, like millions of fans, you can get lost and absorbed with a vividly conceived universe that inspires rapt attention. The dual concept works again in 2024 following the release of Dune 2, a sequel that benefits greatly from watching its predecessor. As I pointed out before, “director Denis Villenueve shows little inclination to speed things along,” another sentence that deserves clarification: a project inspired by so long and complicated a series of books warrants a more leisurely approach than a single movie allows. Following my previous thoughts, I can rip off a few other lines from that 2021 review, pointing out that classic fantasy traits found in Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and more keep Dune on the list of most—or must--read science fiction. As before, I appreciate the director’s well-chosen cast, with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya highlighting youthful appeal. Despite a willowy form, Chalamet musters an attitude of strength and determination that make him a plausible leader, plus he has great hair. Holding her own amidst a powerful team, Zendaya exudes her own defiant looks in a harsh world where both people and nature challenge survival. The natural world envisioned by author Frank Herbert reflects the series’ title, a vast sandy realm full of swirling mounds and hills. Director Villeneuve finds part of that world on earth in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert, site of real and reel adventures experienced by Lawrence of Arabia. The landscape feels otherworldly and once again contributes to the movie’s stunning and gorgeous appearance. Mix in battles with spaceships and weapons that T.E. Lawrence could never imagine, and Dune 2 takes action packed steps towards plot development and character growth.  But nothing feels final, and why would it?  After all, novelist Herbert ran his series through 19 books, and big-screen time limits force Villenueve to find a reasonable moment to take a break. Happily, for me since I despise cliffhangers, he avoids a frustrating “g



otta know what happens this very second” finish, allowing time to take it all in and practice patience before Dune 3 comes along. So, as I wrote before, I personally expect to continue demonstrating that required patience.  After all, I qualify as a fan since I once named a blue-eyed calico cat Alia after a Dune character who I hope to meet more thoroughly in the next installment.

 

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