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The Hollywood Insider Dune Part Two Review - Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Austin Butler and More

One of the most anticipated sequels of the year ‘Dune: Part 2’ is finally out in theaters. The franchise, based off of the 1965 book and the 1980s films, is finally getting the recognition that it deserves in these blockbuster hits. Whether you’ve been a ‘Dune’ fan since the novel, or you’re here for the stacked cast, ‘Dune: Part 2’ is full of gorgeous visuals, stunning performances, and an unforgettable story.

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One question that audiences have asked is whether or not it is vital to see the first ‘Dune’ film before seeing the sequel. Though I highly recommend watching the first film if you’re a fan of sci-fi films, Timothée Chalamet, and beautiful visuals, it was heavily criticized for being mostly exposition and setting up for ‘Dune: Part 2’. The first film does not have too many action scenes, but it does provide vital information for understanding the sequel.

‘Dune: Part 2’ begins right in the middle of the action, picking up where the last film left off. We aren’t given a backstory of what is happening in the opening scene, nor a chance to gauge who each character is before they are put to the test. Without knowing the background of the world of the film, it is pretty difficult to understand what the prophecy is, where the characters are, and just exactly who Paul Atreides is. Even though the first film has been called “too boring” by some viewers, it is worth the watch to understand the world of the ‘Dune’ franchise.

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The cast of ‘Dune: Part 2’ was absolutely unmatched. Each and every actor was 100% committed and transformed into their character. You could tell that this cast did their homework, as each person knew exactly what they were talking about in each scene. In films that are taking place in a new world that does not exist, yet requires so much lore, it can be challenging to make acting decisions that reflect the characters. However, this cast truly rose to the occasion and I cannot wait to see where this franchise goes.

Zendaya stood out in this film, as her performance was so authentic. She dove into and became Chani, as I didn’t doubt her for a second. She truly loved her culture, and had such a bite to her-she can be serious and funny all at once. As the film progressed, she began to fight more and more, and I loved the development of her character. Chani was just so human, and her mannerisms were incredibly realistic and authentic. I don’t want to give too much away, but towards the end of the film, the look on Zendaya’s face alone caused my heart to break for this character. She truly had the audience in the palm of her hand.

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Florence Pugh is such a quiet force as Princess Irulan Corrino. Her character does not use violence in her fights. She, rather, utilizes her intelligence and wit to progress in her fights for freedom. She proves that you do not have to be a physical fighter to be a strong woman. Though she wasn’t featured in the film as much as other characters, Pugh made the most of her limited screen time. When she spoke, the audience and the other characters listened. Her strong presence is undeniable.

Austin Butler takes his commitment to performance to the next level in ‘Dune: Part 2’. Much like in ‘Elvis’ he is transformed into this bloodthirsty warrior, both physically and in his performance. The use of improvisation in his performance also made the character of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen even more jarring than intended. This character is supposed to make the audience uncomfortable, and Austin Butler achieved this, without uproar from his castmates or crew. Sometimes, with characters like these, it is easy to go too method and cause an uproar, but Butler stayed committed to his craft without scaring others. However, there is still so much Elvis left over in his voice. I am happy to hear he is working with a dialect coach to bring his authentic voice back from Graceland.

‘Dune: Part 2’ is a true testament to Timothée Chalamet’s range. It is so refreshing to see this young actor get the recognition he deserves in this franchise. In every audible breath, you could feel what Paul Atreides was feeling. His descent from not believing that he was the messiah into taking on this role, almost manically, was a true testament to his abilities. Chalamet took the character development and deep internal changes that come with Paul Atreides and made it into something that was impossible to ignore. This character changes drastically through the course of ‘Dune: Part 2’, which causes audiences to hold their breath as to where these films will go next. 

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Overall, the story of ‘Dune: Part 2’ feels reminiscent of ‘Star Wars’, warning audiences not to get too cocky when reaching great achievements. When Paul Atreides begins to allow himself to accept the fact that he is the chosen one, he starts to change. Even in these new behaviors, everyone still follows and believes Paul, except for Chani, the one who matters most to him. The film feels like a warning that overconfidence will cause you to lose who you truly are.

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Much of the dialogue in ‘Dune: Part 2’ was meticulously written to demonstrate the themes and motifs of religion and fear. The contrasting elements of those who believe Paul Atreides is the messiah, versus Chani who believes that prophecy is a device to control her people helps invite the audience into their own space within the world of ‘Dune’. The film almost utilizes this as its own commentary on religion and how it can be utilized for right or wrong. The motif of fear in both the first and second ‘Dune’  (“fear is the mind-killer”) is another inspiring message for audiences to keep with them as they leave the theater. No matter what you choose to do, fear can and will hold you back.

As the film ends with abrupt changes and twists, the audiences are faced with one more question-what’s next? ‘Dune: Part 2’ features many unanswered questions that sets itself up for another film to answer these questions. Though a third film has yet to be confirmed, we have hope for the next installment of Paul Atreides’ story to continue and answer our questions.

Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, Rebecca Ferguson | Director: Denis Villeneuve

| Writers: Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts | Producers: Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Patrick McCormick, Tanya Lapointe, Denis Villeneuve | Cinematography: Greg Fraser| Editing: Joe Walker

By Abigail Johnson

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