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The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Dune II impresses with action-packed sequences and twists

A part of the Dune II movie poster. The highly anticipated Dune II was released in US theaters on March 1, 2024.
Warner Bros. Pictures
A part of the Dune II movie poster. The highly anticipated Dune II was released in US theaters on March 1, 2024.

From its giant desert sandworms lurking underneath sandy dunes to its strong and independent blue-eyed Fremen inhabitants, the planet of Arakkis has captivated movie goers and science-fiction lovers since Dune I‘s release in 2021. Now, the story continues to unfold with the franchise’s latest movie, Dune II, which follows Paul Atreides as he fulfills his destiny as Lisan al-Gaib, leader of the Fremen people.

Dune II, released in theaters on March 1, is the long-awaited continuation of the box-office hit film Dune I. The previous movie focuses on the backstory of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), whose powerful family settles on Arakkis for the planet’s rich natural resources. However, Paul and his mother are soon sent fleeing into the harsh desert after their city gets attacked by the villainous Harkonnens. In the midst of all of this, Paul Atreides comes to terms with his destiny through his visions, eventually meeting Chani (Zendaya), who introduces him to where the Fremen dwell.

Unlike the first movie, whose three-hour long run seemed to drag on pointlessly at times with boring desert scenes, the sequel proved to be the opposite, with action-packed sequences and surprising outcomes at every turn. Picking off where the first movie left off, Dune II covers Paul Atreides’s rise in leadership among the Fremen as he adopts their culture and helps them fight off the Harkonnens and imperial powers who viciously attack their planet.

Though the previous movie focuses mostly on Paul Atreides’s personal journey, the sequel branches off into many different storylines and further develops the villains of the story, making the movie more dynamic. The introduction of characters like Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler), the ruthless nephew of the movie’s main villain, Baron Harkonnen, and Princess Irulan Corrino (Florence Pugh), the Bene Gesserit daughter of the emperor, made the movie all the more interesting. The scenes focusing on the Harkonnens and the imperial court provided a nice break in between the desert scenes, making the movie easier and more entertaining to watch, despite being three hours long.

The experience of seeing the movie on the big screen was incredible. The scenery, overall production quality, and script made the movie truly stand-out, enabling viewers to enjoy the story for what it actually is without being distracted by bad visual effects or cringey dialogue, which is sometimes apparent in other sci-fi movie adaptations.

Something else I enjoyed about the movie were the supernatural elements that dominated much of the plotline. The variety of potions and use of magic, whether it be by the Fremen or the Bene Gesserit, a group of women with paranormal powers, was what made the movie unique, adding an element of fantasy to a story largely considered to be in the realm of science fiction.

Besides that, the constant addition of new character conflicts and aspects of the Dune universe only served to captivate viewers further. With scenes that seamlessly built off of previous ones, there hardly was a moment that felt dull.

That being said, there were some details in the movie, like the use of the sandworm poison and differences between the Northern and Southern Fremen, which felt confusing and at times overwhelming to process. Given that the film was adapted from the original book, it is understandable why the writers may have had trouble staying true to the book whilst conforming to the screen time limitations. Still, if the showrunners had cut the unnecessary details and expanded upon those that were more important to the central storyline, viewers may have been better able to understand what was going on. 

Another aspect of the movie that I struggled with was separating the actors from the characters. With so many famous names cast in the movie—Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, and Austin Butler, to name a few—it was hard to fully connect with the characters without thinking back to the actors playing them. While it is nice to see some famous faces interspersed in major movie productions, in this case, there were simply too many, leaving viewers too distracted to fully immerse themselves in the story. I do think that if less well-known actors had been cast as the leads, the characters would have seemed more authentic and natural to the viewer. 

When it came to the acting itself, the actors did, for the most part, do a good job of capturing the emotion of their characters whenever there was a sudden turn of events or a shocking new discovery being revealed. However, there did seem to be some awkward moments, particularly when it came to the romantic relationship between Paul Atreides and Chani. Though they did a good job of portraying their characters individually, the chemistry between the two actors during a romantic scene together felt quite forced and awkward, taking away from other scenes that highlighted the actors’ range.

All in all, with record-breaking sci-fi classics to live up to, like Star Wars and Avatar, it is undeniable that Dune II held its own. Though its three-hour long run may seem intimidating at first, the experience of watching it is definitely worth it, especially for those who are familiar with Dune I. I encourage fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, and Avatar, as well as anyone who enjoys seeing movies on the big screen, to go out and see it. 


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About the Contributor
Elitsa Koleva
Elitsa Koleva, Managing Editor
Hello! My name is Elitsa and I am a junior. I enjoy reading and watching the news, plus I like to write, which are some of the reasons behind me taking Journalism. I like to swim, paint and read! 

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