'Dune: Part Two' review: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya amaze in epic sequel

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
'Dune: Part Two' review: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya amaze in epic sequel
Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in "Dune: Part Two"
Warner Bros.

MANILA, Philippines — The vision of filmmaker Denis Villeneuve truly knows no bounds, this as he carries it out once more in his latest film "Dune: Part Two," a continuation of Frank Herbert's iconic novel on the big screen (where it belongs).

Carrying right after the events of 2021's "Dune," Timothee Chalamet's Paul learns the ways of the Fremen as he prepares retaliation against House Harkonnen for the fall of the Atreides family.

The Harkonnens seize control over the collection and distribution of Spice on the planet Arrakis, which has further grabbed the attention of Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken) and his daughter, the Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh).

As Villeneuve mentioned years ago, "Dune: Part Two" would not have been possible without the success of it predecessor — and it was a valid worry given it came out during the height of the pandemic and a simultaneous release on streaming.

Hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office and six Oscar wins later, Villeneuve sees a sequel come to life, and it is much bigger and arguably better.

The director was wise to split Herbert's original book into two parts given how the vast worldbuilding and intricate lore, much of which comes through again this time around with the help of co-writer Jon Spaihts.

"Dune: Part Two" leans hard into two stories: the fight between the Fremen and the Harkonnens for Arrakis and the rise of Paul Atreides as a prophesied savior.

On paper it appears a typical tale, but Herbert and now Villeneuve make it anything but, as Paul himself often questions, if a foreigner is indeed the right person to inspire liberty and Zendaya's Chani even more so as she's skeptical of the religious beliefs Paul is painted as.

Villeneuve and Spaihts carefully tread the discussions of political and religious ideologies in ways even casual moviegoers will understand but still manage to amaze given the cinematic spectacle shown through the camera.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser carries over his vast shots of Arrakis and steps it up with more intimate shots of characters and warm colors that spectacularly contrast the monochrome dullness of the Harkonnen home world.

Related: More screen time together for Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet in 'Dune 2'

Even with the borderline black-and-white sequences of the latter, it turns out to be one the film's most exciting sequences as it introduces a harsh light on Austin Butler's Feyd-Rautha.

In fact there is a surplus in action and battle scenes in this sequel, all of them well-choregraphed and thrilling in ways "Dune" only teased.

Butler is far and beyond the best new addition to the cast, portraying his character with such sadistic intentions and a bloodcurling appearance that rivals the titular monsters from "It" and "The Babadook."

Chalamet, of course, carries a lot of weight being thrusted into reluctant hero territory, one he gradually embraces with doubt that later washes over in shocking fashion.

Other standouts are Rebecca Ferguson's Lady Jessica, given more material to powerfully influence Paul's position, and Javier Bardem as he shows a devout and fatherly side of Stilgar that lends to movie's lighter moments.

In line with Villeneuve's creativity, the sound design team have elevated the predecessor's crisp and expansive sounds, while Hans Zimmer adds to his Oscar-winning score pieces of music like "Worm Ride," "Harkonnen Arena," and "Southern Messiah" that greatly lift the cinematic experience.

Almost in similar fashion, Villeneuve has expressed his intention to continue the story of "Dune" with a third film adapting "Dune Messiah" (the second book in Herbert's series) to truly close the fates of Paul, the Fremen, and all in the Known Universe.

The filmmaker has more than done enough to show what beauty still lies in creating motion pictures full of imagination and spectacle when given the right direction and material.

If anything, Villeneuve deserves another go if he wishes. Surely many fans will clamor if he doesn't, and to that we should all say, "Long live the fighters."

"Dune: Part Two" premieres in Philippine cinemas today.

RELATED: 'Ethereal' Anya Taylor-Joy joins 'Dune 2'

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