‘Dune: part two’: as solemn as the first, but more exciting | Culture

Frank Herbert’s original novel is not an easy read. And not because of his prose, but because of that rosary of names, languages, planets, places, positions, dynasties and relationships between characters. Denis Villeneuve’s original film, corresponding to the first half of the book, was not easy to watch either, with its 155 minutes of gravity, its crushing solemnity, its brown and gray tones, and its total absence of effervescence or sense of freshness .

However, Herbert’s volume, later completed with five more novels, has brought together a legion of fans from several generations around its universe, and the Canadian director’s adaptation, overcoming Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failure in its formation and the failed David Lynch’s translation from 1984, became a success with the public (400 million euros worldwide), with critics and with awards (ten Oscar nominations and six awards). Both triumphs with moderate merit. So, after the initial prudence in production (the second delivery would only be made if the first one was successful), arrives Dune: part two, with such cinematic flavor and almost exact tone of sumptuousness.

Adult science fiction is (almost) always like this. Pomp and circumstance. And here there is a lot of both in its perhaps unjustifiable two hours and three quarters of duration, sustained by the visual capacity of the author of the magnificent Sicario, Prisoners and Enemy, for the excellent cast, charisma in all its corners, and for the political and religious nuances of a story in which only a few interpretive winks from Javier Bardem add a few drops of sense of humor. Its rotund spaceships like cathedrals, the torn beat of the strings and the percussion of Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack (at the press screening in the small Warner room the seats literally shook) and the weight of its palace intrigues do not leave hardly room for yawning.

Timothée Chalamet, in ‘Dune: part 2’.

On the contrary, as also happened to the arrival already Blade Runner 2049, Despite the technical and artistic effort, Villeneuve still has not left lasting images for the history of cinema with Dune (as is your spider Enemy), partly because sometimes his best creations of specific shots seem to lack images (the handling of the tempo in editing), as if due to a certain impatience, and partly also because some of the most fascinating ones are blurred by digital obstinacy, and there the multiplication of crowds in the sequence of Austin Butler’s character’s fight in the coliseum acts as a paradigm .

The power of Herbert and Villeneuve and their co-writers to seal phrases like tombstones remains intact (“The meaning of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced,” it was said in the first installment). Also the interesting parallels between Jesus Christ and Paul Atreides, the role of Timothée Chalamet: that messiah who in the first part was about to rebel due to his status as the chosen one and who now, more aware, must go through a series of tests in the dunes just like the son of God in the loneliness of the desert, tempted by the Devil. And even more, the suggestive concomitances between the Fremen of the planet Arrakis of the year 10191 and any oppressed people in the history of humanity, which in our contemporaneity will take many public minds to Gaza. A sensation further heightened by the names with Arabic nuances and by those secret tunnels to defend oneself against the oppressor, which can also take back even the Vietcong against the United States (remember that the novel is from 1965).

Dune: part two It is sometimes excessively severe and between the tests in the desert and the final battle there is plenty of footage on several sides. But it is also solid, attractive and more exciting than the first installment. Villeneuve seems to want to continue adapting Herbert’s novels. He has a whole career and even those of his heirs. And be careful because the next novel, The Messiah of Dune, turns the oppressed into the oppressor. And that also sounds like our contemporaneity in the Middle East area.

Dune: part 2

Address: Denis Villeneuve.

Performers: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebeca Fergusson, Javier Bardem.

Gender: Science fiction. USA, 2024.

Duration: 166 minutes.

Premiere: March 1.

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