Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part One was honestly a pretty solid movie. It introduced a far-flung future that is implausibly focused on a medieval past, but it made up for that implausibility by the accompanying concepts being fun to imagine. And said future is chock full of interesting characters with wildly divergent motivations that are worth watching clash against one another. Shadowy prophecies, a macguffin that you can really understand why people care so deeply about it, betrayals, chases, escapes… I begin to consider that these movies should not be classified as science fiction. Well, whatever, unimportant.

Part Two, on the other hand, is a complete enigma of a film. It clocks in at nearly three hours, and two of those hours are Paul Atreides learning how to Fremen better than any Fremen has ever Fremened before, in fulfillment of messianic prophecy that was apparently set in motion by the Bene Gesserit, which makes it not entirely trustworthy[1], except for how it all keeps coming true nevertheless. And it’s not that these two hours are, moment over moment, bad. It’s that they somehow manage to simultaneously be boring in aggregate while still also managing to feel rushed. I don’t know if that means the five hour version of this movie would fix all the problems or heighten them to the point of absurdity, but it’s pretty definitely one or the other, and I’d like to at least know which, you know?

Then in the remaining hour we see the machinations behind the brutal climax of part one, leading into a brutal climax of part two, which… just straight up did not feel like the end of a story. I think I might have been better able to give long stretches of boring sand punctuated by worms and romance and guerrilla tactics followed by a climactic ending that perversely resolves nothing and arguably leaves things even worse than before, if I had known this was the middle third of a trilogy.

As it is… solid spectacle, lovely acting, total feh at the storytelling.

[1] I don’t mean in the “is it real?” sense, because I don’t know enough about the BG, and the movie does not reveal enough about them, to determine where their knowledge (if indeed they have any special knowledge in the first place) comes from. I mean it in the “is it a trap?” sense, because it would appear that anything they do benefits themselves before anyone else. Also the Kwisatz Haderach, which is probably meant to be something more than a creepy pair of words, but is not particularly elaborated upon in any deeper way in these two movies.

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