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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

‘Dune: Part Two’ saga expands with new depths and real-world themes

Clara Faulkner

This article contains spoilers.

Prepare to be immersed again in Frank Herbert’s “Dune: Part Two.” Director Denis Villeneuve delivers a cinematic masterpiece that expertly weaves the somber essence of Herbert’s world with newfound emotional depth and intricate themes.

Building upon its predecessor’s foundation, this sequel perfectly balances epic spectacle and thoughtful storytelling. While embracing blockbuster elements, it always retains its sense of sophistication, elevating the narrative through profound character arcs and breathtaking visuals. “Part Two” enriches the lore and delves into poignant real-world issues, creating a captivating and visually striking journey that speaks to both sci-fi aficionados and broader audiences.

Following a treacherous coup against the noble Atreides family, whom the emperor had entrusted with administration, the sinister Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and his menacing nephews, the brutish Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) and the even more sinister Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), now hold sway.

Amid this turmoil, the charismatic Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) valiantly leads the Fremen insurgency, deeply in love with Chani (Zendaya) and revered as a messiah by the warrior Stilgar (Javier Bardem). Alongside him stands his mother, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), a member of the mysterious Bene Gesserit sisterhood, who also finds her place within the Fremen’s power structure.

The second “Dune” film offers a vast and mesmerizing view of its expanded universe. 

Léa Seydoux embodies the classic intrigue of the Bene Gesserit initiate Lady Margot Fenring with feline grace, while Anya Taylor-Joy makes a fleeting yet memorable appearance. The film presents a fully realized world, a universe now a distinct and unforgettable creation. This achievement is a testament to the brilliance of cinematographer Greig Fraser and production designer Patrice Vermette.

Hans Zimmer’s musical score masterfully sets the tone, blending mournful beauty with grandiosity. It’s a score that lingers in the mind long after the film ends, adding another layer of depth to this epic and beloved tale. In this cinematic portrayal, Paul is hinted at as a potential messiah figure, yet the film notably positions Chani as an equal force, standing firmly with the Fremen rebels. 

As the Harkonnens relentlessly send soldiers to crush these insurgents, the movie vividly depicts the struggle against overwhelming odds.

Villeneuve seems intent on not only suggesting but also subverting real-world racial dynamics. He casts darker-skinned actors in key Fremen roles, such as the commanding presence of Javier Bardem as Stilgar, embracing the character’s distinct accent and demeanor. This deliberate choice questions and challenges Paul’s traditional “white savior” narrative, offering a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the story’s racial undertones.

In addition to the film’s central themes, Chalamet delivers a captivating performance that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. With his portrayal, Chalamet seamlessly transitions from moments of fear to deep empathy, commanding the screen with his nuanced and compelling acting aside from his opponent, Rautha.

Butler’s portrayal of Rautha, the terror of Giedi Prime, is a chilling revelation. Gone is any hint of campiness; instead, Butler brings to life a Rautha who is the epitome of a psychotic menace. With a hairless, bulky physique and a maniacal grin that sends shivers down the audience’s spines, this version of Rautha is genuinely terrifying. Villeneuve’s direction turns Rautha into a haunting figure akin to a marble statue animated with pure malevolence. In a standout monochromatic gladiatorial fight scene, Rautha’s sinister nature is amplified to its peak. 

Every frame seems to drip with the darkness of his character, making him an unforgettable presence on screen. What sets this rendition apart is the palpable sense of danger Rautha exudes. No supporting player is safe from his deadly blade, and no scenery remains untouched by his menacing presence. Butler’s performance brings a new intensity to the role, creating a chilling character long after the film ends.

The film expands the lore of “Dune” and delves into poignant real-world issues, challenging traditional narratives and offering fresh perspectives. As viewers are immersed in Zimmer’s evocative score, the film leaves a lasting impact, with characters like Chani and Rautha standing as equal forces in a battle against overwhelming odds. Villeneuve’s deliberate casting choices further elevate the narrative, questioning notions of the “white savior” and embracing diversity in critical roles.

“Dune: Part Two” is more than a sequel; it’s a cinematic experience that lingers in the mind, a testament to the power of storytelling and the art of filmmaking.

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About the Contributor
Clara Faulkner, Managing Editor and Living Arts Editor
Clara Faulkner wears multiple hats at the Beacon, serving as both the Business Director and the Living Arts Editor. Prior to assuming these roles, she demonstrated her expertise as an assistant editor, specializing in living arts—a domain she is deeply passionate about, fueled by her love for pop culture and entertainment. Additionally, Clara served as a writer for the Boston Globe, is a part of NBCUniversal Entertainment Group, and contributed to the music team at Intersect Magazine. In addition to her editorial responsibilities, Clara actively participates in various campus organizations, including SPJ, Associate Entertainment Producer at WEBN-TV, programming director at WECB. fm, and AEPHI. Outside of her writing pursuits, Clara immerses herself in culinary exploration, cinematic enjoyment, and language acquisition, consistently seeking fresh experiences and knowledge.
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  • M

    Mitch G. / Mar 8, 2024 at 2:41 pm

    I read the first Dune novel a long time. Ago. I will have to see this movie. What do you thing about Earth Abides by George Stewart in the late 1940s. I am currently reading it for the 6th time? In each reading I pick up on something that alluded me in previous readings.

    Please keep the good work.