HomeEntertainmentCan Dune: Part Two...

Can Dune: Part Two surpass the first part?

The first Dune was supposed to be majestic. Everything about this movie matched that: the idea of Frank Herbert, the excellent cast, the director Denis Villeneuve, and the epic music of Hans Zimmer. All of this occurred in the vast sandy expanse of Arakis, where there was room for great visuals and a complex yet easy-to-follow story. But the first Dune was a tribute to itself and the beautiful picture, suffering from a slow and rather superficial narrative that would hardly have kept the audience in their seats if not for the picture, which left no chance to “just get up and leave the theater.”

As the end credits ended, my first thought was: “This is a great piece of work that is a pleasure to watch. But no, it will never become iconic.” And it had its reasons because the first Dune was a combination of great visuals, music, and an equally unimpressive plot you forget after a couple of hours. It left nothing to ponder and no story to spin around in your head.

It probably wasn’t a disappointment, but only because I enjoyed how it looked. But it wasn’t a new word in sci-fi either. With the release of Dune 2, chances are good that everything will go right, and the two parts together will begin a beautiful narrative, with the first part taking the place of an albeit not-so-interesting but must-watch prologue.

Dune is sometimes compared to Star Wars, recalling that Frank Herbert’s saga inspired George Lucas and Star Wars. But the latter undoubtedly surpassed Dune in cinematic embodiment, giving audiences a simple but compelling story combined with a fast-paced narrative and iconic characters. The problem with Dune is that it’s tough to screen. Herbert has included so many references to other cultures and created a world that is different from our own with a simple screen adaptation; chances are that the audience will not understand the result. This difficulty is overcome by the fact that Villeneuve gradually brings us up to speed but omits essential details, such as revealing in the first film why Arrakis is so important to mankind and how the system of power is organized in this world.

Villeneuve doesn’t seem intent on abandoning the slow narrative, which Variety‘s Peter Debruge compares to “the austerity of Andrei Tarkovsky” to give you the details of the relationships between the characters. And if the narrative is structured exactly as the critic describes the movie, the approach remains the same – to show you an epic story, but not through the prism of dynamics, but through a slow, old Arrakis-like narrative. It’s the same kind of epic, just in a different shell, and you’re supposed to admire it as it slowly envelops you, as if you’ve come not to a movie theater but a three-hour opera.

The first part was so slow, perhaps not because Villeneuve made a mistake and didn’t finalize the plot, but because that was part of the original intent: the exposition was only supposed to touch the world and characters lightly, but dust a full-fledged prologue for Arrakis, a vital planet for all of humanity. And from that perspective, it was justified because the first part immersed you in that planet, making you feel its temperament. Arrakis isn’t just a planet; in some ways, it references our society. While some try to dominate it by simply capitalizing on it. Paul and the Fremen tribes have learned to control it and cope with it rather than subjugate it. The strange Fremen and their customs are a part of the social unconscious that cannot be explained but must be accepted to survive on Arrakis.

As Lovia Gyarkye of the Hollywood Reporter says, “Part Two is plagued by a nagging shallowness when it comes to portraying the Fremen.” But their fight isn’t just a fight against the Empire. It’s also part of the much more complex question of what society is and how different circumstances shape it. But it’s hard to blame the movie for not going further in exploring this phenomenon because that would make the movie even slower and more stretched out. These are questions. that even Herbert doesn’t answer in the book, touching on them superficially, leaving Fremen only part of a larger and larger narrative.

And yet, Part Two will be much more fulfilling in terms of pacing and developing the relationships between the characters, albeit in a slightly funky way. As Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair writes, “Villeneuve has long had trouble balancing plot with the picture, but here he almost gets the calibration exactly right.” The weak point of Part One was that the mesmerizing picture was surprisingly balanced with a slow and superficial plot that would have sufficed for a 1.5-hour movie. But in Part Two, it seems that the events will speed up a bit, the contrast will go up, and the density will shrink. It probably won’t be a leap to dynamics and “I can’t take my eyes off it,” but it’s like listening to Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, where the pace builds slowly but not obnoxiously, immersing you in context.

You will slowly see the first attempts to ride the sandworm and how Paul, at first resisting the religious propaganda of the Bene Gesserit among the Fremen, will gradually give in to temptation (or just circumstances?) to eventually become part, even if he doesn’t fully realize it, of a much bigger game in which he has only one role to play. Part Two not only speeds up the pace compared to Part One but also speeds up within itself, catching up with you towards the finale to stun you. While some would say this doesn’t benefit the movie and goes against the rules of storytelling, I see it as a true reflection of the real world. Sometimes, we grow above ourselves without exposition, and we do it faster than we should “according to the canons of the genre.”

And it immerses you in what could be called true dark fantasy, reflecting the original intent of the novel. That sticky feeling of uncertainty when you realize that everything that happens is nothing more than part of a conspiracy in which the Bene Gesserit are weaving the fate of an entire world. Or do they only think they are the weavers who sit at the loom? Part Two will not provide an answer, leaving either room for speculation or space for Part Three. I’m afraid I have to disagree with those who say this is the time to finish Dune. The Dilogy turned out well, but it needs one more part to finish the cathedral that Villeneuve started to build. For what it’s worth, if Part Two is thriving at the box office, he’ll have the resources to make Part Three. And it will be possibly the best thing to happen in sci-fi in years. And we can trust that it will break the back of the “let’s just milk a successful franchise” narrative to break the shackles of the industry and move on to creating something new.

And let Dune: Part Two be a bit slow and sometimes even tedious. But treat it not like going to the movie theater. Think of it as a classical opera or a Shakespearean drama. It’s not just countless starships and vast deserts. It slips through our fingers like sand picked up on Arrakis: a self-contained movie that shows you that art is not fast food. Treat it like an expensive restaurant with slow service: the wait will be passive at first, but when you taste what’s brought to you, you’ll realize it wasn’t for nothing.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is an Entertainment Editor at Splaitor. He manages the team of writers and contributors to the Entertainment section and covers games, movies, and streaming. Before joining Splaitor, he obtained a BA in Literature and worked for almost 10 years as a screenwriter. Currently, he is in charge of everything related to entertainment, including creating "What to watch" lists, writing reviews of the hottest releases, and managing and reviewing other writers. In his free time, he writes science-fiction, fantasy, and verses.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More similar stories