Dune Part Two Blu-ray Review: Will the Prophecy Be Fulfilled?

Director/co-writer Denis Villeneuve continues his adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel with Dune Part Two, an interplanetary political epic that equals the scale and scope of the previous film. It’s a visually impressive endeavor that never gets so big it forgets the small moments between characters are what drive a story forward.

Buy Dune: Part Two Blu-ray

Picking up after the events of Dune, Part Two reveals whether or not Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) will fulfill the prophecy of the Fremen and lead them as their Messiah to overthrow the Imperial shackles they live under on Arrakis, or the prophecy of the Bene Gesserit and lead their religious order as the Kwisatz Haderach, whose mental powers bridge space and time. If the latter, that means Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) has disrupted the Bene Gesserit’s 10,000-year plan, although Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) has contingencies. But what if Paul fulfills both prophecies?

Although some Fremen distrust Paul and Jessica as former members of House Atreides, which had ruled the planet before being overthrown by House Harkonnen, Stilgar (Javier Bardem), a Fremen tribal leader, believes Paul to be their Messiah because of what Paul has done. He wants Jessica to be the new Reverend Mother, because the current one is dying and as the Messiah’s mother, it will fulfill the prophecy he believes in. To do so, she must drink the Water of Life, a poison. When she survives, as does her unborn daughter, Alia, Stilgar and others believe it a miracle. Chani (Zendaya) and others don’t buy it, seeing the prophecies as a way for outsiders to control them. Jessica wants Paul to also drink the Water of Life, which, while proclaimed to be fatal to men, will prove he’s the Kwisatz Haderach.

Amidst the religious turmoil, Fremen fighters resist the control of the Harkonnen, led by Rabban (Dave Bautista) in a number of well-executed action scenes by the film’s stunt team. Rabban’s uncle, Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård), warns if the export of spice is disrupted, as Paul and the Freemen are attempting, Emperor Shaddam IV (Christopher Walken) will take Arrakis away from them, so he hands it over to his nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), a ruthless sociopath.

Paul refuses to accept being the Freemen Messiah in part because he dreams of a holy war where “millions and millions starve to death because of” him yet destiny seems to be force his direction. In try to be one of Freemen, he calls a sandworm to ride, as is their tradition. Turns out to be one of the biggest, Shai-Hulud. It’s a thrilling sequence that envelopes the viewer’s senses in parallel to Paul. Reverend Mother Jessica uses this triumph to bring more to idea that Paul is their Messiah.

As the film approaches its conclusion, massive scenes of war give way to smaller yet no less important scenes of palace intrigue as the different factions are brought together. But who will triumph: Paul, his mother, the Emperor, or the Reverend Mother Mohiam? And who will be hurt along the way before and after alliances are sought as power shifts and the stage is set for a Holy War to begin?

Much of what is set up in Dune is satisfyingly resolved in Part Two. The plot twists are both surprising and inevitable as Villeneuve and his writing partner Jon Spaihts deal with so many characters’ and their conflicting wishes. The cast inhabits these characters well and no matter how grandiose the situations the viewer never loses track of the persons at the center.

The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at the original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The colors appear in bold hues, from the golden sands to the blue Water of Life. There are number of interiors and the camera team captures an amazing texture details in the shadows. The world of Harkonnen has no color, so it is shown in inky blacks and bright whites. It too exhibits a great deal of fine texture detail. The one negative is the white subtitles are difficult to make out.

The Dolby Atmos defaults to Dolby TrueHD 7.1. Dialogue is usually clear, but there are moments of intention distortion from certain characters, such as when Paul or Bene Gesserits use the Voice. The listener is enveloped by the soundtrack courtesy of the surround speakers and effects are positioned and pan across channels to increase the soundscape. Composer Hans Zimmer’s score and some loud effects rattle the speakers on occasion. The bass subwoofer is put to good use.

The Bonus Features:

  • Chakobsa Training (5 min) – Creating the language of the Fremen
  • Creating the Fremen World (12 min) – Pre-production of the sets
  • Finding the Worlds of Dune (6 min)– The different locations.
  • Buzz Around the New ‘Thopter’ (4 min)– A look at new vehicle
  • Worm-riding (9 min) – Creating the iconic scene for the screen.
  • Becoming Feyd (8 min) – Bringing the villain to life
  • A New Set of Threads (8 min) – Costume designer Jacqueline West and her team’s work get the spotlight
  • Deeper into the Desert: The Sounds of Dune (13 min) – Zimmer kept working on Dune music when first film, the score of which he won an Oscar, was still in theaters because he wanted to stay in same mindset.

While not the entry point into Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, Part Two is a fantastic continuation of the story of Paul Atreides, and will leave fans wanting Villeneuve to adapt another installment of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga, the next in line of which is Dune Messiah. Villeneuve and his cast and crews have succeeded in creating a special science fiction story because their adaptation focuses on details, both big and small. The Blu-ray offers a quality high-definition presentation.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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