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Film review: 'Dune: Part Two' starts slow but is ultimately excellent

"Dune: Part Two" has almost everything you could want in a sequel. It has a stellar—albeit distractingly famous—cast, raises the stakes, expands on the universe's lore and ultimately does not disappoint fans of the first film.

This cast includes some of the biggest up-and-coming and A-list actors, which can be distracting, especially when many characters' names are easy to miss. Your brain ends up referring to the space princess and evil buff bald guy on your screen as "Florence Pugh" and "Austin Butler," respectively. 

That said, the entire cast breathes so much life into their characters. They make the political gibberish that can be hard to follow believable and digestible, taking an otherwise complicated story and making it feel real. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya have fantastic chemistry, and Rebecca Ferguson makes becoming a religious zealot seem aspirational.

The real standout of the new cast is Butler in the role of Feyd-Rautha. The aforementioned evil bald buff guy is a force to be reckoned with, striking fear into the hearts of the other characters and the audience. Butler embodies the villainous role; let's hope he continues to play more parts like this.

The pacing of the nearly three-hour movie left much to be desired. The first hour is prolonged and mostly dedicated to a subplot about Chalamet's Paul Atreides gaining the trust of the Fremen and learning to sand surf via worm. This continuation of the main adventure from the first movie truly picks up around hour two. 

That said, the subplot in the first act is incredibly important and converges with the main conflict at the end of the film, so while it may lead to boredom in the first hour, the last two-thirds of the film is a triumphant return to the classic sci-fi adventure.

"Dune: Part Two" raises the stakes of its predecessor, introducing new villains and parties conspiring against House Atreides, our heroes. There are plenty of plot twists, and the characters are placed in troubling positions regarding lineage and destiny. Paul is forced to make sacrifices challenging his morals to enact revenge and justice against the people who destroyed his family in the last film. It makes the audience question whether our hero is just that, a hero.

"Dune: Part Two" also continues the tradition of immersive sound design and score. Hans Zimmer won an Oscar for his contribution to the first film's score, and this film continues to prove that he deserved it. This film is meant to be watched in a theatre; watching it anywhere else simply won't yield the same results. The sound design makes you feel as though a spaceship really is flying over you, or you really are surfing on a giant worm, gliding through the sand.

The continuation of the Dune series is a cinematic triumph that should not be understated. Almost every aspect of this film is excellent, giving audiences an immersive and outstanding theatrical experience. If you haven't had a chance to catch "Dune: Part Two" yet, it should be the first thing you cross off your list during Spring Break.


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