Dune: Part Two

12A¦ 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD

Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 Dune was a dull, bland snore-fest. It may have well satisfied those who were fans of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, who let’s face it, must have made up all of 5% of its box office taking (with the other 95% being Chalametes), which isn’t to be sniffed at, breaking the $400 million mark as they did, but let’s not pretend it was enjoyable in any way.

The only thing that could be expected from its sequel is that it couldn’t get any worse. Could it?

boom reviews Dune: Part Two
Hopefully these will prevent us inhaling fumes from the regular folk.

Down on the planet of Arrakis finds Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), as he continues to build on his relationship with Stilgar (Javier Bardem) and the Fremen. He is seen by them to be a messiah, who will bring peace to their land, although not everyone is convinced, including Chani (Zendaya).

Meanwhile, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) continues with his plans to destroy any opposition he encounters, which includes putting his younger, menacing nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler) as ruler of the Arraki’s.

Paul continues his journey with the Fremen, which becomes more and more spiritual, as he attempts to unite the people of the planet against an imminent attack from a mighty foe, which he knows all too well.

boom reviews Dune: Part Two
This next song is Heartbreak Hotel on Delta 3-5.

So here is the good news, this sequel is a vast improvement on the first instalment. The story has more clarity, and there is a greater sense of good and evil, as well as camaraderie and friendships developing. There is a definite line in the sand where you can distinguish who is on whose side.

And, thankfully, there’s more action too, although it’s a little on the pedestrian side, and there’s still nothing sexy about really large worms. But at 15 minutes shy of 3 hours in length, it is far too long for its own good.

But at least it’s clear as to what this whole Dune experience is: it’s essentially Game of Thrones, with all the fun, sexy stuff taken out. It’s about houses, and politics, and power and blah, blah, blah. Its story is still dull, and the characters all lack any kind of personality, although Bardem and Butler both try their very best.

It’s a bloated, self-indulgent mess that has delusions of grandeur. It wants to be recognised as a sci-fi epic, but it’s ultimately some people who don’t get along all that well on an extremely sandy planet.

And yet the film has impressive world box office takings of over $700 million, making it the current highest grossing film of the year. It is a sign that there appear to be some curious patterns emerging from audiences. One is that they’re likely to go see Chalamet in anything, including the disappointingly humdrum Wonka, and if Zendaya is with him, then better all round.

So you would think the same would apply to someone like Ryan Gosling, whose Ken in the delightful Barbie, charmed the pants off of everyone who saw it. And therefore teaming him up in an action comedy with the excellent Emily Blunt is about as close to a sure thing as you can get, and yet The Fall Guy was an unmitigated flop.

This franchise then doesn’t really deserve its success; Villeneuve is undoubtedly a talented director, and yet his previous films are more skewed towards art house films – including his Blade Runner sequel that was far from a box office success, with this franchise difficult to describe as being entertaining.

Despite its undeniable success at the box office, this is by no means a Hollywood blockbuster. It may have the stars, but it’s simply not the type of film/franchise you could watch over and over again, like you can a Star Wars or Back to the Future. Quote a memorable line from it, we dare you.

It is then a curious anomaly, that may well owe a lot to its young stars, and although an improvement on the first, it’s difficult to imagine anyone pining for the inevitable third part, we know we’re not.

we give this three out of five