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KPCW sends its most discerning moviegoers to the movies each week to let you know which films are worth going to and which are a pass. The Friday Film Review airs at 7:20 a.m., during the Noon News and in The Local View. KPCW Friday Film Reviewers are: Barb Bretz, Rick Brough, Mark Harrington and Linda Jager.

Friday Film Review | 'Dune: Part Two'

“Dune: Part 2” has arrived in theaters. Will the continuation of the epic drama recreate the magic of the surprisingly successful “Dune” film released in 2021?

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya and Rebecca Ferguson, “Dune” [Part 1] exceeded the already high expectations for a reboot of one of cinema’s most beguiling sci-fi stories. Director Denis Villeneuve readily admits he wanted to film the two Dune films at the same time. However, his studio asserted a financially conservative approach demanding to assess the success of the release of Part 1 before green lighting Part 2.

The director now admits the delay was the best thing to ever happen to him. The success of “Dune” allowed him to go forward with “Part 2” but gave him the benefit of learning from the first production. This second bite at the apple resulted in fixes and improvements to the technical aspects of his production that somehow improved upon the epic cinematography and story composition of the first. The result is astonishing, and audiences are rewarded for their patience.

“Dune Part 2” is not a sequel but a continuation of one of the most convoluted sci-fi stories ever attempted to be translated to the big screen. The story resumes on the planet Arrakis, home of the “spice” which extends life and intellectual acumen making it the source of power in the galaxies, with Paul Atreides hiding in the desert sheltered by the tribal Fremen after the House of Harkonnen conspired with the Emperor to slaughter his family. His mother escaped with him, and her standing in a mysterious witch cult manipulating politicians behind the scenes grows to fuel the use of religious radicals to propel Paul into power pursuant to a centuries old prophecy.

Paul struggles to remain true to his principles and love for Chani, a Fremen warrior and patriot of equality. Paul realizes the prophecy may be his best path to exact revenge upon the Harkonnen, but has visions of death and starvation of millions of Fremen who will be sacrificed by his ascent. In between the political posturing, Paul and Chani’s love grows as Paul embraces the culture and coming-of-age rituals of the Freman. An already stellar cast which also includes Stellan Skarsgard, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem only gets better in Part 2 with the addition of Christopher Walken, Florence Pugh and Austin Butler.

So, on my Black Diamond ski trail rating system, “Dune: Part 2” earns my highest DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND trail rating. Intimate yet grand, this film delivers a majestic cinematic experience grounded in a complex narrative which is made accessible by straight forward storytelling. Just as Christopher Nolan is credited with successfully translating what was universally accepted as an indescribable, subjective, internal conflict of the enigmatic genius of Oppenheimer, so too has Denis Villeneuve beautifully captured the simplest traits of humanity and a heart-wrenching love story via a book previously thought to be an untranslatable mishmash of sci-fi, political and cult narratives.

“Dune: Part 2” is playing exclusively on big screens with the fastest 2 hours and 46 minutes runtime you’ll experience in a movie theater. The film is also worthy of an IMAX viewing. “Dune: Part 2” is rated PG-13 for strong violence, suggestive material, language and psychedelic roofied worm drinks.

City attorney by day, Friday Film Review critic by night.