With stunning visuals, a brilliantly deep soundtrack, and immersive world-building, Dune: Part Two, the second movie of the Dune franchise, was released to theaters on March 1, 2024. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring actors such as Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Rebecca Ferguson, Dune: Part Two transports us into its sci-fi world and the desert planet of Arrakis. The Dune movie franchise is based on the Dune book series, written by Frank Herbert and first published in August 1965.

Dune: Part Two continues the storyline of the Dune: Part One. Set in a futuristic reality in which humanity has separated into what are called “houses” living under a single emperor. One of the biggest driving factors of the plotline is the substance known as “spice.” Spice is a narcotic substance that, due to a multitude of reasons, has become one of the most sought-after substances in the Dune universe. At the beginning of Dune: Part One, House Harkonnen ruled over the planet Arrakis, which happens to be abundant in spice. The emperor then decides to remove ownership of Arrakis from them, instead granting ownership of the planet, and its spice, to House Atreides. This gift of a planet was actually a backhanded attempt to end House Atreides, and by the end of Dune: Part One, House Atreides appears to be no more.

The main protagonist, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), is heir to House Atreides, and in the aftermath of Dune: Part One. This sequel focuses on his journey to discovering himself and his goals. His most significant role within the franchise is his taking up the roles of “the One” and the “Lisan Al Gaib,” adopting prophet-like status. Dune: Part Two centers around religion, with many of the native peoples of Arrakis believing Paul is the “Lisan Al Gaib,” which roughly translates to “The Voice from the Outer-World.” This religious idea was planted by a group known as the Bene Gesserit. As a powerful sisterhood of beings able to harness the power of “the Voice,” they were sent to the natives of Arrakis to plant ideas of the “Lisan Al Gaib” in preparation for one they called “the One.” As the son of a Bene Gesserit, the some people believe Paul to be a possible “the One,” a being who can transcend space and time. Paul subsequently battles with his identity as others project onto him a role of a messiah. This idea of a messiah only exacerbates tension and conflict within the franchise, with faith creating a constant power struggle.

Dune: Part Two is one of the most beautiful movies to experience. From the blue eyes of the Fremen to the contrasting yellow sandy landscape, watching the Dune franchise is an incredibly immersive and spectacular experience. The soundtrack of Dune, composed, conducted, and produced by Hans Zimmer, can only be described as thrillingly satisfactory. Some moments are eerily pleasant, others are unbashfully powerful, and some give you a feeling of floating. Many scenes can be described as incredibly moving, with the framing of shots and lighting bringing the world to life.

During this 2-hour, 46-minute movie, I surprisingly found some parts were paced a bit too quickly, and with the amount of plot that needed to be covered, some beats felt disconnected. However, if it even can be called an issue, the pacing was a minuscule one, as the enchanting cinematography provided a transcending watch. I would highly advise watching the first Dune movie before watching the second to familiarize yourself with the story, but Dune Part: 2 is definitely a must-watch. There is word of a 3rd Dune movie in the works, and as there are six books in the original series, it begs the question, how many more movies will they make? We can only hope for a satisfying continuation of a brilliantly executed franchise.