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Dune: part two


Stars: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Austin Butler, Dave Bautista, Christopher Walken, Josh Brolin, Charlotte Rampling, Florence Pugh, Stellan Skarsgard, Lea Seydoux, Anya Taylor-Joy

Director: Denis Villeneuve

322 minutes and still no end in sight. Well, there's a climax of sorts but, as Zendaya grimly reminds us, 'This isn't over yet' - and director Villeneuve plans to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune: Messiah to complete his trilogy.

For those who enjoyed the first two-and-a-half hours of this epic take on Herbert's futuristic fantasy, this is more of the same, only louder, with even more impressive armoury and SFX, and more boring bits too, as our hero gazes gloomily into the desert.

Paul (Chalamet) and his mother (Ferguson), fugitive royals on a desert planet in 10,000-and-something AD, have been accepted by the nomadic tribe they travel with, who begin to believe that Paul is their long-awaited saviour, or Mahdi, and rename him Ulul.

He also falls for the tribe's alpha maiden (Zendaya, seemingly in a permanent state of sulk), and undergoes a tribal ritual that involves wandering through the desert avoiding the Whispering Spirits, trap-door spiders and lethal centipedes (none of which we see), as well as the gigantic and equally deadly sandworms, which will eventually be harnessed to the tribe's advantage.

Back at the global city where the bad guys and their army live, the emperor's daughter (Pugh), yearns for Paul's return, while his youngest son (Butler), clearly auditioning for a new version of Nosferatu, undergoes his own baptism of fire in the gladiatorial arena.

He and Paul are destined to clash at the climax as surely as Robin Hood crosses swords with the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The acting here is mostly strong, especially from Chalamet, Bardem (the leader of the tribe) and Bautista (the emperor's other son), but the females in the cast are radically under-served, there are some pretty dodgy-looking CGI crowd scenes and there's the usual snarling (and overdone) music in the foreground (by Hans Zimmer).

Full of sound and fury and groaningly overlong, the film is finally as empty as its (Mali-shot) desert. Another three hours of this doesn't really bear thinking about.

David Quinlan

USA/Hungary/India/New Zealand 2024. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by FotoKem.
167 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 27 Feb 2024