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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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‘Dune’ sequel continues epic story, captures love of audiences

“Dune 2” entranced audiences with characters and storyline allowing fantasy lovers to fall in love with a new, Sci-Fi universe.

When asked to name the most epic fictional world ever created, the answers that you would get from most fantasy connoisseurs are fairly predictable. The epic, lush expanse of Middle-earth in “The Lord of the Rings.” The violent and cutthroat lands of Westeros in “Game of Thrones.” Or the scruffy, operatic galaxy of “Star Wars.” 

But recently, a new adaptation of an older cinematic world has emerged and landed on this list with fantastic (and horrifying) creatures, mystifying religions, and characters that’ll swiftly and brutally grab you by the soul. This is Arrakis, the fictional desert planet setting for Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”

I watched Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 “Dune: Part One” film without many expectations. Having already fallen for many other fantasy worlds in the past, I couldn’t see how it would be possible for another fictional universe or group of characters to steal my heart. I had been there and done that, and I was not looking to get lost again. 

And yet — I was mistaken. The first movie immediately grabbed my attention and kept it, skyrocketing my expectations for part two, released March 1. The sequel did not disappoint. 

Dune: Part Two” continues the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the young heir of House Atreides, an aristocratic family that rules the planet Caladan. During the first film, he travels to the desert planet of Arrakis with his family, launching him into an epic struggle. 

For any actor, no matter how masterful or experienced, the role of Paul Atreides is an extremely tall order. Paul is so many things — he’s a warrior, he’s a prophet, he’s a scared teenage boy — and Chalamet transitions between them with utter believability and grace. One minute, he’s crying in his mother’s arms; the next, he’s screaming at the top of his lungs “Long live the fighters!” while brandishing a knife in the air as dozens of Fremen warriors chant along and shout his name.

Paul’s partner in the resistance and budding love interest is Chani Kynes (Zendaya), a talented Fremen warrior. The two fall in love over the course of Paul’s training with the Fremen through a romantic arc reminiscent of Jake and Neytiri in “Avatar.” The romantic, campy weirdness of their love story takes absolute commitment from both actors, but in this particular cinematic relationship, it’s Zendaya who shines. You can see in her face the complexity of her feelings for Paul: that maybe he isn’t as naïve as she thought, that he’s truly sincere and honorable, and finally, that she’s in love with him.

Yet, even with remarkable acting and the enchantingly built world, it’s the visuals that make the film outstanding. A scene included in the movie’s trailer features dozens of Fremen warriors physically rising from the sand while sprinting forward to meet an incoming enemy troop that is, at the same time, charging toward them. This is just one of many shots in the movie that’ll bring the same thought into your head: How did they do that?

“Dune: Part Two” combines spellbinding visuals with exceptional acting and twists them together to create an experience that feels like more than simply seeing a movie. It’s a journey into a strange world that is as adrenaline-inducing as it is delightful, and you’ll never have been so thrilled to get lost on the way.

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About the Contributor
Light Dohrn
Light Dohrn, Assistant Editor
Light Dohrn is a member of the Class of 2026 and a Midway assistant editor. As a ninth grader, she joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is “Through authenticity and humor, biology teacher inspires passion among students.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys Middle-Earth fantasy books and Tarantino films. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Excellent, review writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, press law and ethics

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