“Dune. Second part »: the making of a messiah

Twenty-nine months after the release of the first part, the Dune new generation saga continues, pushing a little further the depiction of the cycle created by the American Frank Herbert in 1965. Long considered an insurmountable Everest, the famous novel of science fiction has given generations of adapters a hard time, starting with David Lynch, who delivered, in 1984, a version that remains remembered as a splendid trainwreck.

As project manager, we find the Canadian Denis Villeneuve, who since his first Quebec films has climbed all the ranks leading to the Hollywood citadel in twenty years. And now at the Olympus of the blockbuster, thanks to his cap as a sensationalist author. After having first laid the foundations of the Dune mythology, it is now up to him to make this universe work, to bring about its movement as well as to find a cruising speed for it.

The first part featured the clash of two dynasties for possession of the planet Arrakis, where the famous “spice” is harvested, a strategic resource of the galactic system allowing consciousness leaps and space travel. When the second opens, the Atreides, defeated, reduced to nothing, have been chased from their legitimate throne by the Harkonnen, a brutal and fascist regime led by a loathsome baron (Stellan Skarsgard) named – get this – Vladimir! But the black barony does not yet control the entire territory. Paul (Timothée Chalamet), heir of the fallen house, has rightly joined, in the company of his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), the Fremen, an indigenous, troglodyte and rebel people living in the vast desert regions of the star and who leads against the power of resistance actions.

Guerrilla scenes in the desert

The episode focuses on Paul’s difficult integration among these desert guerrillas, gradually gaining their trust through his feats of arms and other trials, such as riding the giant worms crisscrossing the dunes. In particular, he wins the esteem, then the heart, of the fighter Chani (Zendaya), with whom he could see himself trading his warrior destinies. Stilgar (Javier Bardem), a Bedouin leader, nevertheless sees in the presence of the stranger the perfect opportunity to revitalize the dying Fremen dynasty, by creating a new prophet from scratch. He exhorts his people to believe that Paul is this.

It is therefore the making of a messiah that we are witnessing here, to which the counter-advent of an “antichrist” of the same magnitude must correspond, Manichaeism dictates. Everything found in the place of a degenerate and psychotic Harkonnen nephew, the disturbing Feyd-Rautha, promoted for his savagery, to whom a bald Austin Butler lends a sick eroticism.

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