[Tub]Thumper

The central conflict of Dune: Part Two isn’t between the desert-living people of Arrakis and the invading spice mining families. Rather, it’s a religious fervor, spiking anxieties between a younger generation drifting ever further from the fore-bearers and those determined to continue near fanatical tradition as they wait for a Messiah.

Then the Messiah comes.

Dune: Part Two doesn’t hide the overt imagery

It’s a story over-encumbered by threads and dangling storylines for what is – depending on your perspective – a direct religious allegory or a deep criticism of western military values and how they oppress people in the east. Either way, Dune: Part Two doesn’t hide the overt imagery, and if anything, stands out for how blatant it all appears; subtle Dune: Part Two is not.

The varying cultures, the disparity of wealth, and the visual kinetics makes this world feel authentic, and watching these clashes between desperate heroes and the monoliths that are the enemies happens in-scale – the heroes are not just dwarfed but towered over by spice-sucking machines, the type of which only exist in an unequal society. That faith is what perseveres turns logical, because what else do these people have?

This is raw spectacle, and a cause to celebrate the advancement of visual effects at a time when major studio films lost their way through a persistent need to conquer rivals with ever expanding digital arsenals. Dune: Part Two is utterly enormous and fantastic, yet doesn’t contain a single implausible image, at least with respect to the sci-fi world. There’s always an anchored camera, virtual or not, that bounds this film to a reality, even when that reality depicts a siege with implausibly large sandworms. Dune: Part Two, wholly in-sync with the first, never pretends; it’s grounded sci-fi that doesn’t betray the senses.

Teetering dangerously close to three hours and arguably unnecessarily so, Dune: Part Two can feel like a chore. The long-winded, stuffy dialog serves the world building more than a narrative that’s pushing forward, but when Dune: Part Two finds the conflict – verbal or physical – the intensity becomes worth the wait.

Video

Glazed predominantly with a bronze overcast by design, Dune: Part Two’s true 4K visuals bring intense color even from what become near monochromatic palettes. Of course, the intensely blue eyes from many of the characters creates an instant, appealing contrast.

Via Dolby Vision, vivid desert sunlight beams in with brilliant peak brightness. Characters walk from dense shadows and under blinding sun creating a contrast that’s reference grade.

Fantastic texture resolves sand grains in the desert from afar or facial definition in close. If/when there’s softness, it’s purely a source choice, whether lens or style. Dune: Part Two doesn’t pop with vividness or saturation and is unlikely to stand up as reference for more casual viewers (those impressed by Best Buy displays set to vivid), but for the enthusiast, this is perfect.

Audio

It’s difficult to recall the last movie-based disc that impressed this jaded, “been doing this too long” internet critic like Dune: Part Two (although it’s likely Blade Runner 2049, if you’re curious, even if there are a few other contenders). A masterpiece of contemporary design, the level of low-end thrust (in addition its tightness, weight, and power of course) is reference grade even before the studio logos appear. Not only does Dune: Part Two produce the highest grade bass, it’s well managed and balanced to enhance every scene. Maybe that’s just a low rumble from the score or a sharp, near instant jolt when a bullet reaches its target.

Impeccable channel separation places viewers in the center of angry crowds, war rooms with their ambiance, while the open air deserts are all meticulously considered. The width and height from this Atmos track is special.

If every major studio action/sci-fi spectacle sounded like this, sites like this wouldn’t need to exist.

Extras

Eight featurettes reach around an hour total of runtime, covering topics like sound, choreography, and more. It’s standard material.

Dune: Part Two
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4.3

Movie

A story of religion, war, and inequality, Dune: Part Two continues the overwhelming spectacle with dazzling results.

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User Review
4.25 (4 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 50 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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