Spoiler Alert: DUNE 2

Timmy and Johnny on Arrakis

If I recall correctly (from a few hours ago, I just got home) DUNE 2 starts with a recap of DUNE 1 from a pretty posh lady recording her diary on another planet. Looks like a pile of dead bodies is getting set fire to on Arrakis. I remember the name Arrakis from reading the books 40+ years ago but really not much else, and I didn’t see DUNE 1 so I’m relying on the filmmakers to catch me up. 

On a sandy duneside, Paul Atrides aka Timothee Chalamet wakes up with the Fremen, a charismatic and sexy desert people. Apparently his family “House” is mostly dead, killed by the House of Bald Guys, led by the Fat Ugly Bald Guy. Who’s that woman Timmy is talking with? Is that his girlfriend? Wait that’s his MOM. She pukes which in movie language means she’s pregnant.

Timmy wants to be accepted by the charismatic desert hotties which is very reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia. Also their Lead Charismatic Guy speaks with a strong Lawrence-Arabian accent. He’s on Team Timmy, believing him to be a prophet of prophesy. But first Timmy has to prove himself to the Fremen, who are not only strong fierce and good-looking but also racially diverse, unlike the ugly Bald Guys who are so white that when they have a tournament outdoors the film itself has no color at all.

People of No Color

Looks like a Younger Bald Guy is being chosen as a royal heir, and he distinguishes himself by being a psychopath with a sort of cute face for a bald guy with really dark teeth. He slits the throats of a few bald sluts just for fun. He’s being set up as a foil for Timmy, who is learning the desert ways, helped by an especially cute young Freman possibly named “Chani” but pronounced Johnny. Johnny is the salt of the earth, not like those posh brittle Bene Gesserit ladies. She fights like hell along with all the other Fremen women who are apparently all soldiers. It’s not clear who’s raising the Fremen babies, but we occasionally see old ladies hobbling around in the aftermath of attacks. Johnny teaches Timmy how to camp, and Lead Charismatic Guy teaches him how to ride a sandworm which turns out to be so gigantic it fulfills another prophecy! These prophesies keep getting fulfilled! 

Timmy’s Mom becomes Head Woman of the Fremen because there’s a job opening and they’ll kill her if she doesn’t. She drinks blue poison which predictably turns her eyes blue. Also it turns her power-mad, along with her fetus which got bathed in the stuff in utero and is now both psychic and possibly psychotic. Timmy has recurring nightmares of following a woman to The South which leads to catastrophe. Is the woman his Mom? His girlfriend Johnny? Because Johnny and Timmy have hooked up by now. Johnny is devoted to her people and doesn’t want Timmy to just be fighting for his dumb foreign House. But she doesn’t believe he can be a real Freman either, until he rides that giant sandworm. Then he is accepted into the tribe and given a new name: Ulla or Ulsa or something like that, plus M’aud Dib (I remember that from the books!) which means “desert mouse.” Cute!

Now Timmy’s Mom goes to The South because her job demands it, also she gets tattoos all over her face of some script that looks vaguely like a hybrid of Arabic and Devangari. If I knew someone with a tattoo like that I’d say, “her face is an open book,” but no one says that in the movie. Her eyes are bluer than ever and she’s trying to get Timmy worshipped as a messiah. But Timmy doesn’t want to go to The South because of his nightmares. Who is that woman he’s following? I bet it’s his sister, who’s still just a fetus but obviously psychotic and power-mad like most of the non-Fremen characters. The Fremen aren’t crazy or power-hungry, they just want their land and some water so they’re not dessicating all the time. The outworlders, like Timmy and his Mom and the Bald Guys and the Emperor and the Bene Gesserit and all the Houses, are all WHITE COLONISTS. But obviously Timmy is more than that, he really wants to assimilate into the Fremen but they can’t help but worship him as a god which makes him a White Savior. d’Oh! In 2024? Oh man I can’t imagine the cognitive dissonance the filmmakers suffered here. Eventually Timmy, too, drinks the Blue Poison, which turns out to be baby sandworm puke, which also gives him blue eyes which symbolize INSANITY and POWER to remind us that white saviors are NOT OKAY sort of except they are maybe and that’s NUANCE.

Her face is an open book.

Timmy almost dies from the blue poison and the only thing that can save him is girlfriend tears, so Johnny has to be summoned to cry on him. Earlier in the movie we learn that Fremen don’t cry because it wastes water, but Johnny and Timmy openly cry in spite of that and no one seems to chastise them. Johnny’s tears revive Timmy which is exactly like Disney’s Tangled (Rapunzel) but when he wakes up she slaps him because why did he drink blue poison?? She told him earlier she’d always love him as long as he kept being him, but you know that blue poison is a powerful substance that changes people and now he’s probably not who he is anymore. 

Then there are a bunch of fight scenes and more fight scenes and stabbings and big boom explosions and zillions of soldiers running at each other and hand-to-hand combat and shooting and killing and I would have checked my phone for a distraction at this point because I hate battle scenes but it’s rude to use a glowing device in a theater, even an almost empty one. At least the movie didn’t have explicit sex scenes, that was a relief. Timmy says he will love Johnny forever and then Young Bald Guy and Timmy have a showdown involving choreography and daggers and guess what, Timmy wins! And then he offers to marry the Emperor’s posh daughter, RIGHT IN FRONT OF JOHNNY! Clearly it’s just politics but Johnny, being the salt of the earth, doesn’t play such games so she catches the first sandworm out of there.



Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

6 thoughts on “Spoiler Alert: DUNE 2”

  1. Nice…! I haven’t seen the film, I saw the part I directed by David Lynch, and then the remake where the main character is played by that rare combination of a grasshopper and a mantis now considered the posmoderne prototype of a man… Both films pure nonsense, far fetched and void of real value.
    I like your remark: “Timmy’s Mom becomes Head Woman of the Fremen because there’s a job opening and they’ll kill her if she doesn’t….

  2. All of these gloomy, hyper violent American movies are propaganda for the American dream of a violent, hierarchical, misogynist, weapons worshipping future. And of course they are in fact predictive because the whole military controlled society thing destroys the air we breathe and the water and the Earth. And our joy of life. So self fulfilling, neurotic and mad in the nastiest way. This is a world where your brilliant art is diminished and this trashy, violent, deeply mad garbage makes $$$squillions. Ho hum I thought while watching it yesterday, so boring and predictable especially when I’d read the books back in the 60’s. Herbert dedicated his life to writing them! And all for a couple of memorable phrases. Fear is the mind killer. Guess that’s memorable, I recognised that. Oh well. The doom for life on Earth enabled by slicko CG war propaganda and wall to wall fantasy. Roll on the insane tyrants of capitalism and extinction. Like Kruschev said, if there is a nuclear war, the living will envy the dead. Movies like this glossy trash train the watchers to think the lust for destruction is glamorous and inevitable. So disgusting, shame shame.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *