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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: May 14th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2024

Dune: Part Two

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
Denis Villeneuve rides the worm delivering the impossible with Dune: Part Two. A phenomenal accomplishment in adapting such a rich and dense novel, the film finally comes to disc. On Blu-ray, the image is often striking showing that good’ol 1080p has a lot of heft to offer while delivering an excellent Atmos audio experience and some solid extra features. While hardcore fans will aim for the 4K disc, this Blu-ray is very satisfying. Highly Recommended

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/MPEG-4 AVC
Length:
166
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby Atmos
Release Date:
May 14th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

As I largely stand with Bryan with his thoughts for Dune: Part Two, I’ll just leave it that I’m floored that it’s turned out so well. Considering how many different filmmakers have been attached to the project for the last two decades, this could have gone in so many different (i.e. bad) directions. But like Paul, Denis Villeneuve found a path forward.

I for one particularly enjoyed the first part, it was clunky and was finding its way, but given the source material, that’s to be expected. Frank Herbert’s seminal science fiction masterpiece is the lone novel outside of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that I’ve reread again and again (currently on my ninth readthrough now). I’ve been in love and fascinated with the world of Dune since my early teens. While the books get weirder and more unwieldy as they go on, I commend any filmmaker with the gumption to take a stab at adapting the material.

Villeneuve masterfully figured out a way to condense such a thick tome and make it palatable for a wide theater-going audience. True, not every speck of the book is in either film and he’s taken some notable liberties in this second half, but I have to call this a genuine A+ effort A- final product. Thrilling from the start and visually enthralling throughout, it’s Science Fiction filmmaking at its most fantastic while staying spiritually true to the source. With the increasing chances of Villeneuve working on Dune: Messiah (Better than good if the industry winds are accurate), this story of Paul Usul Muad'dib Lisan al Gaib Kwisatz Haderach Padishah Emperor Atreidies will be completed. We’ll know we’ve got it good if Children of Dune becomes an option. If we get to God Emperor Dune and Heretics of Dune, theaters will have to hand out various illicit substances because things get weird!

From our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review 

The sci-fi epic everyone has been clamoring for is going strong with Denis Villeneuve's second installment of his Dune(hopefully) trilogy. The artistic director and Warner Bros. listened quite a bit to its audience from the first film a couple of years ago and the result is a much better film with higher stakes and a bigger entertainment spectacle. Dune: Part Two acts as a sibling film similar to Empire Strikes Back or The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in its tone and execution working to complete an epic single story. However, it still stands on its own two legs as something even more extravagant and grande with more action beats making the 165-minute runtime fly swifter than a thopter in a sandstorm. Dune: Part Two is Grade A science fiction at its finest.

There were a few issues with Dune: Part One, none of which had to do with the visuals or screenplay so much as the characters felt too distant. The film still made a ton of money even though it was during the height of the pandemic and it being released on streaming so close to its initial theatrical run. Villeneuve created this masterful story from Frank Herbert's novel with rich characters and exciting visuals but forgot to have fun with his film. Jason Mamoa was the only person who looked like he had a great time. Maybe Josh Brolin caught that bug for a day or two. But it was all very serious and brooding whereas other sci-fi films would lighten the mood a little, crack a smile, and let its characters seem more relatable and human.

It's evident right away that Part Two is going to correct that course by allowing the characters to have a good time when they need to. As the film picks up right where the first movie left off, it's quickly apparent that a bigger threat is on its way as Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) learns the ways of the deep desert and the Fremen people. He survives by his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and his new Fremen allies Chani (Zendaya) and Stilgar (Jarvier Bardem) after his father and people were betrayed and murdered by the Harkonnens. And it's here where Paul learns the ways of the Fremen and their fierce warriors in some stunning action sequences involving the giant sandworms and destroying large spice harvester ships.

But within these epic action beats, there is something much more sinister boiling behind closed doors. The elusive Emperor (Christopher Walken) and his decisions about how to deal with the planet Arrakis and the recent Atreides massacre. As with the second half of the novel, there are a lot of irons in the fire with Part Two, but Villeneuve executes each story beat with ease and precision. From the divide in the Fremen people over prophecies and religion to the domestic drama inside the Harkonnen household to Paul's mother having a new path in life, there is much to enjoy with Dune: Part Two. Most beneficial to this film are the heartfelt and somewhat humorous sequences of seeing some of these amazing characters letting their guard down and enjoying victories and being relatable humans. It's a sight for sore eyes from the last film, for sure.

Cinematographer Greig Fraser and director Villeneuve have even paid a great tribute to the late H.R. Geiger in this installment. As chronicled in the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, H.R. Geiger (the man who designed the iconic xenomorph Alien creatures) had also designed a ton of sets and character costumes for that abandoned project. Here in Part Two, there are many instances where sets, vehicles, furniture, and costumes look like something right out of Geiger's scrapbook. It's frighteningly beautiful. Not to mention the magnificent battle sequences that are so epic in scale, but also perfectly framed that there's no doubt there should be an award in this film's future for at least just this aspect.

In that aspect, one of the big gripes about Part Two is that some of these big war sequences are too rushed and frenetic. Again, Lord of the Rings looks to have inspired Villeneuve and Fraser here, regarding battles and certain plot movements, but with those Peter Jackson films, they just worked better due to the amount of time given to each character and battle scene. In Dune, it feels rushed as if the clock is running out, which cracks the bond and excitement of these spectacular scenes. It's not a deal breaker, but it's noticeable during the big climactic fight that should have been several minutes longer to reinforce the brutality and the characters a bit more.

Chalamet is as perfect as Paul Atreides and who would have thought that Chalamet had the perfect angry voice that could carry over thousands of people? He owns it and commands the dialogue every time he speaks. Rebecca Ferguson dials it up a notch with Jessica's journey and Josh Brolin is a damn delight as weapons master Gurney Halleck. In fact, can the world get a two-hour movie of Brolin just smiling and having a good time, please? Earth and Arrakis need more of that charm. Austin Butler surprises as the nasty villain Feyd-Rautha with Bautista going full rage as Beast Rabban. Zendaya and Florence Pugh are underused assets. True to the novel, Pugh's Princess Irulan has only a couple of minutes of screen time, but it's Zendaya's performance as Chani that is frustratingly phoned in without much nuance. However, the big spotlight is on Javier Bardem turning in a meaty performance as warrior leader Stilgar that will surely garner award attention. He's a chameleon throughout his resume and he fits this role perfectly.

But just like Part One, this second installment ends with a cliffhanger and the promise of something much bigger. Imagine Gandalf the White coming back and narrating, "The battle for Helm's Deep is over. The war for Middle Earth has just begun." That's the sentiment here and the big hope that Villeneuve comes back and finishes it all off with a third film based on Frank Herbert's second novel Dune Messiah. Dune: Part Two is sci-fi living its best life. Sure, there are some slight issues, but the good far outweighs the bad. It's a large improvement over the first film. 4.5/5

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray 
Dune: Part Two 
drinks the water of life on 1080p Blu-ray with a Single-Disc Blu-ray + Digital release from Warner Bros. The film is pressed on a BD-50 disc and comes housed in an eco-friendly case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to Warner Bros. standard static-image main menu with basic navigation options.

Video Review

Ranking:

We intended to only cover Dune: Part Two on 4K, but out of the Blu, Warner Bros. also sent us a 1080p disc to take a gander at. And I must say it’s a beauty showing that good ‘ol Blu-ray has plenty of life left in it. Now, I haven’t seen the 4K disc yet, but I did catch this at a Dolby Cinema screen for my third viewing so I still have that in memory for a fresh comparison. Details for this disc are often striking letting viewers fully appreciate every facial feature and costume texture. The disc maintains beautiful colors with lovely deep dark shadows and image depth to soak in. 

With that, remembering the Dolby Cinema experience so clearly, my only real pullback is how amazing the film looked with Dolby Vision on that big screen. Especially for the brilliant black-and-white IR photography of Giedi Prime. Here in 1080p it looks pretty damn good, but those bright whites, blacks, and grays just didn’t wow me as they did in the theater. It was one of the most visually exciting scenes of the film and it just looks pretty good in 1080p without HDR to help it pop. That may be a small split hair of a complaint considering how great the rest of the disc is, but it’s what sticks in my mind the most as a drawback to consider if you’re deciding which edition to add to the collection. For Blu-ray, it’s a very, very good transfer. But I’ve got a hunch it’ll look better on 4K and judging by Bryan’s thoughts it does at that. (Once I have eyes on my own 4K copy, if my thoughts change on this disc’s overall quality I’ll update this portion of the review).

Audio Review

Ranking:

If there’s one thing I’ll give credit to Warner Bros. for it's their inclusion of high-end audio formats on the 1080p disc. Where other studios like to dumb-down the 1080p disc, Warner smartly includes the excellent demo-worthy Atmos track for this disc. I’m including Bryan’s thoughts below, but for my part I’ll call this like Top Gun: Maverick - play it LOUD! Not because you need to compensate for crappy volume or a thin spread, but because it’s incredible and a rich fully-immersive audio mix. 

Here's Bryan's thoughts on the Atmos mix:

This release comes with a Dolby Atmos track and is meant to be turned up loud. The sound effects are booming with detailed sounds from every angle. From the smallest rodent in the sand to the large Thopters flying around invading worms, the sounds are incredible. Gun blasts, sci-fi swords, and explosions all pack a big punch with heft. The noises allow the viewer to feel the air gut punch from the emitting sound in each speaker. When Paul and Feyd have their fight, swords, fists, and takedowns are all on a large display which has a wonderful low end of bass. The worm ride sequence packs tons of wind, dust, yells, and other noises that create a fully immersive world that rumbles the walls.

The black and white scene features inverted fireworks which is a sonic triumph that sounds from all various speakers. The height speakers rain down debris, explosive fires, sand, dust, spice, and haunting voices. It's a real workout for any speaker system. The impressive score always enhances the visuals on screen with depth, precision, and suspense. The dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow with the new languages. English subtitles look amazing. For those who have access to Dolby Atmos capabilities, this Dune: Part Two audio track will be the new demo. 

Special Features

Ranking:

While I hope that we see something of an Avatar-level effort for a big bold special edition release with hours upon hours of extras, I have to say what we have here is pretty good. We don't have hours of content, but what's here is quality stuff. It doesn't feel like a bunch of cheap EPK cast-offs but well-produced and informative. 

  • Chakobsa Training (HD 4:51)
  • Creating the Fremon World (HD 11:41)
  • Finding the Worlds of Dune (HD 6:24)
  • Buzz Around the New ‘Thopter’ (HD 3:51)
  • Worm Riding (HD 9:23)
  • Becoming Feyd (HD 7:33)
  • A New Set of Threads (HD 7:49)
  • Deeper into the Desert: The Sounds of Dune (HD 12:59)

After one cult classic feature film and a pretty good mini-series (so many triangle costumes), Frank Herbert’s iconic piece of Science Fiction now thrives on theater screen thanks to Denis Villeneuve. One can get lost arguing his adaptation choices but doing so would miss the fact of how well his films worked. The hint of glory promised in Part One is fully realized with Dune: Part Two. For those collecting 1080p Blu-ray, this is an excellent disc. Some may lament the static aspect ratio choice or not going in on the full IMAX presentation, but it’s still an amazing visual experience. Wisely, Warner Bros. also included the incredible Atmos audio track along with a healthy assortment of extra features. Highly Recommended 

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