By the way, what happened in the first Dune movie?

Dune: Part Two finally comes to the cinema. A little less than three years have passed since the first film. Have you forgotten everything? Don’t panic: here is a summary of the main events.

Postponed due to the writers’ strike, Dune: Part 2 is finally released in cinemas, starting this Wednesday, February 28. This sequel, still directed by Denis Villeneuve, is particularly anticipated for SF fans. With Dune: Part One, the filmmaker managed to adapt a story deemed unadaptable, and to offer it a breathtaking setting. Opinions are unanimous on the second part, with an even better show.

You plan to rush to the cinema to see Dune: Part Two but don’t have time to rewatch the first opus (which lasts more than 2h30)? This can be a problem since Dune relies on a dense story. We refresh your memory, here is a recap — with spoilers on Dune 1 of course.

Source: Dune/Warner
Source: Dune/Warner

Our express summary of the first Dune film

On the planet Arrakis, where the Fremen live, a powerful and coveted resource is available in abundance: Spice. For 80 years, it was controlled by the Harkonnens, who took the opportunity to enrich themselves and develop cutting-edge technologies. After a decree pronounced by the Emperor, Arrakis is entrusted to the Atreides, led by Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac). The latter are more pacifist than the Harkonnens — unhappy with this decision. It is in reality a poisoned chalice: the Emperor fears the increasingly growing power of the Atreides and sends them straight to their doom.

Once arriving on Arrakis, the Atreides, who have negotiated a non-aggression pact with Stilgar (Javier Bardem), leader of the Fremen, will quickly realize the trap. The Harkonnen have sabotaged the machines that harvest the Spice and are even preparing an invasion. They receive support from the Imperial Army to attack the Atreides base on Arrakis by surprise, in the middle of the night. Duke Leto, overwhelmed by events, is betrayed by the family doctor and believes he can take Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) to his death, with the help of poison. In vain.

Chiabella James / Vanity FairChiabella James / Vanity Fair
Chiabella James / Vanity Fair

Meanwhile, Paul Atréides (Timothée Chalamet), Duke Leto’s son, is experiencing strange visions. At night, he visualizes an unknown girl, a member of the Fremen (Chani, played by Zendaya), and believes he sees a future in which he could be the Chosen One — the one who will bring peace to Arrakis. The Spice has a strong impact on its body, making it prescient (able to see the future).

During the attack of the Harkonnen and the Imperial army on Arrakis, he manages to escape in the company of his mother (Rebecca Ferguson), a figure of the Bene Gesserit sorority (a powerful order which whispers in the ears of the Emperor ). At the end of their flight, they took refuge with the Fremen, after a duel to the death won by Paul (the first time he killed someone). Now it’s time to prepare a response against the Harkonnens.

We will not see them in the sequel :

  • Duke Leto Atreïdes, betrayed by a loved one and sent to hell by the Emperor.
  • Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa), Paul’s best friend and protector, who died doing his job (protecting Paul).
  • Dr. Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster), representative of the Emperor who helped Paul and his mother escape.
  • Dr. Yueh (Chen Chang), killed by Baron Harkonnen, for whom he agreed to betray Duke Leto.

The verdict

Continuing from the first part, Dune 2 keeps its contemplative force but adds an additional charge of action. The adaptation of the cult SF saga is transformed into a great show. Which, however, does not compromise with the mystical force of the work. It is this balance that makes Dune 2 a major science fiction film, which could well push cinema to dare more with this strange combo between mainstream blockbuster and ethereal narration.

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Paul and Lady Jessica carrying the distillate into the Arrakis Desert.  // Source: WarnerPaul and Lady Jessica carrying the distillate into the Arrakis Desert.  // Source: Warner

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