The Dunies

Photo: Niko Tavernise/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Warning: Light spoilers ahead for Dune: Part Two.

Dune: Part Two has arrived, along with the popcorn bucket of your fantasies and nightmares. Having enjoyed the sandy spectacle of Dune: Part One, I was pretty excited, mostly for the huge worms but also for Timothée Chalamet’s luscious desert waves and the prospect of seeing Zendaya play Chani for more than ten minutes.

Dune 2 follows Prince Timmy —fine, his character’s name is Paul — and his mother, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), into the desert of a planet called Arrakis after their family was wiped out by a consort of bald villains. There, they join the Fremen, a group of people who lived on Arrakis before Paul’s bosses started pilfering the planet for spice, a highly valuable substance used for interplanetary travel. Even though the Fremens’ oppressors look a lot like Paul and his family, many of them think Paul is the Messiah, thanks to a prophecy spread throughout their people by some witches.

A planet full of religious zealot followers would be super-convenient for Paul, who needs supporters to defeat his enemies, but he and his hot, smart sand girlfriend (Zendaya) are also not so sure this whole white-savior thing is a good idea (a notion many audience members agree with). Dune: Part Two may not excel at exploring the imperialism of it all, but it’s still a blockbuster vehicle for weird sounds and two of the most talented actors in Hollywood, and for this it deserves at least some applause. Because the SAG-AFTRA strike shifted its original release date, the movie missed the 2024 Oscars consideration deadline, but I have some other ideas for how we might laud its impressive achievements. Behold, the Dunies.

Biggest Chiller: Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård)

Photo: Niko Tavernise/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

The Baron is the big guy in charge (literally, he is huge) of the Harkonnens, the evil bald family who is gunning to wipe out Timmy’s bloodline. Everyone in Harkonnen-land (?) is super-creepy-looking, and as far as I can tell, they are all bald.

The Baron’s nephews do all his work for him — more on that later — so he spends most of his time ripping on a space hookah while soaking in a Jacuzzi filled with black goop. Based on my limited knowledge of the Dune universe, this is the ultimate space power move. I want this bitch’s life.

Most Bald: Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen (Austin Butler)

Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Butler plays the youngest nephew of the Baron, who is nowhere near as chill as his uncle. He is, as Florence Pugh describes him, “psychotic,” but also, in the words of one of the witches, “sexually vulnerable.” The guy can do both. I bet a dip in the black-goop Jacuzzi would really sort him out.

Again, all the Harkonnens are seemingly bald, but Butler’s character is intensely, sickeningly bald. If you look too hard at him, you might forget what hair even is. According to Butler, this bulbous, skull-baring excuse for a head was achieved via two layered bald caps, because Butler had to keep his hair firmly in its follicles for his other movie, The Bikeriders. What kind of black magic went into making it so ghostly and smooth, I cannot say. All I can offer you is this: That heir is bald as hell.

Sexiest Mode of Transportation: The Worms

Photo: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

You have probably heard about the Dune worms, the terrifying creatures who live under the sand of Arrakis and also the inspiration for the renowned popcorn bucket. Everyone in the movie is either terrified of the sandworms or obsessed with them, which makes them arguably the most powerful beings on the planet. Objectionable as their appearance may be, these worms are really growing on me. They’re kind of regal, in a leathery, vacuum-y way. I might even venture to say they are … hot?

Also, it becomes clear in Dune 2 that the worms are Arrakis’s primary mode of transportation, which is sexy to me. Not sexy enough that I want to plunge my hand into a worm-shaped vessel of popcorn, but no one asked me to do that.

Best Worm-questrian: Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet)

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Paul spends the first half hour of the movie learning the ways of the desert folk, with Zendaya doing a lot of the instructional heavy lifting. It is really cute when she teaches him the choreo to the Fremens’ special walk that avoids summoning the worms. At the end of Sand 101, Timmy has to ride a worm, and for his first worm ride, he accidentally summons the biggest worm possible. But guess what? He’s so good at it. At the end of his worm ride, you want to pump your fists and cheer. Go Timmy!!!

Most in the Movie: Chani (Zendaya)

Photo: Niko Tavernise/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Incredible news: Zendaya is in this movie so much. Zendaya was barely in Dune, but in Dune 2, she is a star, a headliner, a woman who has finally been given the ample screen time she deserves.

As Chani, Zendaya plays Paul’s love interest and also the only sane person on the planet. Even though everyone around her thinks her boyfriend is the Messiah, she is in love with him for normal reasons, like that he’s nice, seemingly respectful, and also really good at riding worms. (Obviously, Chani is even better at riding worms and thriving in the sand, but she seems to enjoy watching her crush improve.) Whatever happens to Chani, you can rejoice in the knowledge that she will be onscreen for more than ten minutes.

Mother God: Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson)

Photo: Niko Tavernise/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Paul’s mom, Lady Jessica, goes kind of insane in this movie. As the chief purveyor of the “Paul is the Messiah” theory, she is intent on whipping the Fremen into a religious frenzy so that they follow her son into a holy war. Also, she’s pregnant and spends a lot of time communing with her uterus and translating her unborn daughter’s thoughts and questions to the general public as if this is normal.

Somehow, the word cult is never uttered, but she is really giving the vibe of someone who claims to meet up with a team of dead celebrities on the regular. Congratulations to her, I guess?

Most Metal Bonnets: Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh)

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Miss Flo is sort of like the Zendaya of Dune 2, in that she does not have much to do here. She plays the daughter of the Emperor (Christopher Walken), and spends most of her time journaling and chatting with powerful witches. As nice as this lifestyle sounds, she does not seem too happy, probably because her dad’s empire is about to be overthrown and there’s not much she can do about it.

The biggest thing she has going for her is her vast collection of hair accessories. Beads, jewels, chain mail, dangly metal spikes — you name it, Princess Irulan has it on her head. May her hats keep her warm in the interplanetary war to come.

The Dunies