Why ‘Dune 2’ should fail

I enjoyed “Dune 2.” But I didn’t like enjoying it.

There’s something ghoulish about taking in a Hollywood blockbuster in 2024. Like eavesdropping on a man’s dying rasp.

I stopped going to the movies after “Avengers: Endgame,” as did many people I know. Maybe we check in every so often out of morbid curiosity, but it’s hard to justify paying the usual exorbitant ticket price for something we’ll abandon after 20 minutes.

Sitting in that dark movie theater, I realized I don’t want to be entertained by these people any more. They have nothing but sneering contempt for us.

I no longer expect the contemporary cinema to entertain me. These days, it’s a win if what I’m watching doesn’t actively spit in my face. So when a movie elicits an emotional reaction in me the way “Dune 2” did, it’s a disquieting, sad reminder of when American moviemaking was powerful.

Don’t get me wrong: Hollywood is still clearly in power. But it is not powerful. Anyone with eyes can clearly see the emperor has no clothes. It is an entertainment industry that can no longer entertain, a media complex dedicated solely to producing garbage. The only reason for its existence is to spew leftist propaganda and fund leftist causes. And one day even that won’t be enough to stave off its inevitable demise.

“Dune 2” was a disturbing watch because I wanted to be invested in this movie. I wanted to be enraptured and entertained and enter that liminal space where the visceral moment is all that exists.

But I couldn’t.

Instead, a part of me remained in 2024, vaguely disgusted at the cynical spectacle. If “Dune 2” proves that Hollywood is still capable of putting entertainment before ideology, it also shows that it generally chooses not to. So what if the movie turns Chani into a secular feminist? We should be grateful for all the characters they let be.

“Dune 2” offers a nostalgic display of old-school craftsmanship, from a time when the American movie business was the envy of the world. But sitting in that dark movie theater, I realized I don’t want to be entertained by these people any more. They have nothing but sneering contempt for us. They take everything we love and burn it to the ground just to spite us. And yet we keep coming back, held hostage by a feeling the movies once gave us.

No more. I can’t take away their money or their influence or their platform, but I can take away my attention. “Dune 2” was my last picture show.

What I want the right to understand is that there needs to be a total war on the old institutions. Every half-decent franchise is a net loss for us because it keeps Hollywood on life support. “Dune 2” does not represent a return to form or a call for better moviemaking but rather a grudging compromise made to the masses in exchange for more funding and power.

“Madame Web,” on the other hand, is a triumph. Every flop and box office failure is. The more we get, the sooner that day will come when we won’t have to put up with humiliation rituals or woke garbage. Entertainment will be made for entertainment’s sake again, and we can get back to the business of making art.

In short, “Dune 2” is a great movie, and I wish it weren’t.

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