Commenting on Critical Reviews

Jackson Nielsen

Due to all of the hype surrounding the release of the second installment in the Dune movie series, I sought out this New York Times review over Denis Villeneuve’s newest blockbuster movie. Coming from the mind of Manohla Dargis, this review does a great job of mixing in aspects of the movie, paired with her own thoughts. Having written reviews myself, I’ve often found it difficult not to just summarize the plot but instead analyze the movie for what it is. Dargis, however, does a great job of giving the gist of what the movie is about without giving away too many key details for those who are yet to see the movie for themselves. She even begins the review by giving a brief background of the first movie which then transitions right into the review of the second movie. Dargis also talks about the book which the movies have been adapted from and how the plot is similar and different from Frank Herbert’s novel. I had already seen the movie before I read this review and I agreed with everything that Dargis had to say. Overall, I thought this was a well-thought out, objective review. 

The next review I chose to read through is from deep within The New York Times archives. Dating back to 1998, Mary Lefkowitz wrote a review over Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire. I chose this review because Gates of Fire is my all-time favorite book. Being a historical fiction, Lefkowitz comments on the perspective this book gives on the very real Battle of Thermopylae. Again, Lefkowitz doesn’t go too in-depth on the plot of this book which is essential for a good review. Instead, she focuses on the historical aspects and the key points from the story. She comments on Pressfield’s writing style and how he kept the story close to what the actual battle may have been like. Being a lover of this book, I appreciated Lefkowitz comments on the nature of the warfare and why it has been a popular subject for literature.

‘Dune: Part Two’ Review: Bigger, Wormier and Way Far Out

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