Re-submitting to the epic, sand-choked saga of Dune: Part Two didn’t thrill me in a narrative sense, but to my great surprise I adored watching Denis Villeneuve’s 168minute, richly immersive, alternatereality dream trip from a purely visual perspective.

Greig Fraser’s desaturated color (and briefly monochromatic) cinematography, Brad Riker’s art direction, Patrice Vermette’s production design and Joe Walker’s editing…Villeneuve’s visionary, deep-dive scheme provides the maestro-like guidance…conducting these four fellows…this is where the genius comes from, where it lies.

Dune: Part Two is a serious trip, an exotic world unto itself…one of the most eye-opening, original-feeling geek films I’ve ever seen.

If you can put aside the Frank Herbert story and just tune in to the other-worldliness, it’s quite a feast for the eyes — a major league art film. Stunningly exotic and quite original…quite the aural-visual knockout.

Rags and monster worms and pyramids and sand, sand, sand, sand, sand, sand. Mr. Sandman, man. Everyone and everything coated and smothered in trillions upon trillions of sparkling micro-crystals. Endless sand dune vistas…sand in my pores, in my ears and eyebrows…sand crystals in my pants, my mouth, my hair, my lungs…surrounded, enveloped…I couldn’t fucking breathe but in a different way Villeneuve opened me up.

Who the fuck cares about any of this? Forget the convoluted, forehead-slapping plot about dynasties and corruptions and revolutionary fervor and the arc of the chosen…just forget it, bruh. If you try to follow the labrynthian twists and turns you’ll be driven insane…bats in your belfry.

Just turn on the fucking phone and follow Herbert’s plot on the film’s Wikipedia page (which is what I did, starting around the one-half mark) and focus on the commanding, mind-bending, majesterial all of it…the dizzy, dancing way it looks, feels, sounds…the desaturated palette…the Fremen language rendered in subtitles. Scene after scene…some other planet…wowser exotica. I felt as if I had mescaline in my system. I forgot about the popcorn.

But at the same time I felt swamped and surrounded by the superhero, epic-saga cliches. So you know what I did? I said to myself “fuck all this…just concentrate on the textures, the brushstrokes…the wondrous style of it.”

The surprising aspect (at least from my perspective) is that Dune, Part Two truly abounds with excellent performances from everyone…Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya (as the messianic Paul Atreides and the pretty, half-feral Chani) deliver their career-best. Really — babygirl Timothee has turned into a man. And I never thought Zendaya’s acting was especially good. Now I feel differently.

Cue-ball bald, albino, eyebrow-less Austin Butler (as the totally psychotic FeydRautha Harkonnen) has saved himself from the Curse of Elvis. He’s also saved himself from that awful ’60s motorcycle movie, The Bikeriders.

Not to mention the devotional Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem. The demented, royal-robed Chris Walken. The bald, white-skinned, animal-eyed beast (Glossu-Rabban Harkonnen) played by Dave Bautista. All of the spacey and spooky women in robes and veils (Rebecca Ferguson, Lea Seydoux, Florence Pugh, Charlotte Rampling, Anya-Taylor Joy). And that bald, massively obese, sprawling mountain of sickening flesh in a dark pullover tunic (Baron Vladimir Harkonnen), played by Stellan “fat as a cow” Skarsgard…what a complete, Trump-like animal.

I really wanted to hate Dune: Part Two, but I couldn’t. It wouldn’t let me. Hats off to the team.

Just remember to bring your phone and read the plot as you go along.