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Average: 4.76%
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1 review, 15 user ratings

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Children of Dune
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by Brian McKay

"A Sci-Fi channel original miniseries - that doesn't suck!"
4 stars

When the Sci-Fi channel released their Dune miniseries a few years back, it was met with a broad spectrum of opinion. Some thought it did an excellent job of capturing the essence of Frank Herbert's sprawling novel, even surpassing David Lynch's 1984 version of the saga. Others lamented on what a weak production the entire affair was, doing a disservice to both the novel and Lynch's film. I fell into that latter camp, only I would take it a step further - I thought it sucked the sweat off of a Sardukar's balls.

While the first Dune miniseries had some strong moments and lots of potential, it was bogged down by bad acting, bad accents, wildly inconsistent production values, and worst of all, its completely ridiculous-looking and distracting costume design.

But miracle of miracles, every one of my bitch bullet points from the last miniseries have been resolved with this one. Children of Dune is not only a highly entertaining and fairly faithful adaptation of the novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, but it benefits greatly by director Greg Yaitanes taking over the reigns from John Harrison (who wrote the screenplay for both of the Dune miniseries). The cast of mostly unknowns delivers acting that is uniformly solid, with plenty of old and new faces alike. Even Susan Sarandon hamming it up as the space princess Wensicia (complete with a distinctly 1950's B-movie "space princess" hairstyle) doesn't provide too much of a distraction from the generally somber tone. Alec Newman seems much more comfortable in the role of Paul Atreides, and pulls off Paul's transformation into the wandering and weathered desert prophet admirably. Barbora Kodetova, as his beloved Chani, looks hot as ever, as does Daniela Amavia in the role of his now-grown seer-child sister, Alia. James McAvoy and Jessica Brooks also get high marks in the role of Paul's twin children, Leto and Ghanima. Julie Cox also makes as strong return as Princess Irulan, without that ridiculous butterfly headdress she wore the last time - thank God.

Not only is the cast uniformly good, but the production values are strong and consistently applied. No more transitions from a shot of a masterful CGI Sandworm or Guild Heighliner to a cheesy matte painting of the city of Arakeen or Fremen walking around in "the desert" on what is obviously a soundstage. Children of Dune also boasts an excellent score and strong storytelling with very few scenes that seem tacked-on or superfluous.

The plot (of both this miniseries and the entire Dune universe) is far too intricate to go into much detail on here. In a nutshell, Dune is a tale of court intrigue on a galactic scale, with various political factions, or "houses", vying for control of the planet Arrakis, or "Dune". Children of Dune does an excellent job of summoning drama and tension out of that court intrigue, creating a greater sense of conflict than the previous installment, which boasted large-scale battle scenes and extended knife fights. Not that there isn't a fair ammount of exciting brawls here, but the emphasis is clearly placed on character-driven drama over action - which is all the more to the series' benefit.

Whether any additional adaptations of Herbert's DUNE series are in the works is undetermined - but CHILDREN OF DUNE definitely marks a big step in the right direction. CHILDREN OF DUNE makes great strides towards capturing the ambitious scope of David Lynch's monstrously lavish production. Hopefully the popularity of the DUNE universe (which has now spawned a movie, two miniseries, and three video games) will warrant a production of GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE. In the meantime, if you find yourself out in the desert somewhere - remember to walk without rhythm.

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originally posted: 11/10/03 15:50:12
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User Comments

7/26/11 Jay I am a huge Herbert fan and this adaptation of the two books was very good. 5 of 5 stars. 5 stars
2/06/11 John Awesome movie, better than both the first and the Lynch monstrosity 5 stars
9/27/10 thelma It's nearly impossible to match such extraordinary books, but this mini-series is watchable 4 stars
8/31/08 Monse great actors, fat scenery, I´m simply satisfied 5 stars
2/19/07 Alia worth seeing 5 stars
9/08/05 Ric Great sci-fi epic with gorgeous sets,f/x, fine acting, and a truly beautiful musical score. 5 stars
5/31/05 Dmitri I've been waiting like 10 years to see it, and here it is :-) Definitely worth a look. 5 stars
4/04/05 daveyt v.enjoyable 4 stars
9/21/04 Seygneuriial Far better than the first one, but i'm still unsatisfied. 3 stars
6/20/04 Muad'Dib This was a really great mini-series. It really was a good adaptation 5 stars
3/09/04 Mr_Blue where did the sex go???? No kidding , this one is "one to watch" Loved it!!! 5 stars
2/13/04 Amit wicked should see it 5 stars
2/07/04 adrian sanchez children of dune is great ! now, on with god emperor of dune. 5 stars
1/04/04 stephan v. d. hoek it's a dawng good film and i like the acters 5 stars
1/04/04 Tom (O,O) 5 stars
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  16-Mar-2003 (NR)



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