Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

Review of Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

The 2000 miniseries titled Frank Herbert's Dune was the best rendition of the 1965 novel Dune written by Frank Herbert. That's comparing of course to the 1984 movie that totally bombed. The main reason of course being that they tried to fit the novel in such a short movie format. Dune was such a good book that its not something you can take plot shortcuts with, and that they did by trying to translate it into a 2.5 hour movie.

Review of Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

Frank Herbert's Dune is a 4.5 hour miniseries split into 3 parts. I first watched it in the Hallmark Channel around 2003 and was very happy when they showed immediately the sequel, Children of Dune.

Review of Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

The story of Dune is about a desert planet, known as Arrakis, that is the source of the most valuable commodity in the Universe. That commodity is the Spice (or melange) which when consumed can give the user a lengthened life span and on some special cases prescient abilities. The Navigators of the Spacing Guild, who are responsible for intergalactic travel, needs the Spice in order to predict the path when navigating their ships. So without the spice intergalactic travel in the Universe cannot function. Arrakis itself is a hostile planet inhabited by the Fremen, who have adapted to the desert environment by recycling the water expelled by the body for re-consumption in order to survive. Another notable inhabitant of Arrakis is the Sandworm, that can grow up to a hundred meters long and and patrols the sands of the planet looking for things to consume. If in the desert the 600 km/hr sandstorm (enough to rip the skin off your bones) or dehydration won't kill you, the sandworm sure will.

Review of Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

Frank Herbert plainly puts it down himself at the introduction to book five of the Dune series, Heretics of Dune, as to what he had spent 6 years of his life on whilst trying to flesh out the first Dune novel. In the novel he wanted to touch on the myth of a messiah, of the view of a human-occupied planet that was to be an energy machine, of the interlocking of politics and economics, of ecology, of a people and their values, of the possibility of having absolute prediction and its possible pitfalls, of the possibility of an awareness drug and dependence on it. Lastly of water as an analogy for oil, whose supply diminishes at each passing day.

Review of Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

I hadn't read the Dune novel yet by the time I watched the series that I was so moved by it that I immediately went to the bookstore to get myself a copy. Luckily the science fiction section carried it at that time. After reading it I affirmed what they had been saying about it, that the miniseries strictly adheres to the novel and took few liberties to stray from the plot. One major difference with the movie from the book is that Princess Irulan plays a more prominent role than in the book.

Review of Frank Herbert's Dune Mini-series

Although William Hurt(Duke Leto Atreides) and Ian McNiece(Baron Vladimir Harkonnen) are the only prominent names in the cast, the rest of the cast did not disappoint in their performance. Chiefly because, although they are unknown in mainstream movies, they are all veteran and talented actors coming from different theatre backgrounds. Alec Newman's performance as the protagonist and central character Paul Atreides is something to look forward to.