Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Children of Dune (2003)

I finally managed to find a copy of the "Frank Herbert's Children of Dune" television series, which I had wanted to watch for some time. I had quite enjoyed the original "Frank Herbert's Dune" television series, and wanted to see how the SF Channel would manage to adapt the second and third parts of the original Dune trilogy.

There are quite a few good things to say about this television series. Firstly, "Children of Dune" is, overall, a faithful adaptation of the two original works. Sure, there are one or two additions and edits, and several omissions, but it's quite obvious that the people making this movie stuck to the book quite closely. The special effects are good - not as impressive as in most SF movies released today, but they get the job done credibly. The sandworms are an exception, as they look extremely good. Obviously, the show's creators know their fans. The acting for the series is average - not particularly good or particularly bad, it gets the job done, and no more. I make that a pass.

All is not well in Duneverse, though. The costumes looked cheap at times, which does not make sense for the family whom rule the richest planet in the galaxy. The addition of kidnapping a sandworm and having it survive off-planet does not make sense; no sandworm is supposed to survive off Dune, all other deserts are too wet. Leto's transformation looks quite ho-hum, which is a let-down - he is supposed to be turning into a humanoid embodiment of shai-hulud, or something to that effect, after all. Any newcomer is going to have some difficulty understanding the plot, if they get it at all. But my main complaint is that the show felt somewhat... well, rushed, at times. It's an odd thing to say for a television movie, because the length usually means that the subject matter can be fully covered. But the speed in which the two books must be covered means that some of the supporting ideas of the second and third novel, not central to the plot, were not conveyed as well as I would have hoped.

On the whole, "Frank Herbert's Children of Dune" looks fairly good, with the occasional exception, is a reasonably faithful adaptation, even if it feels somewhat rushed occasionally, but doesn't quite convey the intellectual depth of the second and third Dune novels. 3.5/5.


Ardsgaine said...

It's been some time since I watched it, but I remember thinking that it was a good adaptation. I also preferred their version of Dune over David Lynch's.

On the other hand, I have it on good authority that they massacred A Wizard of Earthsea. I refuse to watch it for myself, because I love the book too well to see it suffer. :)

Rojse said...

Thanks for commenting.

It's nice to see that the Sci-Fi Channel can do it's own telemovies like this, and apparently do them well enough to be able to justify a sequel, but I haven't heard any good reports about A Wizard of Earthsea either, including a response by Ursula Le Guin.

I'd be interested in seeing what else the Sci-Fi channel adapts.