In the 11th millennium, Shaddam IV, ruler of the Galactic Empire, rids himself of his competitor Duke Leto Atreides by giving him control of the desert planet Dune also called Arrakis; fully aware that its present owner, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, will not give it up without a fight. The reason is that Arrakis is the source of the valuable spice, a substance produced by enormous and dangerous sandworms, which bestows special mental qualities on anyone who consumes it. A short while later Harkonnen does indeed succeed in ambushing and massacring Leto and his men. Leto's mistress Lady Jessica, who is a member of the clairvoyant order of Bene Gesserit, manages to escape into the desert with her son Paul, and after a long and dangerous march they finally encounter the Fremen, the long suppressed desert tribe of Arrakis. Impressed by Paul's clairvoyant abilities, tribal prince Stilgar takes in the fugitives. Very soon the Fremen are convinced that Paul is their long-prophesied redeemer, and...Written by
I've read the Dune books about a dozen times and I have also watched the 1984 movie a few times, and, while it had good ideas, it didn't thrill me. So I decided to give this mini series a try.
The first time I watched it I switched off after hearing Lady Jessica use the Voice for the first time. I disliked the 'spatializer' effects in the movie, and I didn't like them in the series. Months later I decided to give it another try.
I was quite astonished. The series has lots of very strong points.
The Fremen sietches have a very arabian feel to them, just the way they were intended in the books. Having lots of foreign actors added to the overall feel of a universe populated by a race that has split out into different planets. Of course, everyone would speak Galach with their own accent.
The passage to Arrakis is very unique in its approach to the navigators and their skills and I really liked the idea.
Unfortunately it had a few downright flops.
Paul should have been replaced. He is too old, he is too plain and he is way too 2 dimensional. The dream sequences are too unconvincing.
The Voice. It hardly appears in the series, and it's badly done. Trying to copy from the movie as a poor idea. I would have preferred a normal tone of voice, maybe some underlying sound effects and extremely voice trained actors who can snap out harsh commands unexpectedly and at will. The complete denaturalisation the spatializer gives the voice just makes me cringe.
What spoilt it even more was knowing the movie and then watching the series. You find yourself longing for the original Gurney, Leto, Feyd and Paul. Fortunately, you also adore the new Dr Kynes, Chani and Baron Harkonnen.
Finally, as was expected in any adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel that is shorter than 12 hours, I found myself explaining parts of what was going on to my friend, who hadn't read the book.
Overall, it is an excellent series, one to watch and one to buy. It is not perfect, but it is almost there.
Hints for future producers: Skip the spatializer, exploit the arabian and islamic Fremen theme, less technology, Harkonnens are evil, 6 hours are not enough.
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