CHILDREN OF DUNE TV mini-series review (2.67)
by David Blackwell
mini-series Directed by Greg Yaitanes
Adaptation script by John Harrison,
based on the novels DUNE MESIAH and CHILDREN OF DUNE by Frank Herbert
starring Alec Newman as Paul Atreides, Julie Cox as Princess Irulan, Edward Atterton as Duncan Idaho, Barbora Kodetova
as Chani, Steven Berkoff as Stiglar, Daniela Amavia as Princess Alia, P.H. Moriarty as Gurney Halleck, Alice Krige as Lady
Jessica, Susan Sarandon as Lady Wensicia, James McAvoy as Leto II, Jessica Brooks as Ghanima
filmed in Prague
Length: approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes.
CHILDREN OF DUNE takes places years after the end of Frank Herbert's DUNE. Some Freeman are being maimed during Paul's
Jihad to cleanse the universe. Paul Atreides sometimes sneaks out to be among the people on Arrakis to see what the new world
he has made is like. Priests have turned Maud'dib into a religion and a circus. Old Freeman think Paul has grown water fat
and has turned DUNE into a worse place by bringing new things to the planet. Meanwhile on Salus Secundus (the prison planet
of Emperor Shaddam IV), Wensicia (one of Shaddam's daughters) plots to get rid of Paul by using a golem Mentat of Paul's dead
friend, Duncan Idaho, so she can bring the deposed House Corrino back into power and she soon plans to steal a sandworm from
Arrakis and bring it back to Salus Secundus. Back on Dune, Chani has discovered she is being fed a contraceptive in her food
and drink by Irulan to prevent Chani having Paul's children. She decides to take more spice to counter it and it causes her
pregnancy to come quicker to term.
It is just not Wensicia , the Guild, and the Nobles plotting Paul's downfall, but few Freeman plan to get rid of Paul.
Paul knows what role he must play and what role Duncan must play when the Guild offer the Ghoula Mentat as a gift. Paul even
walks into a trap when he is told he would be told names of Freeman plotting against him, but a Stone Burner awaits for hima
nd he is blinded. He still can see with visions and he also gets visions from his son who tells Paul to lead everyone down
the Golden Path. Paul's sister, Alia starts to act erratic. Also Reverend Mother Moniham breaks the agreement she would never
set foot on Dune and performs a conversation in sign language with Irulan while they speak something else aloud. Plans are
afoot to assassinate any royal heirs after they are born because Paul's enemies want Irulan to bear the heirs and not Chani.
Paul's pre-born children are Leto II and Ghanima. Paul walks into the desert after Chani dies after giving birth. The
story picks up years later with an increasingly more paranoid Alia as Regent to Paul's children. Alia is married to Duncan
Idaho. Things start to fall apart. CHILDREN OF DUNE is an ambitious mini-series with great costume and set design, great CGI
special effects, plots within plots, and so on. Susan Sarandon plays an evil political schemer well. Steven Berkoff even does
some enjoyable overacting at times as Stilgar. Daniela Amavia plays Alia well even though her acting does not hold up in
the final scenes. Alec Newman is back as Paul, but about almost every character is play by a different actor than the actors
seen in Frank Herbert's DUNE. You have Alice Krige playing a fine Lady Jessica and Edward Atterton as Duncan Idaho (and he
acted the part rather well). CHILDREN OF DUNE is about plots within plots, politics, religion gone mad, and a reversal of
change. DUNE was about change bringing about something better where CHILDREN OF DUNE is about reversing those changes because
the changes to Arrakis are killing a way of life and will kill the worms off.
CHILDREN OF DUNE is a mile above most sci-fi series and movies. It is well directed and produced. There are minor problems.
Sometimes the pacing could have been smoother instead of hitting some slow spots and using some song to help illustrate what
is going during Chani's birth and elsewhere during that period. Some of the characters learn their mistakes and change while
others fail to learn them until it is too late. Paul Atreides learns he has become trapped by seeing the future and he even
forgives Irulan for giving Chani the contraceptive. Leto wonders if he escape the future and let everyone able to live their
own futures without one person guiding the future. Politics and power are very much real forces in this mini-series.
I watched this from a DVD screener and I have to say the transfer for the DVD screener freezes up times (maybe others
had better luck), but I hope the 2 disc release on May 20, 2003 doesn't encounter the same problems. I personally rather hold
off and wait for the 3 DVD director's cut whenever (and hopefully) comes out.
Despite some people's feeling against the SCI-FI channel, CHILDREN OF DUNE is one mini-series every DUNE fan and fan of
the first mini-series should tune into when it airs over three nights starting Sunday March 16, 2003 and concluding on March
this review is (c) 2003 David Blackwell. email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org