Frank Herbert’s Dune (TV mini-series 2000)

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Artisan Home Entertainment and SciFi channel (before it became SyFy) released the best adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune to date. It is a story of intrigue, politics, betrayal, lust, greed. It is also about the coming of a Messiah that is supposed to free the people of the desert planet Dune also called Arrakis. This 3 part mini series is almost impossible to not want to site and watch the entire film at once. It draws you in and holds on to you. This film makes you want to root for the characters, your entire body needs for them to succeed. Sometimes Artisan Home Entertainment can give us some real stinkers but this is not one of them. This is a classic and if SciFy had not become SyFy we might have gotten all of the books done this well. This is not the crap that David Lynch and Sting brought us, this is a riveting tale of how a boy becomes a man and then the Savior of the entire planet and his family.

House Atreides and house Harkonnen have been at war with each other for centuries and are also royal houses and both next in line for the throne if the Padishah Emperor SHADDAM IV and his family die. Duke Leto Atreides (William Hurt) is a popular ruler and popular among the other great houses of the empire, so great that the Empiror himself fells threatened by him. Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Ian McNeice) is a vile ruler and is both ruthless and cunning. Seeing how Leto’s popularity is growing Vladimir makes sure that Dune is going to be given to Leto. Dune is one of if not the most important planet in the entire Galactic Empire, it is where the rare substance Spice or Melange is found. It smells and tastes of Cinnamon and it is what give the Spacing Guild Navigators the ability to fold or bend space to their will. It is this ability to connect 2 points in space that allows them to instantly transport entire fleets of ships from one end of the empire to the other. It is a closely guarded secret that only the Reverend Mothers of the Bene Gesserit and the Spacing Guild know about. Spice also gives its user a longer then normal life.

All of these facts and factors are used in the film and this film really is the closest to the original story that you can get. A point many other reviews from other sources have noted. Is it exactly like the book? No. Things had to be left out but Artisan took great pains to make sure that the film was accurate to the book in what they filmed and it shows. They don’t try to embellish or make up stuff for the story they want this film is more of a tribute to Frank Herbert himself. This reviewer feels that if Herbert had seen the film he would have enjoyed it and would have felt good about it. More films need to be made more accurate to their sources.

There have been criticism that William Hurt as Leto and Alec Newman and Paul Muad’Dib were bad choices. I don’t see why, in the book Leto was a cynic and Pual a questioning and bitter person and I think that the 2 actors did a wonderful if not accurate portrayal of the characters other then the fact Paul was supposed to be about 14 at the time. Some things have to be changed for legal, ethical and logistical reasons at times. If they had not made the changes the relationship with his mother Lady Jessica (Saskia Reeves) and Chani (Barbora Kodetová) then legal and moral problems might have arisen and they would not have been able to do some of the scenes that they did.

In all they did a fantastic job with Herber’s story and it is one that is going to be cherished for years to come by both SciFi fans and Frank Herbert fans alike. Even the purists will be able to enjoy this film and match it up with what they read in the book. My only regret is that they didn’t add in my favorite Stilgar (Uwe Ochsenknecht) quote from the book:

Do as she says, you wormfaced, crawling, sand-brained piece of lizard turd!

Who knows, maybe the next film might have it but till then you will all enjoy this wonderfully crafted and produced film from Artisan Home Entertainment. Enjoy the many screen shots from the series and may Shai-Hulud be with you all, as the Fremen might say.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆