Original title: Frank Herbert’s Dune. Spanish title: Dune. Year: 2000. Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure. Country: United States of America (USA). Language: English. Episodes: 3 x 95 min. Color or B/W: Color. Creator: Frank Herbert. Director: John Harrison. Script: Frank Herbert (Dune novel) and John Harrison. Photography: Vittorio Storaro. Music: Graeme Revell. Cast: William Hurt, Alec Newman, Saskia Reeves, P.H. Moriarty, Ian McNeice, Matt Keeslar, Barbora Kodetová, Giancarlo Giannini.
Plot outline Duke Leto Atreides, head of the Great House Atreides, and natural from Caladan, a paradisiac planet, has been chosen by the Emperor Shaddam IV to rule Arrakis, a desert planet (Dune is its colloquial name) that is the only source of a spice called melange, the most valuable substance in universe. To that planet he will move with his family, friends, army and servants, always aware of possible threats made by the Harkonnens, a Great House rival of the Atreides.
Comment without spoilers This miniseries, despite not being a completely precise adaptation of the novel it’s based on, does a quite good job performing most of the events that appear in it, as well as showing us events not directly narrated in Dune. One of the points that can be more criticized about this adaptation is the notable subplot surrounding Princess Irulan, but it seems that it’s due to show some of the importance this character has in the following novels (which I haven’t read yet).
The narrative rhythm is very irregular, drifting from intense and thrilling scenes to really boring periods, in which you question yourself if this miniseries is worth watching (even more if you do it like me, watch it almost in one run). So, unfortunately, this leaves a sweet and sour taste in the spectator that it’s not good for the overall feeling.
Most of the characters retain perfectly the importance and behaviors they had in the novel, but some of them have variations in their way of being, like Paul, who in the beginning is very immature; or their significance, like the general lack of importance of Thufir or Yueh in the story (except in their really important scenes, of course).
Aside from the performance of Giancarlo Giannini, which is great, like always, the job of the rest of the cast is just decent, without any outstanding performance drawing attention.
The photography of the episodes is also rather irregular, but this time not in quality but in method, as sometimes the approach is very experimental and others really traditional. Anyway, probably the most notable aspect is the illumination technique, that resembles a lot the one used in theaters, with colorful spotlights, to heighten diverse characters or events.
Visually, Frank Herbert’s Dune is really colorful, both thank to the costumes and the scenarios, as well as the visual effects like the aforementioned spotlights. The computer generated special effects, for being 8 years old and for a TV production, looks quite OK.
The soundtrack is almost nonexistent, composed only by background noises, and sometimes, like in the actions or thrilling scenes, some electronic music to try make your heart pump a little bit faster.
The overall atmosphere of the miniseries is very good, making you feel completely immersed in the dessert planet of Arrakis, and concerned about its problems and situation. At least, I felt the urge of drinking water continuously while watching this Frank Herbert’s Dune.
To conclude the spoiler-free part of this comment, I want to say that watching this miniseries might be an interesting exercise if you have previously read the novel, but I wouldn’t do it if you haven’t. Also, if you give it a try, I don’t recommend to watch 2 episodes (or more) in a single run, because you may end really fed up of it (it almost happened to me, so…).
In this spoilers part I don’t want to comment any important fact, just a curiosity. And that is that in the end of the 3rd episode, when Paul is riding the sandworm during the final attack, he goes down of it… jumping forward! that is, jumping in front of a moving sandworm! It’s just retarded xD.
End of SPOILERS
mrithail.com: Dune (Novel).
mrithail.com: Dune Extended Edition (Film).
mrithail.com: Frank Herbert’s Dune (Miniseries).