Recently, I had the opportunity pull out my Children of Dune DVDs and rewatch them, something I do every once in a while. I thought it pertinent then to write up a quick review for the benefit of anyone who still has not seen this incredible series.
The Dune series of books is one of the cornerstones of science fiction literature. The depth of storytelling and incredibly complicated relationships between characters, countries, and organizations is incredible to behold, and can only be ridiculous challenge to commit to film. David Lynch tried, and while he missed the boat on a lot of the story elements he nailed an excellent style.
Then the SciFi network did the Dune miniseries, an attempt to do Dune again but this time be faithful to the original story and characters. The ability to take many hours to tell the story did the effort justice, marred only by some iffy acting and lowbrow special effects. When SciFi was to bring Children of Dune to the screen, I cringed a bit, fearing a repeat of the dodginess of the first series. But oh how I was wrong.
The director Children of Dune in fact mixes the second book (Dune Messiah) and the third book (Children of Dune), creating a brilliant series which showcases major turning points in the Dune mythology. The production values blow away those done by many motion pictures, with top end special effects and incredible use of lighting and costume to set the mood. Add in a richly emotional score by Brian Tyler, which was so good I ended up buying the CD, and you have a perfect recipe for greatness.
In a nutshell, Children of Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides after his defeat of the Emperor from the first series. The mythology which surrounds his family is stifling, and beginning to take on a life of its own as his religious armies ravage the universe, killing any who do not swear allegiance to him. Old enemies continue to conspire, and old allies beginning to acquire a distaste for what Muad’dib’s empire represents begin to turn against him. The series focuses primarily on Paul’s children, as they grow into a legacy which becomes increasingly dangerous for them.
The entire cast is spot on throughout the series, including the actors from the first series. It’s evident they’ve grown as actors since the last series’ production.
The story of the Dune series is one of fate and tragedy, and that is no more evident than in the second and third books. It’s captured perfectly here and is something which will deeply touch anyone. I highly recommend this series, regardless of whether someone is a science fiction fan or not. The story and characters are the highlights, not the technobabble. It would be worthwhile to check out the first series before watching this however, since several plot points are important here.