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Frank Herbert's Children Of Dune (2003)
Director: Greg Yaitanes

review by Michael Lohr

The Sci-Fi Channel got something right. With all the recent controversy and hub-bub over the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, people may forget that Children Of Dune was also released this year. This sequel to Frank Herbert's Dune, is a gripping, conspiracy-filled, Machiavellian affair. Both apocalyptic and exhilarating, it far outclassed the new Battlestar Galactica series that left viewers with a feeling non-satisfaction. No such emptiness or dangling plotlines with Children Of Dune. Furthermore, Children of Dune perfectly transfers from the Herbert novel Dune Messiah onto the small screen. Directorial duties fell into the capable hands of Greg Yaitanes, a 31-year-old TV director and self-professed Dune neophyte. This episodic film would have done well with a widescreen cinema release. Now this miniseries is available on DVD.
   The only problem of any concern may be that uninitiated viewers face a disadvantage as far as Dune references go. I would suggest you read Herbert's books and/or see the first miniseries before diving into this astonishingly lucid tangle of religious apocalyptical twists, political intrigue, murder, vengeance and redemption.

Plot Synopsis:
Set 12 years after the events of Dune, Maud'Dib and Arrakis emperor Paul Atreides (Alec Newman, reprising his Dune role), becomes the unintentional figurehead of a very oppressive and bloody dictatorship. To his chagrin, his enemies begin multiplying like jackrabbits. His survival mode kicks in and he decides to vanish deep into the desert. Once there, he waits as his twin heirs Leto II (James McAvoy) and Ghanima (Jessica Brooks) come into their own destiny. Soon afterward, they must contend with their scheming aunt Alia (Daniela Amavia) while Princess Wensicia (Susan Sarandon), of the enemy House Corrino, plots her own attack on Maud'Dib's empire. To make matters more complicated, the exiled Atreides matriarch Lady Jessica (Alice Krige) returns to Arrakis. The desert-dwelling sandworms suddenly face possible extinction and the spice must continue to flow. War brews over the universe's most coveted commodity and the 'Dune Messiah' is coming soon.

I am sure Dune devotees will debate tirelessly in chat-rooms across the globe about the pros and cons of this miniseries and DVD. The bottom line is that if you are a Dune enthusiast, or you just love intriguing well-done science fiction, get a copy now. I just hope the Sci-Fi Channel is capable of this level of effort for the forthcoming Stargate SG1 movie. Though rumour has that the spinoff project could go to big screen and be produced by Universal Studios.
   DVD features: TV spots, storyboard comparisons, Making Dune's Children: The VFX Revealed featurette, widescreen anamorphic format.

Related item:
tZ  Frank Herbert Lives - author retrospective and Dune news - by Byron Merritt
Children Of Dune

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