The ‘Dune’ Miniseries Is a Fascinating Piece of History


In December 2000, the Sci-Fi Channel (since renamed Syfy) launched Frank Herbert’s Dune, an formidable three-part miniseries. Science fiction creator Rajan Khanna was a current faculty grad when he first watched the present.

“I bear in mind it popping out, and I bear in mind truthfully the Sci-Fi Channel being a giant deal again within the day,” Khanna says in Episode 515 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “This was earlier than there was all this geek stuff all over the place. It was type of like, ‘That is for us,’ in a approach.”

With a price range of $20 million, Frank Herbert’s Dune was an formidable undertaking for the fledgling community. The sequence received an Emmy for particular results and was one of many channel’s highest-rated packages. However TV author Andrea Kail warns that trendy audiences received’t precisely be blown away by the present’s manufacturing values. “I’ve a really distinct reminiscence of 1 particular shot the place Jessica and Paul are operating away from the ornithopters, they usually’re operating in place in entrance of a nasty inexperienced display,” she says. “It was like watching a play being filmed. It wasn’t a film, it was a play that someone pointed a digicam at.”

Geek’s Information to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley agrees that the present has its issues, however he loved a subplot involving Princess Irulan, a minor character within the novel who was utterly omitted from the recent film. “Dune is a mixture of ‘house opera courtroom intrigue’ and ‘hippie Lawrence of Arabia,’” he says. “These are the 2 parts. I just like the house opera courtroom intrigue stuff considerably extra. [Irulan’s] storyline continued the house opera courtroom intrigue stuff via the entire story, so I really actually preferred that so much.”

Science fiction creator Matthew Kressel says the standard of the underlying materials shines via no matter any tough edges. Particularly he loved how the sequence captures the feel of the novel. “I really like the Villeneuve film, in fact, nevertheless it’s a really frenetic movie,” he says. “I really feel like there was one thing about this sequence that took its time telling the story, and I revered that.”

Take heed to the entire interview with Rajan Khanna, Andrea Kail, and Matthew Kressel in Episode 515 of Geek’s Information to the Galaxy (above). And take a look at some highlights from the dialogue under.

Andrea Kail on Frank Herbert’s Dune vs. Dune (1984):

This [miniseries] makes the Lynch model appear like the Denis Villeneuve model, and the Lynch model makes the Villeneuve model appear like a film delivered by the hand of God. That’s how a lot this propped all the pieces else up … The [Lynch version] is a horrible film, however I’ll by no means not watch it if it’s on. It’s a nasty film, nevertheless it’s compellingly unhealthy. I all the time sit and watch it as a result of it’s a spectacle. This? I really like Dune, however I can’t sit and watch this once more. Do you see the distinction? The [Lynch version] is visually attention-grabbing and there’s so much happening. This isn’t one thing I might ever watch once more willingly, and I’m a Dune fanatic.

Matthew Kressel on particular results:

There have been some locations the place they didn’t even do a matte portray, they simply had a backdrop that they unrolled behind the actors. That’s an odd selection, as a result of perhaps they didn’t have the cash for a matte portray, however they definitely had inexperienced screens by this level. So I used to be very inquisitive about that … We’re spoiled by the particular results at present. They’re so good, all the pieces seems to be actual. It’s flawless. However we sort of overlook that that was actually, actually arduous to attain. Even Star Wars, which had this enormous price range, you watch the unique one—not the remaster—and it’s like, “Yeah, the Loss of life Star is a mannequin.” You possibly can simply inform on the close-up pictures.

David Barr Kirtley on Frank Herbert’s Dune vs. Dune (2021):

The Villeneuve film principally doesn’t clarify something. “Mentats? Don’t fear about it. Guild Navigators? Don’t fear about it, it’s not necessary.” It simply focuses on telling a compelling, emotional character story. The [miniseries] tries to elucidate much more of the world-building, and that’s actually unhealthy in loads of methods—dramatically—however I really feel like in case you watch this you really know extra concerning the world and what occurs within the ebook than you’ll from watching the Villeneuve film—which is one million occasions higher, nevertheless it’s made a trade-off of dramatic effectiveness versus world-building explication.

Rajan Khanna on adaptation:

I believe this [miniseries] is among the examples of how being trustworthy to a ebook is usually a entice, as a result of what you find yourself with is a box-checking train and never loads of life. All the nice variations condense issues, smush issues collectively, minimize issues out. Lord of the Rings is broadly thought to be a tremendous adaptation, they usually minimize all types of issues. There’s all the time someone who’s like, “Tom Bombadil!” However Tom Bombadil wanted to go … It’s important to make these selections. I believe that is an instance of being trustworthy but in addition being flat and never having loads of coronary heart or power. So I might not suggest this for anybody besides hardcore Dune historians.

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