From the novel of the same name by Frank Herbert. Intergalactic politics and a cult religion determine the fate of the universe through the actions of one boy who grows up to be the promised liberator of the desert people of the planet Arrakis.
This is the 6 hour TV version, not David Lynch’s 1984 movie version, and a book that is hard to do because not only are the complexities of the plot hard to get across, but people have very strong feelings about it. Truthfully, I think they did a pretty good job with this.
The costumes, backgrounds and sets are WONDERFUL. They took a lot of care with them, and it shows. The script is almost page for page from the book; when you have 6 hours to spend, you can make sure that all the plot points and nuances are included (unlike the movie version of Dune!). It really had a lot going for it…unfortunately, most of the actors were sleepwalking.
Paul especially was so wooden, that we debated stopping after the first (2 hour) episode, but decided to keep going (ok, tell the truth, the cats had us pinned to the couch and it was so cold they refused to get up and let us change discs). By the third episode, though, some of the dullest of the characters were gone (like William Hurt, who looked like he had been taking serious amounts of a very strong sedative before being allowed in front of a camera) and Paul had loosened up a little.
Julie Cox as the Princess, Barbara Kodetova as Chani, and Giancarlo Giannini (now THERE was a honey, in the 70s, and he’s still darn cute) as the Emperor, were all good, and although he mugged a lot, Ian McNeice as Baron Harkonnen was a bad guy you loved to hate. Too bad Sting wasn’t in this one, but you can’t have everything.
Rent it for the ride, don’t expect too much from the characters, but it’s seriously good eye-candy.