Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune (review)

Sci Fi Channel remade David Lynch’s adaptation of Dune as something less bizarre and baroque but something more comprehensible, and now the network returns with a sequel, based on the second and third books in Frank Herbert’s beloved series of novels. Paul Atreides (Alec Newman) of House Atreides, previously revealed as the prophesied savior Muad’dib, has won his holy wars and now rules as emperor of the galaxy from planet Arrakis. But that rule is challenged, and creepy priestesses and the nobles of other great Houses plot his demise. This is a spectacular production, and not just on a scale for television: the cinematography and art direction are lovely, the effects stunning, the score hauntingly beautiful. (The bonus featurette details the dedication that went into bringing the film to the screen.) The convoluted political and social intrigue on an interplanetary scale will likely to confound impatient viewers, particularly those not already familiar with the complexities of Herbert’s novels, but fans of true science fiction will find an immersion into alien worlds and human cultures new and yet so like our own, in which power can do nothing but corrupt its wielders.

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