Sunday Double Feature part one – “Frank Herbert’s Dune: Director’s Cut”

The first of this summer’s Sunday Double Features goes
up today, with reviews of a miniseries and its sequel.

Cast and Crew

William Hurt as Leto Atreides

Alec Newman as Paul Atreides / Muad’Dib

Saskia Reeves as Jessica Atreides

James Watson as Duncan Idaho

P.H. Moriarty as Gurney Halleck

Ian McNeice as Baron Harkonnen

Matt Keeslar as Feyd Harkonnen

Uwe Ochsenknect as Stilgar

Barbora Kodetova as Chani

Karel Dobry as Liet

Written (for the screen, based on Frank Herbert’s
novel, but you all
knew that already) and directed by John Harrison.

Complete information is
available from this

Buy from:

Past TV reviews can be found here.

Original Airdate

Frank Herbert’s Dune originally aired in the
year 2000. The
Director’s Cut wasn’t seen on North American
television, although it
sounds like it may be the version that aired in


A boy goes to a desert planet and becomes a man before
becoming a
god. Politics abound.

High Point

Alia meets the emperor.

Low Point

The mixed quality of visual effects.

The Review

This is an extremely faithful adaptation of a work
that has been
adapted before. Apart from increasing Irulan’s role,
this is the
book. (Note the lack of ray guns!) I give it 3 out
of 6.

The effects were all over the map. The
mouse, blue
screening, and sand displacement around worms were
quite bad, while
the other effects were quite good. The eyes in
particular looked
excellent. There were a lot of effects here for a
European television
production. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is an excellent adaptation of
strong source
material. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is very well done, with casting
that fits the
roles. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was rather strong for
me, having read
and enjoyed the novels, and having been disappointed
with David
Lynch’s adaptation. This was Dune done
right. For me,
that’s worth a 5 out of 6.

The production of the sets and constumes was
incredible. The
lighting varies with tone, scene, and planet. It was
impressive. It’s not as rapidly paced as most
productions today, but
that’s keeping in line with the tone of the novel. I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is well worth while, and my
adaptation of the source material. I give it 5 out of

In total, Frank Herbert’s Dune: Director’s
receives 32
out of 42.

7 replies on “Sunday Double Feature part one – “Frank Herbert’s Dune: Director’s Cut””

  1. Paul’s Abilities

    The thing I liked most about this film was how they focused on Paul’s ability to see into the future. It’s an important point that was pretty much ignored by the 1984 version of the movie.

  2. Surprisingly good review
    I attempted to watch it with a friend once, we got to the first worm sighting, I proposed a 15 minutes break, my friend proposed an indefinate break, we settled on that.

    We were bored out of our minds by it, the only point of interest was to see the SFX, and once we’d sampled it, we’d had enough.

  3. I really liked this
    I also liked Children of Dune that goes with it (also reviewed today). I’ve got both
    on DVD and they always enthral. Very good adaptations, keeping a lot of the feel
    of the book and providing an excellent visual interpretation of the environments.
    Okay so some of the effects are dodgy, but like most things they did have a

    Actually it might be interesting to know just how much it costs to do those eyes.
    And I’d also like to know why the eyes in Children of Dune were done differently
    (and inaccurately, although very subtly).

    • Re: I really liked this
      The way they were done in Frank Herbert’s Dune was through thick contact lenses that reflected back UV light. The actors didn’t much like them, and the new director felt it had probably inhibited their performances.

      Thus, they used CGI, which apparently was extremely difficult and very costly, to make the eyes blue. In fact, it was so time consuming that they made excuses as to why some people who were supposed to have blue eyes did not. Some silly excuse like “not taking as much Spice as before”.

      Though, to be truthful, I very much enjoyed the way the eyes were handled. I felt that Children of Dune far surpassed the Dune miniseries in almost every respect, though I will admit that the loss of Saskia Reeves was surely felt. The effects were much better, the acting was better, the direction was better, the costuming was better and almost most importantly the SCORE WAS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. Very beautiful.

      You see, I’m a dune FAN. Big Dune Fan. I’ve got all the mini’s and the theatrical movie, which, while disappointing many, was in many ways superior to the mini.

      The costuming in the movie was simply superb, I love the House Atreides uniforms, which I felt were lacking in the mini. Real desert was also an added bonus. The soundtrack was probably better then the mini-series. The Dune miniseries lacked a decent score, while serviceable, it lacked none of the scope and grandeur required to augment the obvious soundstage. It’s a trick, big music makes things seem bigger, certainly worked on B5 but I digress, Dune mini had poor music.

      The movie I felt had a certain something in it, a reverence almost, it gripped hold and made someone think it was about something huge. The scenes of Paul and his growth felt almost religious, such as the moment when Stilgar utters “Again, it is the legend!” or the scene with the windtraps. It was this feeling that I felt was missing from the Dune miniseries, I also felt, that while the cinematogrophy was amazing and helped tell the story, it was almost too colourful.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the miniseries, I just think there was much the movie did much better.

      One last thing Duke Leto.

      Jurgen Prochnow vs. William Hurt.

      This is no contest, William Hurt played the Duke as if the Duke was drugged the entire movie and not just at the end of part 1.

      Jurgen Prochnow played the Duke as a desperate, dangerous, and saddened man who only wants to be alone with his family but is forced by circumstances to assume a role that he knows is a trap and that is spinning wildly out of control.

      Anyway, that’s enough Dune ranting for one day, adios.

      • Re: I really liked this

        This is no contest, William Hurt played the Duke as if the Duke was drugged the entire movie and not just at the end of part 1.

        There was a LOT the movie left out, so much so as to confuse people who hadn’t read the book. Do you remember those one page handouts they gave at the theater describing everything? I do. The miniseries was more comprehensive in its treatment (even more than the expanded Dune movie re-edits later seen on TV), so I have to give that to the miniseries. The miniseries’ effects were better to the choppy Flash Gordon style of the movie’s, though the shield fights in the movie rocked.

        What I think the miniseries really lacked was passion. Passion in the acting, in particular. The man and woman playing Paul and Chani did a good job, though, but the rest of the cast was a little dull. Where was the “I WILL KILL HIM” movie ferocity in the minseries? Completely absent, IMO.

        In the end, I like both, but for different reasons. The movie had David Lynch style freakiness and passion, but the miniseries told the story a lot better

  4. Missing the epic quality?
    The mini-series will always be compared to the movie, because the movie exists and came out first.

    As mentioned by another poster, the music in the mini-series sounds like any other SciFi series – dull. The movie had an extremely epic quality to it that really enhanced the mood of the movie.

    The acting was also lacking, it seemed like many characters were just passing through, trying to find something to do with their week, trying to earn a paycheck. The movie’s actors, on the other hand, really did a great job and IMHO were better suited to their parts, from the benegeserit (sp) ruling mother to the distraught father to Muad’ib himself.

    And while I watched the miniseries in 2003 I partly felt I was forcing myself to watch it for the story, forcing myself because as a result of the above I found it quite boring at times. Sure, the movie wasn’t perfect, but it sure held my attention a lot better.


    • That’s it!
      As one of the above posters stated, yeah, I don’t remember the handouts. I wasn’t even born yet.

      But after watching the miniseries repeatedly, one thing remains true, I find it hard to stay awake sometimes. It certainly lacked the passion, and in a way missed some scenes that I felt would’ve added.

      The mini did a complete disservice to the character of Duke Leto, the movie with less time managed to do the character more justice, which I have to attest to Jurgen Prochnow.

      You hit on the head too, the movie had passion and a sweeping score, a feeling of grandeur. The mini had none of this, it was simply telling the story, which it did well, but not great.

      I mean, there was an intensity there, I can’t forget the scene where everyone starts yelling “The shield is down! The shield is down! Get that shield back up! THE SHIELD!” or Patrick Stewart yelling “LONG LIVE DUKE LETO!”.

      I don’t hate the mini, I like it very much, I just feel that both have different strenghts and that both are ultimately flawed interpretations. Thus there still exists no definitive screen version of Dune.

      Maybe one day, someone could do to Dune as Peter Jackson did to LOTR, but I doubt it, Dune is almost far too complex. But I can dream.


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