Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Children of Dune miniseries

(or "Yes, Virginia, we are completely insane")

So, Saturday evening, the special seminar series resumed. As is often the case, it resumed with a rather ludicrously long session, but it was enjoyable. Kevin, alas, could not make it.

We started with a couple more episodes of Blood+, which continues to wobble between cool bit and excessive teenage angst, without quite falling off the fence on what it intends to be, followed by Bubba-HoTep, which, although I've seen several times before, I had not watched on a projector, and the film is certainly not hurt by the experience (although, given my fondness for the film, that's not that surprising a reaction).

We followed this with the entire Children of Dune miniseries, which took us to 5:15 am. The copy we had suffered from weird glitches, chopping and changing between grey scale and colour on several occasions, and having a few other glitches, but not so many as to be unwatchable.

The actual adaption isn't bad. There are some surprising liberties taken with the books, though, for reasons I don't quite fathom. The conflating of the Guild plots into the House Corrino plots seems pointless, and the depiction of Leto's second skin as a small smattering of sand trout on his right arm seems a completely bizarre choice. Also lost, although this probably hard to avoid with a TV adaption, is the doubt about the Preacher's identity. While in the book, it is only confirmed quite late, in the adaptation it is clear from the Preacher's first appearance.

The bit I found most objectionable is the chance in the structure of Leto and Ghani's plan. In the book, they both agree to Leto's departure, and Chani's belief in Leto's death is a deception she practices on herself. Here, it's a deception Leto practices on Ghani, which seems contrary to the spirit of the relationship.

Otherwise, as expected, lots of the detail of the mental battles is stripped out of the adaption, but, overall, it is not a bad effort at all.

Overall, I'm glad I saw it, but won't be buying the DVD anytime soon.

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