Movie vs. the Mini Series

Science Fiction TV Show Guides Forums Cult Sci Fi Series Dune Movie vs. the Mini Series

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    Which do you like better, the 1980’s movie, or the Sci Fi Channel mini-series? Discuss it here.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet myself, so I’ll have to go with the miniseries. Personally I can’t see how anyone could condense the whole Dune novel into a 2 hour film.

    What’s your thoughts?


    As a wee lad all of 9 years of age my father pulled me out of Catholic school an hour early. Claimed he needed someone to see a movie with him. The movie was Dune, and for a little kid it was filled to the brim with sounds, pictures, colors, and violence.

    It wasent until another 9 years that I finally got around to reading the book, it was then I became a huge fan. And you hit the main point right on the button, putting what is a BEHEMOTH of a novel into 2 hours is rough at best.

    The main contrast I see between the Lynch movie “Dune” and the “Dune” miniseries is the movie went with a stand alone epic focusing on action rather than drama and politics. The miniseries had the luxury of really focusing on the reasons behind the reasons, wheels within wheels if you will.

    The similarity is that they both ran into the same problem, time constraints. Both films had to leave central characters out and both chose to leave Lady Fenring out. Lady Fenring is a character that seems quite innocent. She resided upon Dune before even the Harkonnen as Governer with her husband the Eunich Hasimir Fenring. They created the Garden you see in the Palace of Arakeen. Lady Fenring is a Bene Gesserit that seduces Fey’d Rautha, and later the child re-emerges possible as Prince Farad’n. Because this all has no relevance to “Dune” itself until “Children of Dune” and beyond both movies chose to remove it.

    However, the miniseries included the seduction, but chose Irulan of all people to take the role of Lady Fenring. Which in terms of the miniseries makes Farad’n her kid, wierd huh? But they chose not to explore that route and confuse people. Which brings me to the main point, it’s awfully tough to tackle this series without ignoring the fact that this is based upon an evolution of Earth, with all our history up to the present. Because Dune is presented as such a futuristic Universe, its hard to keep those roots and explain that each one of the factions in the series comes directly from an Earth religion, government, race, etc…

    All in all I loved the mini-series, Paul was much more petulant as he is in the book, kinda Luke Skywalker’ish from the early part of “Star Wars”. The movie had him as a fairly mature adult from the get go. However I love, LOVE, evil characters, and Lynchs movie does a great job at protraying the Twisted Mentat “Piter DeVries”.


    Both the mini-series and film are good in their own way…

    Rent the movie (the extended version), it’s one of my faves despite its risible and ridiculous finale. I must admit I prefer the movie despite its flaws. If I were a huge fan of Herbert I’d probably prefer the mini-series which is more faithful to his saga, but I like the style of the film. It looks fantastic, was quite moving, and I generally preferred the performances in it. I’m sure there will be other threads on who made the better: Duke Leto, Paul, Chani, Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck etc. But any movie that features Toto is great in my book! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

    BTW, here’s the trailer to Lynch’s Dune from Lynch’s site from site.[/url]


    I really enjoyed the David Lynch version. But it’s for a bunch of reasons that have little to do with it’s translation from book to screen. I like it because it’s a David Lynch film, period. It oozes his style. And it had Sean Young in it and I’m a sucker for her. I think she’s beautiful. And Patrick Stuart! Need I say more?

    However, in terms of translation from book to screen, I liked the mini-series much better. I think it captured the feeling quite well. I don’t agree with the petty criticisms that the painted backdrops looked fake. I didn’t notice them until some anal-retentive perfectionist fan pointed it out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The Baron was PERFECT in the mini-series. He’s much more intelligent and scheming than the one in the mini-series. He didn’t have a skin disease, he just gained weight uncontrolably. They explain how he got that disease in the prequal books.

    I liked Duncan Idaho much better in the mini-series. I look forward to seeing him in all the other mini-series sequals. Fish Speakers! Woo-hoo!

    The only thing I thought the mini-series got totally wrong which the movie got totally right is the ethnic look of the Atreides. They are direct descendants of Agamemnon. Leto, Paul, Alia, and the twins all had black hair and generally looked greek. In the mini-series, the Atreides looked like they came from southern California or Ohio. The only one who looked right was Alia.

    I much prefered Alice Krige as Lady Jessica. I love her!

    (I think I mispelled a bunch of names. I didn’t bother to look them up.)


    Great post Flamegrape. The books do clearly state they have black hair on their fathers side(from the original Greek strain), and Alia had red hair (Harkonnen strain). I’m not sure why the miniseries did not stay true to this. To take your comment one step further, they all had different accents! Alia was hungarian or something, while the twins both had different regional Brit accents, and Alec Newman(Paul) who is Irish, used an American accent. I think they also wasted money on William Hurt, heck the B-actor from Lynchs made an incredible Duke Leto.

    The BARON!! Yes! Another person who thinks the guy was brilliant in the role. The guy that played it in Lynchs version did a great job as well, but in the mini series he really stood out. I did not like Fey’d as much. Sting as Fey’d was just perfect, as was the actor that played Piter.


    I liked the series much better. The movie didn’t make a lot of sense if you hadn’t read the book first. I was however disappointed with some of the shortcuts taken in the series. In the book Leto and his sister were much younger (i’m thinking they went with older characters for sex appeal and to appease the more conservative U.S. audience) I think they should have explored the ecology of Arrakis more (In the series you don’t get much of an explanation about the sandtrout or Leto’s transformation) I still really like the series though, I bought the DVD the same time I bought my DVD player.


    People in Canada who haven’t yet seen the two Dune miniseries and the movie will get the chance to decide which is better on Monday, August 4th when the Space Channel (Canada) will air the miniseries Dune and Children of Dune followed by David Lynch’s Dune. It’s an all-day Dune extravaganza!!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Starts at 7:00 am PT (10:00 ET) and ends at 10:00 pm PT (1:00 am ET). Don’t miss out!

    For more info: Space’s Website (CLICK!)

    btw, I added this info in the Events category.


    One thing that did bother me about the mini series is the pronounication of Harkonen. Har-kon-nen in Lynch’s vs. Hark-enen in Scifi’s. Drove me crazy, I like Lynch’s pron. better. And I love the Lynchness of the movie and the actors.

    The dirty dripping Harkonens in Lynch were so much easier to despise.

    I haven’t read the books, so this is purely a visual interpretation.
    And I think I froze the frame of Lynch’s (Sting) Fey’d stepping out of his spice shower ten thousand times in high school.!!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    I WANT to read the books, but the library didn’t have the first one in! So I’m biding my time…..


    I’m afraid I’m solidly behind the Lynch film all the way here. I think I would have to be purely in terms of the acting – I thought all the performances in the film were exceptional and all the ones in the miniseries were dire. I was hugely impressed by just about everyone in the film, but special mentions have to go to Jurgen Prochnow as Duke Leto (all his other English language films are crap, but his German ones rock!), Francesca Annis as Jessica, Kyle McLauchlan as Paul, the guy who played Dr Yueh (I can’t believe he can act that well after seeing him in Quantum Leap!) and of course Brad Dourif as Piter DeVries . In the miniseries, I was esp disappointed with William Hurt, becasue I really admired him in several other films (and he would be one of my choices to play Vimes, should they ever make a Discworld film!) esp The Accidental Tourist and Children of a Lesser God, but I thought in this he was lacklustre and unconvincing, a symptom of the larger malaise regarding acting in this miniseries. Also, the film may not have had space to depict the Dune universe in the detail it deserved (the last half-hour is disappointingly fast) but I think that it captures the atmosphere of the books perfectly. It is insane, mystical, beautiful, cruel, and yes, OTT. I don’t think in this context that is the fatal criticism that it’s often used as – how can a story be epic and Messianic without being OTT? The mysticsm esp was perfect, and the minseries handled that very badly – Paul’s visions came out like a bad acid trip, and were wayy too obviously CGI .The miniseries was generic, dull and conventional – very typical of US TV. And the film is full of images that burn their way onto your hindbrain and stay with you for years, accompanied by one of the most perfect and haunting film scores I’ve ever heard – I so can’t believe that was Toto! The special effects may have been more up-to-date in the miniseries, and i have to admit, I thought their Guild Navigator was cool, but it doesn’t make up for a generally lacklustre production with bad acting and dull scripts.


    Shadowedvenus, you are my hero!

    Esp your point about the mysticism depicted, of course some one like Lynch can control I think the aesthicsm in his movie, obviously better than Scifi, resting on the previous work of the big names associated with their version, ie, William Hurt – I agree Lynch’s Leto was more dramatic, more accesible and the camera guy (don’t rememebr his name)
    And the SciFi’s Paul was more like Mark Hamil in Star Wars than what Kyle McLaughlin’s performance was.

    Lynch’s vision in his movies is so unique so beautiful and grotesque at the same time. The emperor’s court and the bene gezerits style way better.
    In the Scifi, I thought the head bene gezerit’s wig/hair was terribly done, and Muad’dib’s court costumes at the end of Scifi’s Dune were just cheaply thrown together.

    Like you pointed out – what we’ve come to expect from US TV.


    I agree with the harkonnen pronounciation issue, but definently think that the mini-series was damn good, especially the worms they looked exactly like I thought they would, there was only disapointment, the ornithopters, at the end of Dune, Herbert describes a ‘thopter as:

    ORNITHOPTER: (typically ‘thopter) any aircraft capable of sustained wing-beat flight in the manner of birds.

    The mini-series craft weren’t exactly bird-like were they?
    But overall damn good.


    As has been mentioned before, the mini-series had the luxury or explaining things, and letting you see all the behind the scenes action, which either caused what was happening, or set it up to happen.

    However for over all look, casting and acting…. the movie pretty much nailed it.

    How great would it have been if Lynch had been given a LOTR like deal?

    MuadDib wrote:

    ORNITHOPTER: (typically ‘thopter) any aircraft capable of sustained wing-beat flight in the manner of birds.

    They tried to have a falpping thopter originally. But supposedly it just looked silly and cumbersome, so they dropped it for the current idea.

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