The spectacular epic that began in the Emmy Award-winning Frank Herberts Dune mini-series continues in this dazzling new journey into sweeping interstellar intrigue and visionary sci-fi adventure! On the desert planet of Dune, the ancient prophecy has been fulfilled: the rule of the legendary Muaddib has triggered a miraculous transformation of the arid wastelands. But as always, the Great Houses of the Empire are alive with rumors of conspiracy, plotting and betrayal. And when Muaddib no longer wields absolute power as the Emperor, his young son Leto Atreides and daughter Ghanima face the prospect of a disastrous civil war on Arrakis - and chaos on a galactic scale. Now, with the future of the vital Spice trade in the balance, the destiny of humanity itself will depend on the courage, strength and otherworldly wisdom of The Children of Dune!
Conspiracies abound in Children of Dune, Sci-Fi Channel's praiseworthy miniseries sequel to Frank Herbert's Dune, loyally adapted from the Herbert novels Dune Messiah and Children of Dune by John Harrison, who passed directorial duties (due to a scheduling conflict) to Greg Yaitanes, a 31-year-old TV director and Dune neophyte tackling his biggest assignment to date. Uninitiated viewers face a disadvantage; it's best to read Herbert's books and/or see the first miniseries before plunging into this remarkably coherent tangle of political intrigue, unfolding 12 years after the events of Dune.
To his horror, Maud'Dib--Arrakis emperor Paul Atreides (Alec Newman, reprising his Dune role)--has become the unintended figurehead of a violent dictatorship, and his enemies are multiplying. Vanishing into the desert, he waits as destiny shapes his twin heirs Leto II (James McAvoy) and Ghanima (Jessica Brooks), who must contend with their scheming aunt Alia (Daniela Amavia) while Princess Wensicia (Susan Sarandon), of the enemy House Corrino, plots her own attack on Maud'Dib's familial empire. Exiled Atreides matriarch Lady Jessica (Alice Krige, giving the film's finest performance) returns to Arrakis, where the enormous, desert-dwelling sandworms face an uncertain future. As always, the spice must flow, and the universe's most coveted commodity remains at the center of this richly detailed and physically impressive production. Special effects range from awesome (fly-over shots of the capital city, Arakeen) to awful (the saber-tooth tigers look like Jumanji rejects), and Dune devotees will endlessly debate the miniseries' strengths and weaknesses. Some may desire more action to punctuate the film's inherent verbosity, but consensus will surely conclude that this is Dune done right, with monumental effort and obvious devotion from everyone involved. --Jeff Shannon