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Friday, 4 December 2015

Dune - Politics, Sand and Mythology - #FanFridays 12


Hello and welcome to my blog this sunny Friday. It the day I get to geek out with all my fellow fans and today I am going for Frank Herbert's Dune. I very much hope you enjoy today's post.
Dune
Politics, Sand and Mythology

So there are three versions of Dune to enjoy as well as two versions of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune:
  • The original books by Frank Herbert
  • The David Lynch Dune movie (1984) with Kyle MacLachlan and Francesca Annis
  • The SyFy mini series, Dune and Children of Dune (which include Dune Messiah) with Alex Newman, Saskia Reeves, James McAvoy and Jessica Brooks
I really enjoy all of them.

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They are a series of books that feature the planet Arrakis, also known as Dune because most of it is desert and it never rains, from which the spice melange originates. This spice prolongs life and changes human consciousness, allowing for what seem like superhuman abilities and, among those of the Spacing Guild, the ability to fold space to allow for long distance space travel.

The empire is ruled by the Padishah Emperor, who governs the great houses, while the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and the Spacing Guild carefully oversee the blood lines to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, the super being, whom they wish to control.

In Dune, the House Atreides has been given the right to mine spice on Dune, after their ancient enemies House Harkonnen have been stripped of this privilege. However, it is a trap set with the Emperor's help to destroy Duke Leto Atreides, whom the Emperor fears. Paul Atreides and his mother Jessica, end up escaping to the deep desert the Fremen, local tribes of fierce warriors. Weaving themselves into the Fremen mythology they orchestrate their vengeance.

My favourite part is that, due to Bene Gesserit training, Paul and his mother have what seem to be almost magical powers. They can read meaning from body language as if reading minds, they can move incredibly fast and they can fool other's perceptions. This makes the books not just science, but mythical as well.

The Books

Now these are real space opera, very political and detailed. I have not read the newer books by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson, so I can't comment on those, but I did enjoy the first three books in the series by Frank Herbert. My favourite is definitely Dune, but Children of Dune is also well worth a read. While I enjoyed Dune Messiah, I didn't get into it nearly a much as Dune and the other three, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune, did not grab me at all.

Dune is a book full of science fiction, politics and intrigue, but it also has a healthy dose of mythology and almost fantasy, which I think the books start to lose as they gain more and more politics. Hence why it's my favourite. I heartily recommend it as a great read.

The Film (1984)

Now I know a lot of fans of Dune really dislike this movie, but I saw it before I ever read the book and I love it. It's cheesy in places and very, very odd occasionally, but it is a fantastic piece of film and highly entertaining. My favourite version is an extended for TV cut that has scenes put back in that never made it to the cinema version, unfortunately, this is not the version they released on Blu-ray.

In this version Kyle MacLachlan plays Paul, the hero and, as far as most people are concerned, the Kwisatz Haderach, the super being. I assume they were thinking merchandising when they added in what is called the "Weirding module" to this story, a weapon that uses sound. This is not in the books, but I really enjoyed the addition. In the books it is all human ability that is used.

Personally I think the film is far too short even though it's still quite epic. I would love to see a mini-series version of this production, alas, that is highly unlikely.

The Mini Series (2000, 2003)

These are my favourite version of all, even though I love the book, I think the changes made for the screen really work and both mini series are just so beautifully done.

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Alex Newman takes on the iconic role of Paul in this version and he is brilliant. He starts off the confused boy, moves through being the super being, and ends up trying to tear down his own legend. Saskia Reeves is also superb as Lady Jessica. The effects and music aren't quite as sophisticated as Children of Dune, but I could watch this over and over again.

My favourite of all, however, it Children of Dune, I simply adore it. James McAvoy plays Leto, Paul's son, and in the first episode he is a ghost of the future, urging his father on to what must  be. Then he comes into his own, grown and standing against the enemies of House Atreides and his own Aunt with his twin sister Ghanima.

I have the CD of the soundtrack as well and it is brilliant writing music.

As you can tell by the pictures I have chosen I totally watch both of these just for the plot ;), honest!

Have you seen/read Dune? Which is your favourite version?

2 comments:

  1. Like you I am a fan of the first three books, as well as the film and TV mini-series. And my favorite is definitely the mini-series, which I try to watch whenever it is on. That said I always enjoy David Lynch's take on anything, so his film is always a fun watch. My paperbacks were lost when I moved house in 2010, so I need to replace them and buy what I can on Blue-ray.

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    1. I have the DVDs for the movies and the mini-series and I am always watching them :) I wish you luck with finding new copies of the books. The covers are probably snazzier these days :)

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