1.5/10 After the Sci-Fi Channel’s disastrous “Dune” in 2000, they inexplicably skipped the second novel in Frank Herbert’s acclaimed series, “Dune Messiah”, and adapted the third novel, “Children of Dune”. Having read none of the novels makes it a little difficult for me because I have no idea if they combined the second and third books for this adaptation, if they cut out all of the second book completely, how faithful or unfaithful this adaptation is, etc. What I can tell you, however, is that this is far worse than 2000’s “Dune” miniseries and was incredibly hard to sit through, despite coming in at only roughly four hours long. I also didn’t realize that this is an official sequel to Sci-Fi’s “Dune” and not a completely separate miniseries. A lot of the cast from “Dune” is back for this follow-up so at least they retained a lot of the main players. Before I explain why this miniseries should be avoided at all costs, I will give credit where credit is due. James McAvoy, in one of his biggest early career roles before blowing up, was a relative unknown at the time of making this and he gives the best performance of the series, giving a sample of his talent and foreshadowing great things to come. There is a reason why so many in this cast never had careers take off or only stayed making made for TV content, while McAvoy’s career has taken off to where it is today. Besides McAvoy delivering the goods, some of the indoor sets look fairly elaborate and well made and some of the score works well. Sadly, that is where the positives end. This series, like the previous one, is split into three episodes. Unlike “Dune”, the first two episodes have almost no action whatsoever. The first two thirds of this series is all talk, politics and behind the scenes scheming. While that type of stuff, punctuated with action/violence may have worked with something like “Game of Thrones” with high production values, it is completely dull and boring here. I didn’t care about the plot at all as it was weaker than the “Dune” plot and we got roughly three hours of just talking before the third and final episode gave us some weak, brief action. In addition to being a snooze fest, you will hate virtually every character in this series. The few good characters leftover from “Dune” have character arcs that either make them boring, disappear for long stretches of time or turn them into villains. There is almost no one to root for outside of Paul Atreides’s two children and even they had somewhat of a weird, incestuous brother/sister vibe going on that felt a little unsettling. In hiring McAvoy to play Paul’s (Alec Newman) son, they also picked an actor who is only four years younger than Newman. So we are supposed to have a father/son pair but since they are only four years apart in age, they look like brothers instead. They barely try to age up Newman’s Paul character but he looks more sunburned than elderly. Susan Sarandon plays a role in this series but feels totally out of place and completely miscast, as if she is confused and doesn’t know who she is playing. Her performance just felt awkward and stood out in a bad way. This miniseries continues the trend from the last miniseries of having absolutely abysmal CGI that looks like it came from a bad computer game circa Windows 98 as well as laughable costume designs that make virtually every outfit look like a Spirit Halloween store took a shit in the sand. This may be more of a knock on the direction Herbert took his novels if this series stayed faithful to them, but the direction the story takes and what happens to so many main characters just felt like awful decisions to me. While that blame may fall upon Herbert, changing some aspects from the books for this adaptation would have been a good idea. Perhaps die-hard fans who have read the novels can comment and enlighten me. Either way, with weak acting (minus McAvoy), poor casting, horrendous visuals and costume design, a snail’s pace and the fact that 99% of the characters are awful in a boring story that is about as full of life as the Lut Desert in Iran, it would behoove you to skip both Sci-Fi Channel miniseries altogether and go out and see Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation on the nearest IMAX screen (review coming soon).

#XFreMenApaulcalypse / #SpiceSpiceBaby / #DunkinGoNuts / #ALineInTheBland / #TheLastKingOfHotLand / #TheSandsBetween2

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