The recent release of Matrix: Reloaded brought forth the philosophical questioning of free choice vs. predetermination. There have been numerous films which poised these same questions. One of these is the Dune and Children of Dune mini-series (the latter of which was released on DVD today). Both were adapted from a trilogy of books, Dune (adapted into Dune: miniseries), Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune (both adapted into Children of Dune: miniseries) by Frank Herbert.
This epic story is about Paul Maud’Dib Atreides and his prescient abilities. Throughout the story, there is the constant question of whether or not if having those prescient abilities trapped Paul to a predetermined path or whether or not if he had the ability to change that path. However, free choice philosophy wasn’t the only appealing aspect of this mini-series (I speak of both when I use this term), as the universe of Dune is as rich and involving as any scifi universe (ie: Star Wars). The miniseries also involves philosophical questions of the combination of religion and government, how they intertwine and how they shouldn’t intertwine.
Along the lines of the accuracy of adaptation from book to film, it’s impossible to ever get an exact duplicate of book to film, but this mini-series as a whole is probably as accurate as they come. There are of course differentiations as films require a certain amount of story pacing and continuity that comes off entirely differently than books do. I actually slightly prefer the mini-series to the books itself. Some how to me all the characters (with the exception of Chani’s character prior to Children of Dune – miniseries) seemed to be more human and warmer in the miniseries than in the book. Also the director’s cinematography of the story seemed to give it a certain feeling that is indescribably amazing (especially the end of part 1 of Children of Dune: miniseries, which is the adaptation of Dune Messiah).
It isn’t necessary to watch Dune prior to seeing Children of Dune (which is probably the more interesting of the two), but it certainly helps as there are a lot of tie-ins to the original (some that are incredibly touching – ie: Alia at the end of COD). Overall, the entire epic story is an interesting one for philosophical reasonings, political intrigues, and religious issues.
Oh and did I forget to mention the great special effects in Children of Dune? (not Matrix: Reloaded amazing, but definitely comparable to other big-screen titles) Oh, the soundtrack is also amazing. Enough said.