My Original Review of D:HA on

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My Original Review of D:HA on

Postby The_Preacher » 18 Nov 2009 14:58

Just reminiscing a bit of late and stumbled across my original review from almost 10 years ago! In hindsight, I think I was far too kind and gave it 2 stars out of 5. If I had to do it again, it'd be a 0 out of 5. And I never did read what any more prequels, sequels, what has one. Nor will I ever!

Surface Scratch Gives No Buzz, Dec 13 1999
By ****** ****(Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews

Ce commentaire est de: Dune: House Atreides (Audio Cassette)
It was at the young and impressionable age of 18 that I first encountered the genius that was Frank Herbert. And while I must admit that it was the miserable excuse of the movie version of "Dune" (why twisted, macabre and sensationalistic David Lynch was chosen for the virtually insurmountable privilege of converting this unquestionable masterpiece to visual media when the likes of Kubrick, Scott and even James Cameron could have been had remains to me one of the greatest mysteries in the history of cinema, especially given the fact that Frank Herbert himself was a consultant during filming - heart plugs! a sound gun for Pete's sake! Head-shaking, mind-boggling!) which opened my mind to the series, I can not bemoan it as the catalyst. The day after watching the film for the first time I went out and purchased what was then the entire series (Dune - God Emperor) which I proceeded to devour over the next several days and sleepless nights. It's effect was inspiring, life-changing, mind-expanding and indelible. It forever changed my view of our species, both our history and our future.
I have since re-read the original four books at least four times (I've given the first one six reads, not counting the multitude of times having casually picked it up and flipped to a chapter for a quick stroll) and the entire series at least three times. Each time the effect on me is inescapable: I'm buzzed... my head spins. It defies explanation.

Attempts at describing the works themselves to the unfamiliar are equally elusive, especially given, forgive the gross generalization, most people's attitude towards the genre. "But it's not really sci-fi", I would say... "it's social and politcal commentary, philosophy and "humanism", body/mind focus and control to the height of Eastern philosophy and teachings and beyond; it's millennia-long vision of the survival of our species by manipulating the masses through religion and the necessity of an all-powerful, self-sacrificing, Machiavellian visionary with the strength of character and un-wavering confidence to make the decisions that will ensure our future".

Unfortunately, I found "Dune: House Atreides" to be seriously lacking in most if not all of the driving force of Frank Herbert's writing. Whereas his story telling appeared to me to be his true beliefs and personal philosophy, this prequel is simply a history lesson told as an adventure story. Apart from lack of underlying philosophical theme, the key missing element has to be the trademark Herbert intensity during inter-character encounters. He had a way of subtly conveying the gravity and seriousness of a moment in the way his characters could read even the slightest nuances of an adversary's behaviour. Several key scenes leap to mind: the Atreides formal dinner upon their arrival at Carthag (thankfully omitted from the movie); the initial meeting of the conspirators involving Scytale in Dune Messiah; any encounter with the God Emperor; the list is almost inexhaustible.

With all due respect to the collaborators and their respective individual achievements, Frank Herbert was a brilliant visionary and literary master whose works and style may never be duplicated. To do so would be a massive undertaking, near impossible, accomplished only by a true adept. In he end, "DUNE: House Atreides" is a history lesson, it's Herbert's characters without the Herbert edge. As a fan of the story, I was glad for the chance to revisit old friends and learn more about the events leading to Muad'Dib, Leto II and, eventually, "Rakis" and the Honored Matres. And as such I look forward to the next two, strictly out of historical fascination. But I beseech Brian Herbert to end it there and not attempt a sequel to Chapterhouse, unless he can find a writer who embodies the essence of his father's style and vision.
If Frank Herbert were alive today he'd be spinning in his grave if he could see what they've done to his legacy.

I bought the very first prequel on Amazon as soon as it was available. God! I wouldn't wipe me arse with that trash! Never again, says I. Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.

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Re: My Original Review of D:HA on

Postby chanilover » 25 Nov 2009 18:12

A decade of loathing. I admire your persistence.
"You and your buddies and that b*tch Mandy are nothing but a gang of lying, socially maladjusted losers." - St Hypatia of Arrakeen.