When it comes to fantasy, people tend to divide the genre into two segments: high fantasy and low fantasy.

High fantasy refers to stories set on worlds other than Earth, and one of the first that probably comes to your mind, whether you think of movies or literature, is “The Lord of the Rings” by JRR Tolkein. On the other hand, low fantasy includes stories set on Earth. Again, a simple example transcending both the movie and the books would be JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.

In science fiction, we have “hard” and “soft” varieties, which divide the genre in very different ways. As far as I know, there is no equivalent term for “high fantasy” when it comes to science fiction.

However, for the sake of argument, I would define “high science fiction” as stories set in universes where there is no Earth, or so far into the future that Earth has no bearing. on the plot and its characters.

In the movie, we have very little fantasy, with the aforementioned “Lord of the Rings” being a major exception. We have more of it on TV, with “Game of Thrones” and “The Wheel of Time”.

Even though we include both film and television, we have even less high sci-fi, with the “Pitch Black” franchise starring Vin Diesel being one of the few examples I could find.

You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, but all these thoughts were going through my head on my way home from Tallahassee last weekend after watching director Denis Villeneuve’s extremely well-done adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” a wonderful example of high science fiction.

The original novel, published in 1965, is widely regarded as one of the best science fiction novels ever written, and it influenced many of the creators who followed, including George Lucas as he was first developing ” Star Wars “.

In 1984, director David Lynch developed his own movie “Dune,” and the result – a film he largely reneged on because the studio refused to give him control of the final cut – was a glorious mess of a film that always holds a special place. in my heart decades later. There was also a TV miniseries produced for the SyFy network in 2000 that I never saw.

However, there is no doubt that the new film, which runs for two and a half hours and adapts about half of the novel, will remain the definitive film version. Fortunately, just hours before I sat down to write this review, Warner Bros. and its production partner Legendary Pictures, have announced that they are moving forward with the second film, which will be released in October 2023.

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