DUNE 4K BLU RAY REVIEW

Frank Herbert’s novel is a heavy weigh player in the science fiction field. I read it. Millions of others did so. Often pushed to do so by the feeling that missing it, would miss one of sci fi’s significant texts. This obviously meant then at least (and now), there would be a DUNE film. This film was never going to be an easy venture. Alejandro Jodorowsky tried it and ended up failing, albeit often cited as a dream project and one cult film fans hold as a fetish. So along came David Lynch. Fresh from the success of THE ELEPHANT MAN, with its nods to surrealism and given a dream job of helming a blockbuster. Granted an all-star cast, a mega budget and a serious of vast filming locations in Mexico.

The year is 10,191. In the vast universe is instability and disorder. Four planets are embroiled in a secret plot to wrest control of the Spice Melange from the hands of ruling powers. Melange is precious as a substance in the universe and found only on the planet Arrakis. Used to travel great distances, instantly. A feud between two of the most powerful dynasties, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, has become the pivot of violence. Both sides are manipulated from afar by ruling powers that conspire to keep their grip on the spice, murder, theft and disorder are in the ascendancy. As the two families clash on Arrakis, Duke Atreides’ son Paul (Kyle MacLauchlan) finds himself at the centre of an intergalactic war. An ancient prophecy that could change the galaxy forever.

DUNE is a flip flop film. Its very long. Its very heavy. Its very laboured in both content and its extrapolation of this exposition is often dull. On the flip side is some great use of matte painting, surrealist framing, odd depictions and clever direction of Lynch. Often many who talk of this film, mention in their comments, Herbert’s thoughts on the oil desire of the western world. That is certainly there. I would add though, he was as interested in the way politics is a multi faceted demon. That people are often saying one thing, thinking another and actioning yet another. Lynch gets this.

DISC

4K restorations are sometimes a thing of difficulty. You see the issues are that the original 1080p version and standard version are of a pretty good quality. Probably because of the studio spending so much money on it and it being considered a blockbuster. I compared this to the 1080p version and it is a stark improvement. Stark for a number of things. In particular it is those with an interest in the films sets and mattes. They have been given a better grading and the colouration on lighting is less defused.  I however, am not very much sold on the overall success on the planet scenes.

EXTRAS

So there are 3 really solid extras to crow about here. The best is film historian Paul M. Sammon commentary. Sammon likens the films power to disjointed making. He makes a lot of it. What he gets right, he gets very right. That Lynch’s choices are clever. That he build and builds within a restriction. The story had to be told and told in a heavy way, doesn’t dampen his creativity. Designing Dune featurette, might not be to everyone’s taste but the sheer work of making the sets, both in design and direction is excellently captured. Though short as it is.

Eleven deleted scenes from the film, with a 2005 introduction by Raffaella de Laurentiis could be seen as the interesting editing work as the work of the editor has been questioned often. The run time trailing to long and too broad in truth.

 

LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY CONTENTS

  • Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative
  • 60-page perfect-bound book featuring new writing on the film by Andrew Nette, Christian McCrea and Charlie Brigden, an American Cinematographer interview with sound designer Alan Splet from 1984, excerpts from an interview with the director from Chris Rodley’s book Lynch on Lynch and a Dune Terminology glossary from the original release
  • Large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor

DISC ONE – FEATURE & EXTRAS

  • High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ presentation
  • Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon
  • Brand new audio commentary by Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast
  • Impressions of Dune, a 2003 documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with star Kyle MacLachlan, producer Raffaella de Laurentiis, cinematographer Freddie Francis, editor Antony Gibbs and many others
  • Designing Dune, a 2005 featurette looking back at the work of production designer
  • Dune FX, a 2005 featurette exploring the special effects in the film
  • Dune Models & Miniatures, a 2005 featurette focusing on the model effects in the film
  • Dune Costumes, a 2005 featurette looking at the elaborate costume designs seen in the film
  • Eleven deleted scenes from the film, with a 2005 introduction by Raffaella de Laurentiis
  • Destination Dune, a 1983 featurette originally produced to promote the film at conventions and publicity events
  • Theatrical trailers and TV spots
  • Extensive image galleries, including hundreds of still photos

DISC TWO – BONUS DISC

  • Beyond Imagination: Merchandising Dune, a brand new featurette exploring the merchandise created to promote the film, featuring toy collector/producer Brian Sillman (The Toys That Made Us)
  • Prophecy Fulfilled: Scoring Dune, a brand new featurette on the film’s music score, featuring interviews with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, and film music historian Tim Greiving
  • Brand new interview with make-up effects artist Giannetto de Rossi, filmed in 2020
  • Archive interview with production coordinator Golda Offenheim, filmed in 2003
  • Archive interview with star Paul Smith, filmed in 2008
  • Archive interview with make-up effects artist Christopher Tucker

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