DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Dune / Extended Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve Tannehill, Feb 9, 2006.

Tags:
  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 1997
    Messages:
    5,550
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    DFW
    Real Name:
    Steve Tannehill
    XenForo Template  Dune / Extended Edition Studio: Universal Studios Home Video Year: 1984 (2006 Release) Rated: PG-13/Unrated Aspect Ratio: 2.35x1, enhanced for 16x9 displays Audio: English DD 5.1; French DD 2.0 (Theatrical Version Only) Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; French and Spanish Subtitles Time: 2:16:19 (Theatrical Version); 2:56:48 (Extended Edition) Disc Format: DS/DL (Dreaded DVD-18) Case Style: Keep Case with Metal Shell The Feature: To the tune of "Africa" by Dune composers Toto: I hear the thumpers echoing tonight Covering the whispers of the silent conversations The Emperor arrives 12:30 flight The moons reflect the ships that fold themselves from distant destinations I watched a disc along the way Hoping to understand its cult appeal and popularity I turn to you as if to say What the heck is it that just watched? It's going to take a lot to write this Dune review There's little that a hundred movie critics could ever do I ride the worms down in Arrakis (I ride the worms) Gonna take some time to get some images from my mind. I'm going to wake up in the night Seeing pus-faced Barons suck the blood from poor young men in dungarees I know that I must do what's right And watch the extended edition directed in name only by Alan Smithee I seek to understand this film, frightened of this thing that I'll become It's going to take a lot to write this Dune review It may just be easier to write and sing a tune I ride the worms down in Arrakis (I ride the worms) Perhaps the extended edition will have more of Sting in the jock... (With apologies to Toto. And Sting.) My friends who know the Dune books and movies far better than I say that the book was (1) very good, and (2) extremely difficult to translate to film. Although the first narrated segment of the movie is lifted almost verbatim from the book, it begins to diverge after that. The basic story of Dune is pretty clear: everyone wants control of the desert planet Arrakis (a.k.a. Dune) because it is the only place in the galaxy where a certain spice can be mined; this is a special spice, which expands minds and horizons. The indigenous people of Arrakis are few and far between--or are they? They have a prophecy predicting a savior, who may have just arrived as the son of the latest administrators of Dune, Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan). Before the House of Atreides has much of a chance to control Dune, their arch enemy attacks, and Paul and his mother are cast out in the desert. There, the secrets of Dune begin to unravel. Normally, I am not stumped about what to say regarding a movie. Dune poses some problems for me. First, I know it is popular among its fans. I don't want a lynch mob to track me down if I say something flippant and offend them. At the same time, I watched this movie and more than once caught myself saying "What the hell were they thinking?" I see Patrick Stewart running to battle carrying a dog and just start to giggle. I see Paul and his buddies riding the worms, looking at each other with smiles on their faces, and think this would make a great movie titled Wormback Mountain. But then I see the craftsmanship and imagination that went into the production and story, and I do appreciate it. Then there is the theatrical cut and the extended cut to consider. I will give the extended cut a little credit: with an additional 40 minutes, the story begins to make a little more sense. It also actually trims bits of violence (I understand that this cut was prepared for television). Less is more in this case: that scene with the Baron sucking the blood is guaranteed to turn off a number of viewers (but it still survives in the PG-13 theatrical cut). But David Lynch reportedly prepared this extended cut under duress, and objected to the new introduction which used production drawings and a different narrator, instead of the disembodied head of the Emperor's daughter. For that reason, Lynch was permitted to change his name to Alan Smithee as director and to Judas Booth as screenwriter. Well, Lynch may not like the extended cut of his movie, but my friends who know the story and have seen both believe the extended version is the better film. I also understand that the TV miniseries version with William Hurt was very good. I'll take their word on that, and would love to hear your opinions. But as for me... I would rather sing a song. By the way, the disc comes in a rather nice plastic case with metal shell. It looks sharp. And, unfortunately, the disc is DVD-18, manufactured in Mexico. Many people have reported playback problems with this disc, although I had none on the NeuNeo DVD player. I would really like to hear what Universal has to say about these (and other similar) problems, and will query the PR reps in that regard. My advice if you risk the purchase of this disc: keep your receipt and watch both versions of the movie before your exchange period expires. Or if you want to just see the movie, rent it--I understand rental copies (at Netflix in particular) are split across 2 DVD-9. The Feature: 2.5 / 5    Video: It does not look like much work has gone into cleaning up this film; while the 2.35x1, 16x9-enhanced image is generally good, there is quite a bit of dirt evident. The movie is set at a variety of locations; dirty, dark planets; tinted, hot deserts; warm, ornate interiors. Colors and contrast are fine, although it tends to be a little dark. While there is plenty of detail in the lavish costumes, there is still a little blurriness in the occasional text subtitles that appear on-screen. The extended edition seems to be taken from a different source--I did not notice as much dirt. Video: 3.5 / 5     Sound: The sound quality is fine for a movie of 1984 vintage. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix occasionally opens up to use the surround channels, but most sound is focused on the front. There is some decent bass response with the thumpers. Sound: 3.5 / 5     Extras: The theatrical cut of Dune leaves room for a number of extras, including:
  2. Deleted Scenes (17:17), some of which appeared in one form or another in the extended edition of the film. These are introduced by producer Raffaella De Laurentiis.
  3. Designing Dune (8:54) about the international art department.
  4. Special Effects are covered in a 6:01 featurette with interviews ranging from Kit West to Trevor Wood and more. Lots of explosions and black smoke. Wire work (I sure didn't see the wires, did you?) The fighting robot.
  5. A featurette on models and miniatures (7:02) including interviews with special effects coordinator Charles L. Finance, production coordinator Golda Offenheim, foreground miniatures specialist Emilio Ruiz del Rio, and others. Pretty standard stuff, but lots of photos from the making-of, and some composite shots that are rather cool...until Raffaella De Laurentiis starts to talk about the worms.
  6. A featurette on costume design (4:50) including interviews with costume designer Bob Ringwood, cutter Debbie Phipps, and others. OMG, Sting's winged jock strap scene was originally slated to be nude! Considering how important the costumes are in Dune, this is a fascinating and far-too-short feature.
  7. Over 100 still images that you can either let play automatically, or track through with your remote.
  8. 11 pages of production notes. We learn, apparently, that Frank Herbert was "overjoyed" with the rough cut he saw of Dune. The package also includes an insert with a glossary of terms. Extras: 4 / 5     In Conclusion: Dune to me is a mixed bag: I get the feeling that I need to read the book to fully appreciate the movie. As far as DVD's go, I like the idea of including two versions of a movie, and the supplements are good--but the use of DVD-18 and the number of documented problems with this disc in particular make it hard to recommend. Buyer beware. Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5     In Current Release
    Display calibrated by Steve Martin at http://www.lionav.com/
  9.  
  10. Matt Czyz

    Matt Czyz Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Messages:
    902
    Likes Received:
    0


    Thanks for the review, Steve. Honestly, I was under the impression that the extended version was pretty much reviled universally (like the "Love Conquers All" version of Brazil). I found the TV version okay, but dreadfully dull (and I fell asleep twice slogging my way through its sequel Children of Dune). I've been wanting to own Dune on DVD ever since I got my dvd player so long ago, but have held off on purchasing the crummy version that's now been superceded by this one. I don't plan on making the change to HD-DVD/Blu-Ray for a long time, so this version will have to do, even though the image could use the grand restoration the visuals deserve.
     
  11. PatW

    PatW Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Messages:
    1,586
    Likes Received:
    16
    Real Name:
    Patricia
    Good review. Myself, I prefer the made for tv version of Dune and it's Sequel. It was more understandable for instance to my friends. I had the good luck of reading the whole Dune series before I watched the movie, so I never had a problem understanding it. I just found it choppy and funny enough prefer the acting in the tv version. But I will give the extended edition a whirl and see if my opinion has changed.
     
  12. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 1999
    Messages:
    1,175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, though I would normally never sanction the major re-editing of a film without the director's input, I have always given the preference edge to the TV edit of DUNE (glaringly unfinished effects work aside) because, quite frankly, DUNE requires a great deal more breathing room to convey the intricacies of its plot than a slightly-over-2-hours running time (a la the theatrical cut) can provide. In effect, the TV verison feels much less like a Cliff's Notes primer of Herbert's original novel.
     
  13. Norman Matthews

    Norman Matthews Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2001
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    0
    Should have gone with a capital L. [​IMG]
     
  14. richardWI

    richardWI Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    0


    Sigh. Lynch fans are cool. It's the Whedonites you should fear. [​IMG]
     
  15. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2000
    Messages:
    792
    Likes Received:
    0

    Your song lacked meter and rhyme; nonetheless, I applaud you for your effort!

    (fricking hilarious, Steve, seriously)
     
  16. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 1997
    Messages:
    5,550
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    DFW
    Real Name:
    Steve Tannehill
    Actually, the meter is there (barely). If you want me to sing it, I'll see if I can get a spot on HTF Radio. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the comments!

    - Steve
     
  17. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2000
    Messages:
    792
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a bit skeptical of the "distant destinations" line. [​IMG]

    At any rate, you're to be applauded for sloughing through the disk, even if you didn't "get it", from a rabid fan perspective.

    Personally, I love the flick, flawed as it is, in a complex mixture of appreciation for all the eclectic detail that went into the sets, for the performances (some of which bordered on genius, like Brad Dourif's Piter), and for the pure cheese factor which would make them fodder for quotes among friends ("I am the Shadout Mapes. I am... the housekeeper!") and even by the bots on MST3K for years afterward ("I will kill him!").

    It's killing me to wait for this on HD. Must... remain... strong...
     
  18. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,740
    Likes Received:
    129
    Steve, nice review. Though I loved Frank Herbert's novel tremendously (first read it way back in 1966 or so), this film left me cold. And the soundtrack is lame. I love David Lynch, too. Here, however, we're talking about missed opportunities. A jumbled mess.
     
  19. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Messages:
    6,144
    Likes Received:
    1,034
    Real Name:
    Sam Favate


    That was my thought as a lifelong science fiction fan when I saw the film in 1984. I've come to appreciate it more since then, but it's not the great film it should have been. I remember thinking "Lynch turned down directing Return of the Jedi for this?"
     
  20. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Messages:
    1,871
    Likes Received:
    204


    With DUNE, Lynch at least had the ability to impart some of his signature style and "voice" on the project. Do you think a Lynch-directed RETURN OF THE JEDI would've played or looked even the slightest bit like a David Lynch film? Flawed though it may be, DUNE is unmistakably Lynchian. I completely understand why he'd chose to make DUNE over RETURN OF THE JEDI.

    Vincent
     
  21. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    26,467
    Likes Received:
    3,683
    Location:
    The basement of the FBI building
    Yeah, I think 'creative differences' would have forced Lynch to leave Return Of The Jedi if he had been hired as the director. [​IMG]

    And as much as I love Lynch, I never would want him to have been the director of ROTJ. As Vincent said, it wouldn't have been a Lynch movie. Or if it had been a Lynch movie then it wouldn't have been a Star Wars movie.
     
  22. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 1997
    Messages:
    5,550
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    DFW
    Real Name:
    Steve Tannehill
    Can you imagine backwards-talking midgets in place of the Ewoks?

    - Steve
     
  23. David (C)

    David (C) Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2005
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    0
    That statement is not entirely accurate. Universal did offer David Lynch the opportunity to participate in the preparation of the TV version and he declined.

    When shown what Universal had done to his already “redhead freckle faced step child” Lynch had his name removed.

     
  24. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2000
    Messages:
    1,713
    Likes Received:
    7
    IF youre into ripping, it is very easy to take out the stupid prologue of 9:42m, and replace it with the
     
  25. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,834
    Likes Received:
    3
    Nice review, Steve - I've never seen the TV cut until now, so I don't have all the baggage that others do re: that version.

    One thing I would mention in the extended cut is the improved sonic quality of the dialogue in the footage exclusive to that version - it doesn't have an ADR quality, it just sounds richer than the dialogue from the thetarical cut footage. It's true that a creative person could combine footage from the two (not advocating, BTW) to create a fuller version. Sting's role as Feyd doesn't improve.

    In the short term, ignore the damned prologue and it's a pretty good cut, although the scene between the Baron & the Lady Jessica seems awkward when replacing "spittle" footage with alternate footage, but still having the remnants at the end of it.

    The Toto soundtrack has always been a sore point with me, along the lines of detractors of Georgio Moroeder's soundtrack for Metropolis (which, hypocritically speaking, I enjoyed).

    Worthwhile on my 30" 16:9 TV, no problems on my main system, but some lockups on my PC.
     
  26. CoreyII

    CoreyII Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 15, 1999
    Messages:
    474
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the review Steve. Now that I know the picture quality isn't all that great and some have been having problems with the disc, I may pick this up used or hopefully catch it at a lower price.

    I really dig Dune. I know for many it is an acquired taste. I've always felt that one of the reasons the film never peformed well at the box office is because the bigwigs at Universal were trying to promote this film as Star Wars. Of course Frank Herbert's masterpiece is radically diferent from Uncle George's immortal classic.
     
  27. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,536
    Likes Received:
    326
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    [rant]He who controls the Spice, controls the universe! [/rant]

    Ah Dune, my number one guilty favorite film. Jack Briggs has Zardoz and I have Dune, although Jack's a lot kinder to Dune than I am of Zardoz, sorry Jack. [​IMG] Dune, a film almost everyone hates, even the people who made it. I doubt David Lynch has seen the film since 1984. Who cares? I really don't. I love the theatrical edition and I like the 'Smithee' edition. And the PQ and sound of this new R1 edition is the best I've seen and heard so far, it'll do nicely until I buy the hi-def edition sometime in 2010. [​IMG]

    One naggingly annoying thing about the extended edition, not sure if anyone's brought this up before, the continuous looping of Toto's music score over and over again in the background. Music where there shouldn't be any music, or the wrong music in the wrong place, e.g. the climactic duel between Paul and Feyd Rautha. I doubt there's a minute without music in the entire 177min running time! Does get annoying after a while. I really should edit my own 'Smithee' edition one of these days. [​IMG]
     
  28. Torgny Nilsson

    Torgny Nilsson Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1
    I loved the book but disliked this movie. In fact, I thought it was so bad that it made me avoid the later TV miniseries on the assumption that it would be just as bad, or worse.

    But I stumbled across the miniseries and its sequel during a rebroadcast and was transfixed. Absent a Peter Jackson type treatment of the book, I don't think the miniseries and its sequel can be topped.

    So if anyone loves the book but hates this movie, check out both of the miniseries. But skip this movie unless you are a rabid Lynch fan.
     

Share This Page