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Part One is satisfyingly rich 4.5 Stars

Warner Bros brings director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune to 4K UHD Blu-ray in a transfer that is as rich and dense as the film itself.

Dune (2021)
Released: 22 Oct 2021
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 155 min
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
Writer(s): Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
Plot: Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
IMDB rating: 8.2
MetaScore: 74

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DD, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 Hr. 35 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 1/11/2022
MSRP: $49.98

The Production: 4.5/5

One could say that in the case of adapting Frank Herbert’s massive science fiction novel Dune in dramatic form, the third time is the charm. For decades, it was long thought that Herbert’s first novel was unfilmable, and nearly confirmed with David Lynch’s attempt at a feature-length movie in 1984. The three-part miniseries that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000 benefitted from an overall running time of just over 4 ½ hours in terms of storytelling but missed the mark visually due to a low budget for television. Now, 21 years later, director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) has taken the risk of adapting the first half of the novel without pre-approval from the studio for future installments. The director, with help from talented cast and crew, brings much of Herbert’s vision to the big screen along with the dense and rich storyline. That is not to say that this adaptation is any easier to follow for those not at all familiar with the source material (such as myself) than previous adaptations, and luckily I had my wife along during every viewing providing “Cliff’s Notes” as the story unfolded, but it is not as confusing as, say, David Lynch’s adaptation.

Dune is an epic story of family houses and the politics each house plays, as well as a coming of age story for Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet, Little Women), and the over-harvesting of a planet’s resources to the point of near-extinction. Villeneuve takes his time telling the story (from a script he co-wrote with Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth), allowing us to get to know the main characters during its 2 ½ hour running time. There is a lot to take in, so much so that for newcomers, I would recommend viewing the movie once, watch the included bonus features which further introduce the characters and their motivations, then view the film for a second time.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Greig Fraser (Lion, Rogue One, The Mandalorian) shot Dune in a rather unorthodox way to achieve a very particular look by first shooting in 4.5k resolution using Arri Alexa LF IMAX and Mini LF IMAX cameras, outputting to 35mm film, then scanning that 35mm stock in 4K for post production, and completing as a 4K digital intermediate in both the 1.90:1 aspect ratio for IMAX theaters and 2.39:1 for traditional cinemas, with Dolby Vision high dynamic range for its premium traditional cinema engagements and streaming on HBO Max. Warner’s HEVC-encoded 2160p transfer is presented here in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and includes both Dolby Vision and HDR10 flavors of high dynamic range. The result is one of the best 4K UHD discs I’ve seen in a long time. The image is highly detailed, from the intricate wood carvings in the hand-to-hand combat training room, the wrinkles in Paul’s shirt, and the particles of sand and spice on the planet Arrakis. Colors have a wide gradient, bold and vivid without appearing overly saturated, often leaning towards browns and yellows once we arrive on Arrakis. It is the use of HDR (I viewed this on an LG C1 OLED display with Dolby Vision) that really place this disc well-above its Blu-ray counterpart, with deep contrast and strong shadow details that really help the many darker sequences in the film stand out. I should note that this disc was also viewed on a non-HDR 4K display, and these same darker sequences were nearly unwatchable.

Audio: 5/5

The default Dolby Atmos track (on both the UHD and Blu-ray editions) is a real treat for those who appreciate excellent sound design. This is one of the most immersive tracks I have ever heard, with sounds all around you, and LFE that will permeate your body. Hans Zimmer’s score also surrounds you from front, back, and above. Dialogue is clear and intelligible throughout, never getting lost in the mix. A lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track is included, but as expected lacks the immersive quality of the Atmos track.

Special Features: 3.5/5

The UHD disc contains no extras whatsoever, likely to achieve maximum bitrates for both video and audio. The included Blu-ray edition contains all of the special features. I do have one complaint about the packaging – both the UHD and Blu-ray discs look nearly identical in both color and design. Also confusing is how the special features are laid out on the main menu screen. Three featurettes are shown on the first menu screen, but then those featurettes are duplicated on the next screen or included in larger sections that breakout into smaller sections.

The Royal Houses (1080p; 8:12): A look at the various houses, the characters, and their motives.

The Spice Melange (1080p; 1:51): A brief explanation of the importance of spice and what it is.

The Sardauker Battle (1080p; 4:04): A look at Duncan Idaho’s big battle scene.

Filmbooks (1080p; 10:27): A more detailed look at four of the houses (House Atreides, House Harkonnen, The Bene Gesserit, The Fremen) and a reprise of The Spice Melange.

Inside Dune (1080p; 12:24): A look at three sequences from the film, including The Training Room, The Spice Harvester and a reprise of The Sardauker Battle.

Building the Ancient Future (1080p; 6:26): A look at the overall production design of the film.

My Desert, My Dune (1080p; 4:50): A look at the conceptual designs and location scouting for the film.

Constructing the Ornithopters (1080p; 5:38): The title is rather self-explanatory.

Designing the Sandworm (1080p; 5:40): The challenge of making the creatures realistic but not something out of a horror film.

Beware the Baron (1080p; 5:00): A look at the make-up and costume design that turns actor Stellan Skarsgård into Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.

Wardrobe from Another World (1080p; 2:52): A look at the movie’s costume design.

A New Soundscape (1080p; 11:12): A look at the movie’s unconventional sound design, but unfortunately presented in stereo.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code the redeem a digital copy in UHD on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 4.5/5

Dune is a story told on a massively epic scale, bringing the first half of Frank Herbert’s dense novel to the big screen in a way like never before, with part two coming in October 2023. Highly Recommended.

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Published by

Todd Erwin

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View thread (19 replies)

benbess

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Great review. Thanks. I was hoping to see some of the deleted scenes, but apparently DV wants to make it the director's cut and nothing else. Fair enough.
 

dpippel

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Thanks for the review, Todd! I'm looking forward to seeing this again without the inherent limitations of streaming.
 

dpippel

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Any movie that requires someone to provide "cliff notes" has failed in the most fundamental manner.
"Failed in the most fundamental manner?" Please. Just because Todd welcomed the input from his wife doesn't mean that "cliff notes" are necessary here. I didn't need any such assistance and thought this film was wonderful. Did you?
 

Edwin-S

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"Failed in the most fundamental manner?" Please. Just because Todd welcomed the input from his wife doesn't mean that "cliff notes" are necessary here. I didn't need any such assistance and thought this film was wonderful. Did you?
I haven't been able to.see it yet but I read the book years ago, so I should be able.to follow it. He said that he never read the book and that the film was difficult to follow; however, the "cliff notes" his wife, who has read the book, made it easier to follow.

My reasoning to say that a film that requires that is fundamentally flawed because a person who hasn't read the book should not need someone who has to explain what is going on.
 

Edwin-S

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Street date is tomorrow, so it shouldn’t be in stores today.
That would explain it. Gained a day there somewhere. 😴

I'll check again tomorrow. Has there been any announcement on what streaming service might get it? I'm thinking it might end up on Crave in Canada.
 

Malcolm R

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I'll be picking up the 3D version at some point. I've never read the book or watched any of the prior adaptations, so we'll see if I'm completely lost.
 

Jake Lipson

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I didn't need any such assistance and thought this film was wonderful. Did you?

I have neither read the books nor watched any of the previous Dune adaptations. I went to this because I like Denis Villeneuve’s other movies.

I am sure that pre-existing fans of the source material appreciated more small specific details than I did. Of course fans are going to appreciate it on a different level than newcomers. If you have a deep attachment to something, you simply come at it from a different perspective. But I did not have any problem following the basic story at all and I enjoyed the movie very much.

I look forward to seeing it again on disc.
 

Edwin-S

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I'll be picking up the 3D version at some point. I've never read the book or watched any of the prior adaptations, so we'll see if I'm completely lost.
Is there going to be a 3D release? I don't *know* why the hell they don't put the 3D version as a combo with the 4K version. It annoys me having to look at buying two separate editions of the same film.

Edit: bloody phone touch keypads.
 

Edwin-S

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Well, if I manage to score a copy then I'll see tomorrow what kind of success he has in telling the story. It will be the first blind buy disc in moths if I manage to get one.
 

Malcolm R

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Is there going to be a 3D release? I don't *know* why the hell they don't put the 3D version as a combo with the 4K version. It annoys me having to look at buying two separate editions of the same film.

Edit: bloody phone touch keypads.
Yes. This is the Amazon link, but it's being offered by most online retailers. Not likely to be found in-store though some have said these recent Warner 3D's have been found in stores in Canada.

Amazon product
 

Edwin-S

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Yes. This is the Amazon link, but it's being offered by most online retailers. Not likely to be found in-store though some have said these recent Warner 3D's have been found in stores in Canada.

Amazon product

I looked at the Canadian Amazon and Best Buy sites. Nothing listed for the 3D versions on those sites that I could find. Looks like it is a US release only.
 

Malcolm R

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There's also a 3D Steelbook in Germany:

1641874895928.png
 

JoshZ

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Great review. Thanks. I was hoping to see some of the deleted scenes, but apparently DV wants to make it the director's cut and nothing else. Fair enough.

This is only half a movie. He might want to put the deleted scenes into Part Two.
 

JohnRice

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I guess a most fundamental failure can still be one of the best movies of the year. I had no problem following it, though like any decent story, it should achieve more understanding with future viewings. No doubt Part 2 will also add to Part 1. I did read the novel, but that was almost 40 years ago. I virtually never get movies on release date, but I'm getting this one.
 

Carlo Medina

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I had never read the book and found the movie relatively easy to follow. And I enjoyed it so much I actually purchased the novel and am now starting it with the goal of finishing before the second movie comes out (I just don’t have the free reading time I used to).

I know some criticism was levied at the “filmed in dig then output to film then scanned back to dig” workflow and how that inevitably results in a resolution loss. All I can say is that on my fairly modest 65” LG C1 OLED from 9’ away, it looks fantastic. Obviously those with much better and larger viewing devices may see the resultant loss in fidelity, but with my equipment and viewing distance this ranks alongside the best 4K releases to my eyes.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Great review. Thanks. I was hoping to see some of the deleted scenes, but apparently DV wants to make it the director's cut and nothing else. Fair enough.

Oooh! Hope he really gets to do a director's cut disc release, especially if it comes w/ IMAX VAR!


I had never read the book and found the movie relatively easy to follow. And I enjoyed it so much I actually purchased the novel and am now starting it with the goal of finishing before the second movie comes out (I just don’t have the free reading time I used to).

I know some criticism was levied at the “filmed in dig then output to film then scanned back to dig” workflow and how that inevitably results in a resolution loss. All I can say is that on my fairly modest 65” LG C1 OLED from 9’ away, it looks fantastic. Obviously those with much better and larger viewing devices may see the resultant loss in fidelity, but with my equipment and viewing distance this ranks alongside the best 4K releases to my eyes.

The bigger IMAX presentations could probably have used a sharper look (at least sometimes) me thinks... but then again, maybe the softer look does suit what he's going for more, particularly the dreamy quality for the "vision" scenes/moments...

On my 120" screen (from 10-11ft distance), the HBO Max (purportedly) 4K stream look fine enough... though definitely didn't look 4K sharp. Looked more like average-ish 1080p sharpness/resolution... but then again, it was just an HBO Max stream... though that's also roughly how it appeared on the giant (100x75ft) IMAX screen in uptown Manhattan...

I also never read the book nor even seen previous incarnations before seeing this and had no real problem following it -- I did finally see the '84 Lynch version/mess afterward and will probably never see that again...

I'd say it's really no harder to follow and appreciate than say Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring IMHO -- and I was definitely a fan of LotR long before seeing that... although I'd also say some fans might dislike this Dune much like they might of PJ's LotR trilogy...

_Man_