Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dune: Limited Edition – Arrow Video (4k UHD)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1984
Director: David Lynch
Writer: David Lynch
Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Sting, Patrick Stewart, Sean Young, Max von Sydow, Richard Jordan, Kenneth McMillan, Jack Nance, Paul L. Smith, Alicia Witt, Francesca Annis, Brad Dourif, Everett McGill, Dean Stockwell

Release Date: August 31st, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 136 Minutes 50 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / Dolby Vision HDR10
Rating: PG-13
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $59.95

"The year is 10,191, and four planets are embroiled in a secret plot to wrest control of the Spice Melange, the most precious substance in the universe and found only on the planet Arrakis. A feud between two powerful dynasties, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, is manipulated from afar by ruling powers that conspire to keep their grip on the spice. As the two families clash on Arrakis, Duke Atreides' son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan, in his screen debut) finds himself at the center of an intergalactic war and an ancient prophecy that could change the galaxy forever." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.75/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative."

Dune comes on a 100 GB triple layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 91.2 GB

Feature: 89.9 GB

The last time I saw Dune was in 2006 and on DVD. And though Dune was released on Blu-ray since then. I have not seen any of Dune’s Blu-ray releases. That said, within minutes of watching Arrow Video’s new 4K transfer it was like seeing the film for the first time.

Colors, image clarity, black levels and compression look solid throughout. Flesh tones are more natural than earlier releases, grain remains intact and the image looks organic.

Audio: 5/5

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a DTS-HD stereo mix in English. Both of these audio tracks sound superb, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, the score sounds robust and bass is well-represented, especially the low-frequency effects. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. 


Extras for this release are spread over two discs.

Extras on disc one (UHD) include image galleries: production stills (336 images), behind the scenes (86 images), cast portraits (262 images), production design (204 images) and poster & video art (50 images), trailer #1 (3 minutes 9 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), trailer #2 (1 minute 31 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), VHS promo (37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), three US TV spots (1 minute 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival featurette from 1983 titled Destination Dune (6 minutes 25 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), eleven deleted scenes with introduction by producer Raffaella De Laurentiis (introduction - 2 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles / deleted scenes 14 minutes 21 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles),  an archival featurette from 2005 titled Dune Costumes (4 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival featurette from 2005 titled Dune Models & Miniatures (7 minutes 3 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival featurette from 2005 titled Dune FX (6 minutes 1 second, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival featurette from 2005 titled Designing Dune (8 minutes 55 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival documentary from 2003 titled Impressions of Dune (39 minutes 39 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and two audio commentaries’, the first audio commentary is with film historian Paul M. Sammon and the second audio commentary is with Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast.

Extras on disc two (a dual layer Blu-ray) include an archival interview from 2003 with production coordinator Golda Offenheim (26 minutes 16 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview from 2008 with actor Paul Smith (8 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an archival interview with make-up effects artist Christopher Tucker (3 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with make-up effects artist Giannetto de Rossi (17 minutes 20 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), a featurette exploring the merchandise created to promote the film, featuring toy collector/producer Brian Sillman (The Toys That Made Us) titled Beyond Imagination: Merchandising Dune (22 minutes 37 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and featurette on the film’s music score, featuring interviews with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, and film music historian Tim Greiving titled Prophecy Fulfilled: Scoring Dune (24 minutes 52 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles).

Other extras include six double-sided postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, a large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor and a sixty-page perfect-bound book with cast & crew information, an essay titled David Lynch’s “Mood of Dune” written by Andrew Nette, an essay titled A Spiral of Sincerity: The Persistence of Lynch’s Dune written by Christian McCrea, an essay titled Desert Song: The Music of Arrakis written by Charlie Brigden, an essay titled Alan Splet and Sound Effects for Dune written by Ric Gentry, an interview with David Lynch titled Lynch on Lynch interview conducted by Chris Rodley, Dune Terminology and information about the restoration/transfer.


One would be hard pressed to name another director other than David Lynch who’s managed to keep his unique view of cinema while maintaining a relationship with financial backers who’ve allowed him to stay true to his vision. 

At the dawn of his career he had only directed two films, the other worldly weird Eraserhead and the critically acclaimed The Elephant Man, when he got the chance to direct Dune. And though his first two films had elements that showed he was the right person to direct Dune. Making a film like Dune with an equally strong-willed producer would forever change the course of David Lynch's career.

By the early 1970’s there were already attempts to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune. With director  Alejandro Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Dune in the mid-1970’s being the first attempt. Then there is a second adaptation that was too be directed by Ridley Scott that never materialized. The third time would be the charm, when David Lynch took on the task of adapting Dune.

Adapting a book into a film there’s always going to be those pleased with the outcome. And though in most instances criticism can-be justified. In this reviewer's opinion most of the negative criticism about David Lynch’s Dune is not justified or better yet, misplaced. With the ability to look back because of extras that provide insight into the making of a film. It’s clear that most of the faults of David Lynch’s adaptation had nothing to do with his choices and even when he made compromises to condense the running time. That said, most of his compromises provided satisfactory solutions that ultimately did not harm the story at hand.

Though there are elements in Dune that have not held up well over the years. Most notably, some of the special effects. These are easy to overlook in the grander scheme of things. There are just as many elements in Dune that look just as impressive today as they did then. Most notably, the set and costume design, and the giant sand worms.

Another area where Dune excels is its extraordinary cast that features many actors/actresses who would continue to work with David Lynch in his post Dune films. With the most surprising performance being Kyle MacLachlan (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) in the role of a christ-like character named Paul Atreides. He delivers a measured performance that perfectly sets his character apart from the rest of the characters. That said, the entire cast are all very good in their respective roles.

It's not surprising that Dune is a multilayered film, when one considers its source. There are things in Dune that I now see that eluded me when I first saw it as a teenager. It’s ultimately a film that really benefits from multiple viewings. Where most 1980’s Sci-Fi targeted a younger audience, Dune was a cerebral film that was in contrast to other films from that era.

Reportedly, Dune was the first installment of what would have been multiple films. It’s a shame Dune performed poorly at the box office and that we never got to see David Lynch expand upon his vision of Dune. Fortunately, time was on David Lynch’s Dune’s side and over the years the film has built a huge devoted following.

Arrow Video continues to deliver with their 4K UHD releases. And their Dune release is another exemplary release that comes with a rock-solid audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful extra content that, highly recommended.

4K UHD screenshots.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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