Blu-ray Review: Dune

Paul Atreides

Anyone who has ever read Frank Herbert’s novel, or any of its increasingly confusing sequels, will know that the world of Dune is a fascinating and highly perplexing one. With the release (at the time of writing, at least) of Denis Villeneuve’s version later this year, it’s likely that a whole new generation will be introduced to the desert planet of Arrakis and machinations around the availability of spice and water. Back in 1984, David Lynch had a go at adapting this complex and confounding book.

Spice Melange is the most precious and valuable substance in the universe. In the far future, four planets are competing for control of this scarce resource. However, it is only found on a barren and windswept planet which is populated by gigantic sandworms. An ancient feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen is exploited by a greedy emperor (José Ferrer), but is Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) the man to change everything?

Dune flopped on release and despite a critical reassessment during subsequent decades you can see why it remains a film even its director doesn’t like. However, adapting the book was an almost impossible task in the first place. There is simply so much going on in what is an outlandish space opera, featuring a number of familiar faces, a soundtrack from Toto, bizarre mysticism, mind-bending special effects and great costume work. It suffered from the dreaded studio scissors as it tried to squeeze the first part of an epic saga into a feature length film. Dune remains a visually audacious curiosity, which needs to be seen to be believed.

Limited edition Blu-ray content:

  • 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 – Features and 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 Anthony Masters
  • 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

Dune is released on limited-edition Blu-ray and UHD by Arrow Video on 30 August.

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