Review for Dune (Limited Edition) [Blu-ray]
In David Lynch's adaptation of the much beloved Frank Herbert novel Dune is a vast science-fiction epic. Four planets are at odds, fighting for control over The Spice Melange, the most precious substance in the galaxy. This spice is only found in one place, the Planet Arrakis, also known as Dune.
The House Atreides and House Harkonnen are feuding over this and Duke Atreides' son Paul is part of an ancient prophecy that could lead them to the chosen one. However, is the dead planet of Arrakis, as deserted as the sands, or have they all been consumed by the deadly worms.
Dune is a film I really wanted to like. I wanted to watch it and prove all the critics wrong, but I can't. In some ways I feel that Director/Writer David Lynch really was fighting an uphill battle and one that could not achieved in a two hour film. When you consider how big the original novel is and how dense the story is I was startled by how much they were able to achieve and maybe if there had been the first of a trilogy and more time was given to develop the story and characters it would have been better. Sadly, that is not the case.
I agree with Harlan Ellison in the Bonus Features the most remarkable thing about this film is the fact that it was ever made. One of the Effects people comments that everything in the film had to be created and so unlike other films, everything, even down to the last minute thong Sting wears had be designed and created. It certainly has a visual flare and it can't be denied that the film looks amazing. It is just a shame that the surroundings of the film, the acting, horrible voice over, clumsy writing and the general film itself does not live up to all of it.
In some ways, I watched this wanting it to be like the recent Director's Cut of Heaven's Gate which seemed to have changed many minds about its worth. Sadly, that is not the case. It has been said that David Lynch hated the experience so much that he has refused any part in a 'Director's Cut' and very rarely discusses the film.
Most of the features were available elsewhere and so very little is new if you do own any of those versions. There are no other versions of the film, despite rumour of a longer cut that was made for TV. Two commentaries are fine, but both have the same issue, one that I often comment on, they are both 'Solo Commentaries'. The first one is by film historian Paul M. Sammon which is fine and the second one is by Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast. I had followed White on a few other projects and it is a shame that he didn't get any of the other people he usually collaborates on to discuss the film. Instead they both felt like someone reading IMDB Trivia Facts which is not as interesting as it could be.
Impressions of Dune is the main documentary looking at the film's creation from a number of actors and creators from the film. It is great to see how certain people came to the project and the work they put into it.
Designing Dune, Dune Models and Miniatures and Dune Costumes are smaller featurettes that look at a number of aspects of the film in detail. All are fine and they all show the great work that went into the look of the film, which as I say can't be faulted.
Eleven deleted scenes are included with an introduction by Producer Raffaella de Laurentiis and really all this does is explain that no 'Director's Cut' ever existed and though it is true that an 'assembly cut' nearly fours long exists in some capacity, it was never meant to ever be that kind of length and much like David Fincher with Alien3, it is doubtful a 'Director's Cut' by David Lynch would ever be created.
The 1983 Destination Dune featurette is the typical short Behind the Scene promo piece that most films had before the advent of the internet.
The Theatrical trailers and TV spots are fine, but really do overhype the film and lean heavily into the action which is the wrong way to go. The Image galleries are fantastic if you want to look at various aspects of the film and really highlight the visual aesthetic of the film.
A number of new features are included for this set. Beyond Imagination: Merchandising Dune is created by Brian Sillman from the Netflix show The Toys That Made Us. This is a fantastic featurette regarding how the film was merchandised and the bizarre toy line which was created.
Prophecy Fulfilled: Scoring Dune is a bizarre look at how the band Toto created the music to the film. This features interviews with Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Toto keyboardist Steve Porcaro, and film music historian Tim Greiving who are all great to listen to.
Also includes brand new 2020 interview with make-up effects artist Giannetto de Rossi, 2003 interviews with production coordinator Golda Offenheim and 2008 interview with star Paul Smith and make-up effects artist Christopher Tucker. These are all fine, though are really only for completists and not something you would watch more than once.
Dune is not a film that time has been kind to. With the upcoming release of Denis Villeneuve's version only time will tell whether this will prove that Frank Herbert's novel is still unfilmable. David Lynch tried his best to achieve this in 1984 and though he failed I can't help but commend the attempt. If you are a fan of the film, it still looks and sounds amazing and the extras certainly make it worthwhile, but if you are a fan of the novel it will likely not satisfy you.