Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Dune: Extended Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Usul Muad'Dib Atreides
Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica
Leonardo Cimino as The Baron's Doctor
Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries
José Ferrer as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV
Linda Hunt as Shadout Mapes
Freddie Jones as Thufir Hawat
Richard Jordan as Duncan Idaho
Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan
Silvana Mangano as Rev. Mother Ramallo
Everett McGill as Stilgar
Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Jack Nance as Capt. Iakin Nefud
Siân Phillips as Rev. Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
Jürgen Prochnow as Duke Leto Atreides
Paul L. Smith as The Beast Rabban
Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck
Sting as Feyd-Rautha
Dean Stockwell as Dr. Wellington Yueh
Max von Sydow as Dr. Kynes
Alicia Witt as Alia
Sean Young as Chani
Danny Corkill
Honorato Magaloni as Otheym
Judd Omen as Jamis
Molly Wryn as Harah

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes with Introduction by Raffaella De Laurentiis

Designing Dune

Special Effects

Models & Miniatures

Wardrobe Design

Photograph Gallery

Production Notes

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language (Original Theatrical)
Spanish and French Subtitles
Original Theatrical Running Time: 2 Hours 17 Minutes
Extended Version Running Time: 2 Hours 57 Minutes

Synopsis:
Dune was originally released in 1984. The following text is from the DVD cover:

"Dazzling special effects, unforgettable images and powerful performances highlight David Lynch's stunning film version of Frank Herbert's classic science fiction epic about an intergalactic warrior's messianic rise. Starring Kyle MacLachlan, José Ferrer, Max von Sydow, Oscar winner Linda Hunt and Sting, Dune is the ultimate adventure experience that goes beyond the imagination."

Dune is rated PG-13.

Mini-Review:
Back in 1984 before Dune came out, my mom bought me every Dune toy she could find for Christmas. She figured since I loved Star Wars, I would love Dune. Well, she was wrong. When I finally saw Dune, I liked the special effects and the look of the film, but absolutely hated the grotesque imagery and convoluted story. Years later I gave Dune another try and still found it to be too bizarre to be likable. However, on the urging of my college roommate, I decided to buy the Frank Herbert novel and read it. I found it to be much more entertaining and it made more sense. In 2000 I saw the Sci-Fi Channel Dune mini-series and thought it was much better telling of the story. So when this Dune: Extended Edition arrived I was hoping it added more footage that helped make the story clearer and some of the scenes less bizarre. I only got some of what I was expecting.

Ten minutes of the 40 minutes of additional footage consists of an alternate prologue. It shows concept paintings for the film as a male narrator explains the complex history of the Dune universe. It gives a little better explanation of some of the politics and factions, but otherwise it's a bit dry (no pun intended) and confusing. The film then proceeds into credits and we see David Lynch's name is replaced by Alan Smithee (the pseudonym used for any director not wanting his name attached to a movie). It's not a good sign. The male narrator continues his dialogue as he gives in-depth explanation of almost everything seen on the screen. It helps explain everything from the diamond on Dean Stockwell's head to the Fremen. However, if you have to explain that much about what's going on, there's obviously a problem. The rest of the 40 minutes of additional footage consists of little scenes spread here and there throughout the movie. Not many of them are terribly noteworthy.

Despite being a special edition of Dune, this DVD is light on the bonus features. There's no commentary and none of the actors contribute to any of the featurettes. However, what remains is decent. A few deleted scenes are introduced by Raffaella De Laurentiis who explains that there was never a 4 hour cut of the film, but they had intended to do a 6 hour version. This is followed by a few deleted scenes. One shows Paul crying for a man he has killed. Another scene shows Kyle MacLachlan as Paul offering himself as a sacrifice to the family's traitorous assistant. This is followed by him taking on Virginia Madsen who plays Princess Irulan as his wife. The other deleted scenes are less noteworthy.

The rest of the extras are featurettes discussing the design of the film, the special effects, the models and miniatures, and the wardrobe. The original artists and crew are interviewed for these pieces. It's very interesting and you begin to really appreciate the design work that went into the film. It's a shame it all had to get bogged down by a bad script.

Dune: Extended Edition is mainly for established Dune fans. It's more footage that they'll definitely want to add to their collections. And anybody that's a fan of sci-fi and hasn't seen this version of Dune will probably want to check out this DVD. It gives them the opportunity to watch both versions, but it makes little difference as far as clarity.

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