Have you been counting down the days until you could bring the Dune DVD home? Well, the release date is finally here! And it’s no secret we love the film!
Let’s go back a bit. Dune is a book written in 1965 by Frank Herbert. It’s a sweeping epic that spans over six books to tell one of the largest stories in modern history. Similar to A Song of Ice and Fire (the basis for the Game of Thrones series), it is an epic story that has a ton of richly developed characters, stories, and locations. It’s quite a series (I happened to have read the first three books in the past year). This film brings to the screen the first half of the first book. And, in my opinion, does an incredible job of it.
This is really saying a lot. Because Dune has been attempted in the past, and it’s never really worked out. David Lynch tried in the 1980s and by all accounts, it didn’t work. It’s a mess, confusing, and widely panned. This strengthened the claim that Dune was an unfilmable movie.
In my opinion, it was a matter of technology. I think the technology simply didn’t exist yet to tell this story and get the vast world-building to come alive. Thankfully, that technology does exist today.
The Story of Dune
Dune is a complex tale with layers of politics, philosophy, and destiny all rolled into a stunning storyline. The hero of our story is Paul Atreides. Paul’s father has been named the new ruler of Arrakis – a baron, desert planet that is the source of a substance called “spice” that is the most highly valued substance in the universe. It makes one live longer. And it gives you an expanded consciousness. Paul’s father has replaced the House Harkonnen as the ruler of the planet. However, the Harkonnens have no intention to give it up.
Paul has been highly trained his entire life in a myriad of skills. He can read people, he can fight, he can think beyond what others can dream. Not to mention, he also has an inborn talent. He has the foresight to see visions of the future.
When the Harkonnens spring a surprise attack, Paul is forced to flee to the desert. There, he aims to join up with the Fremen (people of Arrakis that live in the desert) to fight the Harkonnens and bring peace to Arrakis as his father had envisioned. But destiny seems to have something even bigger planned for him.
Dune DVD Review: What I Liked and Didn’t
“Dune” is a term for the planet Arrakis itself and, as such, it serves as a character itself. This comes through in the film. At times, it seems like a living, breathing being.
There is really a lot to love on this release. The imagery is breathtaking. The scenes and the storyline really pull you into this world. The cinematography is simply perfect. And, in my opinion, the film should take home an Academy Award.
The casting is also top-notch – as are the performances. Timothee Chalamet truly shines as Paul – as does Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Paul’s mother. She gives a remarkably nuanced performance.
Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho is also a perfect fit And Stellan Skarsgård gives an unforgettable (if not unrecognizable) performance as the villainous Baron Harkonnen. It’s truly impressive.
As far as what I didn’t like… Coming from a book-reader aspect, there were a handful of characters and subplots that were missing. This is understandable. With a running time of just over 2 and a half hours, it would take about 5 hours to include every detail. They kept the very most important plots and still managed to stay true to the heart of the story. Some purest might have issues, though and I wanted to address it.
Technical Aspects on the Dune DVD
Dune was shot digitally from a 4.5K source. With that in mind, it actually had to be rendered in 4K. So there is a brilliant level of detail and clarity. Since 4K is the top of our home ability right now you simply won’t get a better image. The 1080p Blu-ray transfer looks solid. But the Ultra HD version takes it up a level in a very noticeable way. All of the cinematographic elements really come together beautifully.
Dune has a Dolby Atmos surround mix that is simply stunning. From the first scene, you hear the world of Dune coming to life. There are so many small, yet important, sound effects to create the story. And they all come through brilliantly. The score by Hans Zimmer really shines and comes through.
All of the aspects of music, dialog, and sound effects combine effectively to make an immersive experience.
What I Didn’t Like
There’s not a lot to dislike. But I do have just a couple of nit-picky things to mention.
While the cinematography is exquisite there is a tendency to transition quickly from dark to blazing bright. In 4K, this can be downright blinding. Of course, we’re in the desert so it’s fitting but be prepared for that.
Also, while the score by Hans Zimmer is wonderful, there are a few moments where it does override the dialog and effects. For the most part, this is not an issue but there are just a few moments where the balance is off.
Dune is a rare find. It’s an epic not only in the visual aspect, but it’s also an epic in the storytelling. The development of the characters, their stories, the emotions with their stories. It all blends together for what I can only call (and I don’t use this lightly) a masterpiece. They finally did true justice to a brilliant story after 50 years from its creation.
Dune DVD Review
The Dune DVD Special Features
Dune 4K UHD combo pack and Blu-ray contain the following special features:
- The Royal Houses
- Filmbooks: House Atreides
- Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
- Filmbooks: The Fremen
- Filmbooks: The Spice Melange
- Inside Dune: The Training Room
- Inside Dune: The Spice Harvester
- Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
- Building the Ancient Future
- My Desert, My Dune
- Constructing the Ornithopters
- Designing the Sandworm
- Beware the Baron
- Wardrobe from Another World
- A New Soundscape
Dune DVD contains the following special features:
- The Royal Houses
The Dune 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray, and DVD are available on January 11th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.