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    DVD Video - Reviews [Frank Herbert's Dune (2000)]


    Dune (2000)

    Release Date:

    Studio: Artisan
    Year: 2000
    Run Time: 295 minutes
    Rating: Not Rated
    Starring: William Hurt, Alec Newman, Barbora Kodetova, P.H. Moriarity, Julie Cox, Matt Keeslar, Giancarlo Giannini, Ian McNeice
    Directed by: John Harrison
    Produced by: David Kappes
    Written by: John Harrison
      Movie Summary: [Sci-Fi/Fantasy]

        William Hurt stars in this epic presentation of Frank Herbert's visionary masterpiece of galaxy-spinning intrigue and adventure! In the far future, the remote desert world of Dune becomes the epicenter of a spectacular struggle that will spark a revolution, fulfill an ancient prophecy and forever change the galactic balance of power.

    DVD Details
    • Widescreen (NON-anamorphic), DD 5.1, Color
    • Will include all footage not seen in America; 30-Minute Making Of; Trailers and TV Spots; Production Info; Production Stills and Sketches; Cast/Crew Biographies; DVD-ROM; "The Cinematographic Ideation of Frank Herbert's Dune," an interactive written treatise by Vittorio Storaro; 2-disc set
    See Full Disc Details...

    Reviewer: Marc Flemming [Staff]


            W ith the creation of this review arrives a new DCN milestone. This is our first review (of what I hope will be many) that was reviewed on an industrial grade Hughes-JVC $50,000 digital widescreen projector shot up on a 30 foot screen. Itís within this sort of environment that certain aspects of a DVD will shine through or falter miserably. Itís within this sort of environment that a DVD goes under the microscope and all the little blemishes become glaring disfigured defects. So how did the Sci-Fi Channelís recent big mini-series holdup under these circumstances?

    The rumor is that Frank Herbertís epic Dune literature was never given the treatment he thought it deserved. Following in the footsteps of Stephen King (the infamous author never really liked Stanley Kubrickís rendition of his novel The Shining), Herbertís sci-fi masterpiece was given the go-ahead for a television mini-series. Considering the length of the story, this format of delivery seems only fitting. Playing through three two-hour segments on the Sci-Fi Channel, Dune actually clocks in at around four-and-a-half hours in playing time.

    Iíll come out and say right away that Iíve made multiple attempts to watch the original Dune film that many folks hold dear to their hearts, but not once was I able to maintain consciousness throughout. In other words, the movie put me to sleep just about every time. So, seeing as though I was able to sit through more than four hours of this new Dune in one sitting, itís likely Iím leaning in the direction of one over the other. Quite satisfyingly, this version of Dune is quite an awesome production when considering it was made for television. Yes, itís true that in recent years either budgets or creativity have increased when it comes to creating movies for television. This is apparently true here as well. The costumes and sets alone are quite extraordinary at times. The visual computer effects are decent, but far short of state-of-the-art. The overall atmosphere of the film is very artificially conceived and it becomes apparent that the entire movie was filmed on indoor stages.

    William Hurt tops the list of actors involved on the project where he portrays the powerful head of the family, Duke Leto Atreides. Alec Newman takes on the reigns of his son and the lead role, Paul Atreides/MuadíDib. It may take some time to get used to this actor in the part, but he does a great job as a British actor to mimic the American accent. Hearing him speak in interviews will leave you further appreciating the acting job he does in Dune. Generally, the acting skills in this film are top-notch with most of the actors having British origins. Director John Harrison has roots in the land of television with some of his notable creations gracing episodes of Tales From the Crypt, Tales From the Darkside, Profiler and Kindred: The Embraced. Other major crew members (executive producers) all seemed to have ties with former Stephen King television projects.

    Now - the DVD. Unfortunately, thereís some bad news here. Artisanís press release stated the following:

    "Frank Herbert's Dune is packed with over five hours of content and special features including a 30 minute "Behind-the-Scenes" Featurette: an exclusive look at the making of Frank Herbert's Dune, an extensive photo galleries with hundreds of original stills and sketches from the creators, "The Cinematographic ideation of Frank Herbert's Dune," - an interactive written treatise by cinematographer Vittoria Storaro, 16:9 widescreen, production notes, cast and crew information, trailers and TV spots, and interactive menus... everything a true fan would want! The suggested retail price is $24.98."
    Pay particular notice to the comment that the DVD is ď16:9 widescreenĒ (anamorphic). Itís not. Even the packaging of the DVD would lead one to believe the DVD has an anamorphic transfer. Unfortunately, the closest this disc gets to an anamorphic transfer are widescreen menu screens. Otherwise, the DVD houses a letterboxed version of the film in its original aspect ratio. Thinking back to all the pretty pictures, it would have been nice to see this movie on the big screen with a few more lines of resolution. There are rumors filtering out at the moment that indicate the future releases of Dune to other regions will be NOT ONLY contain an anamorphic transfer - but offer a DTS track. Since theyíre only rumors, I wonít say much more. But, I certainly hope this isnít the case. The video is otherwise quite clean as if it were digitally recorded (and it might have been). Thereís no physical signs of film artifacts.

    The soundtrack is nothing special. The DVD contains the original Dolby Pro-Logic Surround track that we all heard via our cable or satellite networks when the movie made its debut. There wasnít much punch to it. The overall presentation might have packed a stronger wallop had it been remixed for discreet Dolby Digital (and/or DTS).

    Now Artisanís press release indicates that the 2-Disc set contains over 5 hours of content. Donít let yourself get confused. That figure includes the four-and-a-half-hour movie. The remaining time goes to a 25 minute documentary covering all aspects of the production including interviews with nearly all of the major cast members. Additionally, the director reminisces over the collective gathering of all the actors and how each came to be involved in the production. A Cast and Crew section includes notes on most of the actors in major roles. An interesting look at detailed pre-production set and costume design sketches is found in a segmented gallery. Finally, an essay entitled The Cinematographic Ideation of Frank Herbert's Dune, by Dune cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, is included. You have to be a fairly major Dune enthusiast to make it through this entire piece which consists of dozens of comments regarding the purpose and philosophies of the Dune tale and how it relates to common life and human maturity. The animated navigational screens are some of the better screens Iíve seen come out of Artisanís creative group. And Artisan usually does a pretty good job with their menus.

    Iíve had several people tell me they enjoyed the original Dune much better than this new edition, but admitted that this presentation was entertaining at the same time. Personally, I was overjoyed with the complete production often thinking that it was awfully extravagant for a made-for-television movie. Most aspects of the film were quite cool. I liked it better than the first seeing as though I was able to watch it in full. If anything, my only recommendation is to preview this title in segments rather than straight through from start to finish. Each of the three segments is quite different in theme and probably serves the viewer more appropriately if itís given the audiences full attention. After 3 hours, I found my mind jogging to other far and distant lands as I so desperately wanted the movie to end at times. But I believe I would have shared this feeling for any film that goes on for over 4 hours. Fans of Dune and Star Wars-ish sci-fi will most certainly flock to this DVD, but unfortunately there were a couple technical issues that will ultimately bring my rating of this DVD down.


    No screenshots at this time.

    Individual Ratings
    Video Audio Content Movie
    7 6 7.5 8.25
    Ratings Based on Scale of 1 - 10 (10 being Best)

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