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Dune: Special Edition Director's Cut (Widescreen) [3 Discs]

William Hurt , Alec Newman    Unrated   DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (467 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 149.02
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Dune: Special Edition Director's Cut (Widescreen) [3 Discs] + Children of Dune [2 Discs] + Dune (Widescreen)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 268.48

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It's a mixed blessing, but Frank Herbert's Dune goes a long way toward satisfying science fiction purists who scoffed at David Lynch's previous attempt to adapt Herbert's epic narrative. Ironically, director John Harrison's 288-minute TV miniseries (broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel in December 2000) offers its own share of strengths and weaknesses, which, in retrospect, emphasize the quality of Lynch's film while treating Herbert's novel with more comprehensive authority. Debate will continue as to which film is better; Lynch's extensive use of internal monologue now seems like a challenge well met, and Harrison's more conventional approach is better equipped to convey the epic scope of Herbert's interplanetary political intrigue.

This much is certain: this Dune is a sumptuous treat for the eyes, with sets and costumes that were conceived with no apparent limits of budget or creativity. In terms of architecture alone, this is one of the most impressive films in science fiction history. And although the special effects fall short of feature-film quality, writer-director Harrison (who rose from an extensive background in TV) admirably tames the sprawling narrative that pits the opposing houses of Atreides and Harkonnen in a struggle to control the lucrative market for the spice melange. This is as accurate as any Dune adaptation is likely to get (i.e., there's no need for another attempt), and even then, it can be tricky to keep track of who's doing what to whom. Unfortunately, the film's biggest flaws are the casting of a nearly comatose William Hurt as Duke Leto, and a wooden Alec Newman as the messiah-to-be, Paul Atreides. These are regrettable shortcomings, but this Dune remains altogether respectable. That Frank Herbert would be impressed is perhaps the biggest compliment one can pay. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

Owing to the differing broadcast standards of global television, the director's cut of Frank Herbert's Dune essentially combines the international versions originally broadcast in 2000. Several scenes are new to American audiences, including some brief and tasteful nudity, but the real benefit comes from scenes that clarify the politics and betrayals that arise between the houses of Atreides and Harkonnen. In his articulate and informative commentary track, writer-director John Harrison illuminates the value of these scenes, while additional DVD supplements explore the challenges of production and, most eloquently, the artistic philosophy of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, whose color strategies are outlined in interviews and an intellectual essay. And while the "Defining the Messiah" and "Science Future/Science Fiction" supplements are not directly related to the film, they place this epic production (and Frank Herbert's legacy) into a rich and meaningful perspective. Even if viewed only once, these and other features provide valuable context for a deeper appreciation of Harrison's ambitious adaptation. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic science fiction Jan. 15 2004
Format:DVD
As a TV miniseries, this version of Dune worked extremely well. As a DVD it is nice because you can watch as much of it as you like at one time - it's broken into three 90 minute "episodes." The acting is much better than average for television, and the sets and costumes are really superb. The portrayal of the primitive yet sophisticated (and beautifully spiritual) fremen culture will have you cheering for their cause. And the evil baron and emporer, as well as the weasly spicing guild nerds, provide a terrific and fun element of comedy to the production. (They sure have a lot of weird, funky hats in this universe !!)
The special effects and battle scenes do leave something to be desired, although the space scenes actually look pretty real. One star is lost for the cheesy looking battle scenes and fake looking desert mouse, and the DVD itself is pretty bare bones. Nevertheless, this DVD is worthwhile addition to your science fiction collection, especially since the price is so reasonable.
PS - I'm getting really annoyed with reviewers who compare a film to the book upon which it is based, and complain when they don't coincide exactly. When a film is "based" on a novel, it is not necessary to copy it verbatim. So, all you anally retentive Dune (and Lord of the Ring) geeks out there - lighten up already !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic sci-fi epic... June 28 2003
Format:DVD
Before "Star Wars" there was a book called "Dune." The book, written by Frank Herbert is considered a classic among many literature historians and is certainly one of the greatest sci-fi books to ever be written. It was adapted by director David Lynch in 1984 for a big-budget screen adaptation. The film was a very noble attempt and has even acquired a cult following, but it wasn't quite perfect and many "Dune" fans shunned it. Now, years later, director John Harrison has done his own adaptation of the book; a 5-hour miniseries that showed on the Sci-Fi channel in 2000. This version is more faithful to the book and, while it has many downsides, is better than the version David Lynch did. It's very thorough in its telling of Paul Atreidies' rise to power on the desert planet Arakkis, also known as Dune. While the middle chapter drags a little, the first and third do a great job of keeping the story going. The visual effects are not perfect. It is very obvious when scenes are done against a matte painting or a blue-screen. But the story and characters are very well thought out and these things can occasionally be overlooked. I would recommend this movie to any sci-fi buff. It's an epic tale told just right and acted very excellently.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional! April 6 2001
Format:DVD
I have read Frank Herbert's Dune series and waiting impatiently for it to be filmed. I got to see the David Lynch version--which Frank Herbert supposed helped create--and was stunned by its stiffness and gernerally proding story. Years later, when the director's cut was released, the movie played a lot better...but not better than this version.
This version is extraordinary. I have watched it 3 times and each time I reveal in the beauty and excellent story telling. This is the book come to life in front of you! The people contributing to the film are first rate. I enjoyed the character transistion of Paul--and this most of all made this movie click for me. Paul matured in this film version. He goes from spoiled only kid to forceful leader and hero.
This version of Dune also brings to life the book's original narrator and observer. Princess Irulan is wonderfully cast and this character's contribution to the overall story is fantastic.
I wish the makers of this version consider taking up some of the additional stories of Frank Herberts Dune--ChapterHouse was by far the most thrilling and imaginative!
I applaud SciFi channel for its original programming and willingness to take a SciFi's grand master's epic and turn it into quality visual entertainment!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! Jan. 8 2004
Format:DVD
The director's cut is great. The images are crisp and colorful, and the DTS soundtrack is excellent. But more important, I think that this version blows away the David Lynch caricature of Dune. If you are a Dune fan, this is a great and pretty faithful adaptation. Are there a couple of cheesey moments when the movie tries to show what a spice vision is like? Sure, but that is tough to do. All in all, this particular version is wonderful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not as good July 27 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Although the plot is a little easier to follow in this version, I remain a diehard fan of the original adaptation of Dune...the casting was much better in the original (this Paul Atreides was not believable to me at all), and so was the set. Yes, the Lynch version has its problems, but it still has a better overall feel than this adaptation, which disappointed me greatly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great May 19 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This seems like a pretty good adaptation for the mini-series format. The figures are clearly drawn, for people who came in late. The action is well paced, to keep people coming back. The characters are bold, and mythic, the way Herbert drew them originally.
The script-writer has taken some liberties with the story. Well, some were needed for a successful screen play. The original books were masses of subtle and interlocked detail, way too much to convey on screen. If a few points were lost in the translation, it was because the TV series is a different dramatic language than the book. A few points were enhanced, too. Irulan, for example, is much stronger on screen than I remember her in the original. Perhaps her additional presence isn't 100% authentic - if so, I consider the difference very tolerable.
There are a few points that didn't work for me. I'm not sure why the imperial soldiers wore their coloful dress uniforms into the field, for example, and the sword-vs-gun battles were a little hard to swallow. The color schemes were a bit florid, as well. Intense, ultramarine blue lighting meant "night", even when background lighting was of other color. Tangerine orange encoded the desert scenes, and so on. Some of these problems were fixed later in the series, but jarred in this set.
It's watchable entertainment, and doesn't demand too much of the viewer. It's a bit long to watch all at one sitting, but was never intended as a single endurance exercise. I won't be giving this one away, but I won't be rushing back to it, either.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
awesome movie thanks
Published 18 days ago by 2011cardar
3.0 out of 5 stars just okay
haven't seen a movie version yet that really captures the story as written in the books, but for the most part, this isn't too bad. Read more
Published 18 months ago by wendy L moore
1.0 out of 5 stars The unfortunate down side of the small screen.
The Frank Herbert novel, Dune, is something that deserved to be adapted in a format that allows for the amount of screen time that provides the detail that only a mini-series can... Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2011 by A. Kydd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great TV Adaptation Of A Wonderful Book
This is a great adaptation of Frank Herbert's book. The casting is great, the look of it is beautiful and very truthful to the book. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2010 by RobinSong
5.0 out of 5 stars A LOT TO CHEW ON BUT SATISFYING
After having sat through David Lynch's version of "Dune", I longed for something that was more in tune with, what I thought, it the whole spirit of Frank Herbert's amazing novels. Read more
Published on June 13 2009 by B. C. Whitcomb
4.0 out of 5 stars Dune
This was better that the version of 1984,but the music wasn't as good as the music from The Children of Dune. Read more
Published on March 31 2009 by Neil Eaton
3.0 out of 5 stars the other version
I am a hardcore fan of Frank Herbert's science fiction. Since other people on here have written very good reviews, I will try to keep mine short and to the point. Read more
Published on July 17 2004 by SystemStructure
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!
Great Acting,Great Script,Great Special Effects,Great Story!There are millions of Frank Herbert fans all across the world. Read more
Published on July 2 2004 by W. Matlock
5.0 out of 5 stars A LETTER 4 JOHN HARRISON
Actor Mark Hamill would made a terrific aging Moneo for 'God Emperor of Dune'. He's a memorable sci-fi icon. He can act and inexpen... well,he's not as expensive as Mr. McBeal. Read more
Published on June 24 2004 by lando
4.0 out of 5 stars Sci Fi Shakespere
There are a lot of arguments over hardcore David Lynch fans and fans of the movie compared to fans of this min series. So I am going to look at both in my review of this. Read more
Published on June 21 2004 by A. M Robertson
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