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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 (466 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 172.89
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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$ 280.48

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Product Description

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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
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE version to see Dec 15 2003
Format:DVD
Ignore the Lynch version, cult classic though it may be--this is the true movie version of the original Dune. William Hurt plays a fantastic Duke Leto. If they had a little better funding, they could have made it a real feature film and played it in the theatres. This is a definite must see for Dune fans who are disappointed with the Lynch Dune!
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3.0 out of 5 stars just okay Feb. 22 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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. I think most of the visuals work really well even if the adaptation is a little loose.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is an amazing movie! Dec 30 2003
Format:DVD
When I first sat down to see this movie, I didn't really have much enthusiasm about it. I had never read the book, and didn't understand what the movie was supposed to be about. But that was all before the movie actually started. And as soon as the movie was over, I went and hunted down a copy of the book as quickly as possible. Dune has a very complex plot, and so reading the book helped me to understand the little twists and turns, so when I saw the movie a second time, it was even better. But you don't have to read the book to enjoy this movie. It has amazing visual effects, and all of the actors were very good at portraying the characters. While some of the desert backdrops are obviously fake, it actually just improves the movie's grandness. Once the movie is over, it leaves you wanting more. And fortunately they did a sequel, so there is more to be had, in Children of Dune, which is based on Frank Herbert's books Dune Messiah and Children of Dune.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect portrayl of Dune Nov. 23 2003
Format:DVD
John Harrison captures all the right parts of Frank Herbert's vision, in all the right ways. This movie is far superior to David Lynch's version. This version cuts-and-pastes and just the right times, and makes up it's own mythos at just the right times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Better "Dune"... Nov. 17 2003
Format:DVD
John Harrison's adaption of Dune for the small screen acomplishes much of what David Lynch's film adaption could not. A coherent story, emphasis on the book's major dramatic conflicts, and a realistic portrayal of the evil Harkonnens. This version of the mini-series solves many of the problems the original broadcast version DVD could not. The final battle at the palace of Arakeen was given short shrift in the original broadcast but has much more impact here when shown in full, as originally intended. Some scenes containing nudity were originally edited but are now much more realistic. And I for one won't complain about seeing the lovely Barbara Kodetova in the buff! All in all this is a much more satisfying experience than the original broadcast DVD and puts even more distance between itself and the Lynch movie version. If you only buy one, buy this, and you won't regret it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars On-par with my favorite movies. Nov. 10 2003
Format:DVD
Despite my 5-star rating, there are some pretty big problems that need to be pointed out:
-it was too short
-some weak casting, especially for Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam
-considering the quality of the source material, John Harrison should be ashamed of much of the writing in especially the first episode
-the Fremen aren't portrayed correctly (clean, water-fat white people? I don't think so)
The last point doesn't really bother me, considering the circumstances, but the other three would have wiped out any chance of a perfect score if not for three main points: 1) If it were not for these bad points it would, like the book and its sequels, stand high above all others as a pinnacle of excellence of Shakespearean proportions--instead, it is forced to contend with other 5-star movies, such as Pitch Black, The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings; 2) I believe that for all its shortfalls, it really captures the spirit and essence of the novel; and 3) this DVD set includes not only a good 5-hour movie, but also a nice load of excellent special features.
The movie follows a basic sequence of increasing quality from beginning to end. In truth, if the whole thing were like the first episode, I wouldn't have such a high opinion of it. The words in the book should have been taken much more seriously than they were. But the beginning isn't all bad. On the contrary, the scenes with the Baron Harkonnen are very high quality. Ian McNeice and Matt Keeslar work perfectly together throughout the movie.
The second episode is better than the first. At this point, many people are unhappy, because it looks like everything was shot on a sound stage, which it was. Part of the problem is that the sand that was delivered to them was not the same color as what they had ordered.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 3 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great
This seems like a pretty good adaptation for the mini-series format. The figures are clearly drawn, for people who came in late. Read more
Published on May 19 2004 by wiredweird
2.0 out of 5 stars The Messiah Pit
Let's shoot for a little heresy here. Maybe the reason neither this "Dune" nor Lynch's really works is that Frank Herbert's story just isn't very good. Read more
Published on May 17 2004 by Wayne A.
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