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
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 !!
-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.Read more ›