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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!
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...
Published on April 6 2001 by Enterprise Michael

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not as good
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.
Published on July 27 2003


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic science fiction, Jan. 15 2004
By 
Mark T. Matranga (Elk Grove, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
L. Varnau "nerff20" (Indy) - See all my reviews
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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
This review is from: Frank Hubert's Dune (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
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
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
By 
wiredweird "wiredweird" (Earth, or somewhere nearby) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dune [Import] (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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3.0 out of 5 stars An epic with some problems, April 1 2004
By 
S. Lawrenz "Lendorien" (Milwaukee, WI) - See all my reviews
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Synopsis:
In the far future, Duke Leo Atreides, his concubine and his son Paul travel to administer the planet known as Arrakis (or Dune), the source of a substance known as Spice. Spice is the lifeblood of the Human Empire, lengthening life and making interstellar travel possible. But betrayal by a member of the family's court and a powerplay by the corrupt Baron Harkonan results in the death of Duke Leo and force Paul and his mother to take refuge deep in the deserts of Arrakis. From there, they begin a campaign to fight back and gain revenge. But there is more going on than mere politics, for there is a prophecy of the rise of a messiah type figure, and Paul has somehow managed to fit into the center of it.
About the Miniseries:
Frank Herbert's Dune is based on a book by Frank Herbert, published in the 1970's. It has become a classic and easily one of the most unique works of Science-fiction in the past 30 years. Based on the book, this miniseries isn't the first time it has been rendered on screen. The last was in a film production in 1984 that many hard core fans of the Dune mythos have a tendency to dislike because it plays a little more fast and loose with the story than most would have like.
Produced by the Sci-fi Channel, this 4 hour and 20 minute miniseries was an attempt to more accurately bring the book to life.
"Frank Herbert's Dune" has a star studded cast, including, Academy Award winner William Hurt (as Duke Leo Atreidies), Ian Mcniece (as Baron Harkonan), and Uwe Ochsenknect (as Stilgar). It is written and directed by veteran TV director John Harrison and boasts the talents of a cinematographer and a costume designer that were both Academy Award winners.
In many ways, "Frank Herbert's Dune is an epic production. The visuals are usually quite spectacular and the set design easily manages to look futuristic and grand. It's clear that a lot of attention to detail was put into them. These sets are often enhanced with computer generated imagery, like Ornithopters, cityscapes and the like. It usually works quite well, usually providing the film with an epic and polished feel.
Likewise, the costuming is excellent. With a flair for an epic aristocratic feel, it manages to look practical, but imaginative enough to make it believable for some far future civilization. My only complaint is that the stil-suits (suits designed to save and recycle the body's perspiration for use in the desert) aren't very exciting to look at. As easily one of the neatest inventions of the Dune universe, it would have been nice to see them done with a little more flair.
Unfortunately, despite the star-studded production and acting team, and the excellent set and costume design, this miniseries ends up falling a little flat.
The acting is one place where this obvious. Consisting of a cast of TV and stage actors, occasionally an actor's performance will make you cringe. P.H Moriarty (as Gurney Halleck) is the worst of these, managing to be so stagy and forced in almost all of his scenes as to hurt the performances of the actors who played with him. It's a shame because he plays a somewhat major role.
Another area, camera direction, also suffers. Despite having a Oscar winning cinematographer like Vttorio Storaro on staff, the cinematography is marred by the poor and unimaginative camera direction so common in made for TV productions. The film shots are usually fairly simple in their design and they tend to last a little longer than necessary, especially where scenery is concerned. This helps to lower the quality of the production and slow down the film altogether.
In the same respect, editing is almost always the inevitable downfall of most miniseries. With time requirements forcing a production to be a certain length, you often end up with something that could have fit into three hours, being stretched into four. That's how Dune feels. There are plenty of sequences that should have been cut to make the production flow better. This is especially true once you get to the middle of the series.
Overall, Dune drags badly in points, suffers from spotty acting and poor film direction, but it manages to maintain the integrity of Frank Herbert's vision overall. It has some great moments, and can be a fun watch, if you have the patience to sit through it all.
About the DVD:
Frank Herbert's Dune comes in a double door hard case on two DVDs. The film is presented in 1.77:1 widescreen format and Dolby Surround Sound. It has only one audio track, in English and no subtitles.
The Picture and sound for this release are pretty good. The video is quite clear with only a few noticeable digital artifacts on high resolution screens. Likewise, the sound transfer sounds excellent.
This DVD release does have special features including, a 25 minute "behind the scenes" featurette, a written treatise on the cinematography in Dune (by Vittorio Storaro), a gallery of sketches and stills, and a selected of cast and crew information page.
The best of these features, is of course, the Behind the Scenes Featurette. While it's not the best of these types of things that I've seen, it's a good overview of the production and the story for those who don't know anything about it and it contains quite a few interesting notes about why certain things were done a certain way.
The written treatise is something of a let down. I have no idea why they chose to place a series of written screens on a DVD in this fashion instead of something more imaginative like a narrated series of still shots. It's interesting, but most people will not bother to read it. People don't buy DVD's to read books.
Bottom Line:
A decent, occasionally spotty miniseries on a low frill DVD release. 3 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great treatment for the first book of the sci fi trilogy., March 25 2004
By 
Jason P. Gold (Long Beach, CA) - See all my reviews
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Frank Herebert's Dune trilogy is as huge to science fiction as The Lord of the Rings is to fantasy, and is second in the scope of its vision only to Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The first book was turned into a movie and this miniseries. The miniseries is, in this reviewer's opinion, better than the original movie. The story takes place in a galactic empire where planetary systems are controlled by three groups: the royal houses, the religous priests, and the spacing guild, which makes interstellar travel possible.
The story takes place on Arakis, the desert planet also known as Dune. One of the lifeforms on the planet is the enormous "worm." Full grown worms are the size of an airport terminal, and will easily devour anything smaller than a Boeing 747. Worms live in the desert and produce "spice." Spice is a halucinogen which is necessary for the spiritual powers of the prieshood, intersteller transportation, and political control. It is the most valuable commodity in the galaxy and is only produced on Arakis.
The Emperor sees the House Atreides as a threat to his control of the empire because of Duke Leto Atreides popularity amoungst the other royal houses. Rather than get his hands dirty, the Emperor replaces House Harkonnen's control of the planet Dune with House Atreides, and plots to have the Harkonnens kill the Duke Leto Atreides, his only son and concubine, and reassume control of Dune. The plan almost succeeds, but the the Duke's son, Paul, and concubine, Lady Jessica, escape to the deep desert. Under the influence of Spice, Paul (who is now the new duke) becomes a messsiah to the desert denisens of the planet, and leads them in rebellion, retaking control of Arakis, and seizing control of the entire empire.
My recollection of the cinematic version was that it was too compressed to get the story line of the book, almost as bad as my summary above, and was too comic-bookish for the subject matter. Dune certainly has parallels to both Lawrence of Arabia and to the real world politics of oil/religion in the middle east. It deserves better treatment than it got in the big screen version. The TV miniseries fixes these problems simply by having the time to present the story, and treating the material with a more matter of fact rendition.
But where the cinematic version had the big screen, the miniseries fails because the material is too big for the small screen. The sets and costumes are magnificent. The production values are as good as I have seen on TV. But the scope and grandeur of Dune is lost on a 27" TV screen.
The other problems are that the acting is dry and unemotional, and some of the special effects have been skimped on. You never get to like the protagonists. Given these limitations, it is, in my opinion, the better version in that you can follow the story and see what Frank Herbert imagined.
I highly recommend the DVD over the VHS because the quality of the video is significantly better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Film..., Feb. 24 2004
By 
I have never read the dune books, but having viewed this film, I think I may invest the time. I like the story very much, but to tell you the truth, untill I read the books and am able to compare them with the film, I have to say that the quality of the film appeals more to me than the story. That's not to say that I "dislike" the story- I simply find it a little too jaded in regard to the suggested opinion of human nature. That being said, I do not think that human beings are absolutley perfect, nor do I see the world through rose colored glasses; however, I AM of a more optimistic mind- I think humankind is capable of far deeper righteousness than the film's story suggests. Also, I find the perverse behavior of the "Harkonnen" House very difficult to watch. Nevertheless, overall, the film thrills me from begining to end as a masterpiece of cinematography, and artistic performances.
The relationship between Duke Leto and Jessica, and their personal history and how it relates to and shapes the plot of the entire "Dune" story is incredibly intriguing. I guess if I had one wish from the film, it would be that MUCH more time had been devoted to THEIR story, and the strange beauty of their relationship, and the woman who is called "wife".... having been called "wife" to a man for almost 30 years now, myself, it appeals to me on a very personal level... and so may it to you who are thinking of buying this film. If Dune is the 'stuff' that thrills you, you are in for a treat if you make the wise decision to buy this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi Spce Opera At It's Best, Jan. 3 2004
What I'm about to say may be anathema to lovers of Hebert's Dune books, but I liked this mini-series more than the book! In fact, I've never been able to get through any of the Dune books. I've owned several copies over the years and tried to slog my way through, but to no avail. This mini-series, however, was fantastic on an epic scale. Having seen the badly done 80s movie, I was intrigued with the idea of the Sci-Fi Channel taking one the revered sci-fi space operas and turning it into a lavish mini-series (it's a shame the Sci-Fi Channel chooses to produce mostly B-movie garbage instead of great sci-fi like this). The casting is both a strength and a weakness for the movie. William Hurt as Duke Leto Atreides and Ian McNeice as Baron Harkonnen are perfect; however, Alec Newman as Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib and Saskia Reeves as Lady Jessica are bland at best, which is a shame since they are the center of so much of the story. As to the production, it was lavish and beautiful -- definitely some of the best to grace television in a long, long time. I wish I could say that seeing this mini-series made me dive right into the books, but it's just not the case. This is rare for me to say, but in this case the movie was better than the book.
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