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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2010

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"Dune (Blu-ray)" - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-june-2010-dune

Synopsis

In the year 10,191,  the universe is dominated by the presence of the spice Melange which extends life, expands consciousness, and can fold space. It exists in only one place: the desert planet of Arrakis, also known as Dune. He who controls the spice, controls the universe. Will the House of Atreides or the House of Harkonnen gain control? And what about the messianic prophecy of a powerful leader who will arise from the local populace?

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2010, Color, PG 13, 137 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: VC-1
  • English DTS HD-Master Audio
  • Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Jose Ferrer, Max von Sydow, Sting
  • Directed by David Lynch
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Dune is a "love-it-or-hate-it" affair. I am of the latter camp. An ambitious, epic, utterly astonishing--and, let's just call it strange--adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel from 1965. Dune remains one of the most controversial films in the director's career. Lynch later distanced himself from the film as the critics generally hated it. The story is complex and convoluted. It has something to do with political intrigue and a planet that is home to a precious spice called Melange and gigantic sand worms that produce it. Sort of like if Shakespeare wrote Tremors and set in another universe. But despite plenty of whispered voice-overs (listening in on the thoughts of a charater while they explain what is going on), you will still struggle with the muddled plotline and quickly get lost. For me, the movie tried to fit too much story into one movie. Think of the novel as being The Lord of the Rings trilogy and putting into a 1.5 hour movie. It can be done…just not very well. Even after reading the book, this movie was hard to follow. There are, however, a lot of memorably extraordinary/bizarre images, a solid cast, and a soundtrack featuring Toto and Brian Eno.

Technical

Picture quality is better than the DVD counterpart, but far from perfect. Long shots are fuzzy and display dirt specks and scratches. Close shots are vivid in general, with pretty good detail and saturated colors. The pustules on the Barons face look delightfully gross. Shadows are fairly black, but not inky black. There are continuity issues, such as the mélange tinted eyes; one moment a character has them tinted blue and a few moments later the eyes are un-colored. Dialog is clear and well centered, though I heard audible distortion during the battle sequences in my surrounds.

Extras

Extended footage, deleted scenes, and featurettes.