Dune – Extended Edition
Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras:
A Film: B
David Lynch’s sci-fi classic Dune
(1984) re-emerges in this double-edition, which marries the original theatrical
release with a littler seen television version that includes extra scenes. This second version is shrouded in some
controversy, as director Lynch removed his name from it over the inclusion of
some of this material.
Readers of Frank Herbert’s novel will
remember the author’s frequent use of character exposition through the use of
blocks of “thought” text. Lynch carried
this device over into his version of the film, a decision met with some
controversy by fans and film critics alike.
Many found it jarring to hear a character’s thoughts as he or she moved
about a scene, and Lynch’s decision to go ahead with the device is one of the
primary things that differentiate his version from the Sci-Fi Channel
mini-series released several years ago (2000) and issued on DVD by Lionsgate.
Powerful performances from Kyle MacLachlan
and Virginia Madsen lead a solid ensemble cast that also includes the great Max
Von Sydow, Brad Dourif, Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Richard Jordan,
Everett McGill, Jurgen Prochnow, a lesser-known Patrick Stewart, Dean
Stockwell, Alicia Witt, Sean Young and Sting.
Major differences in costume and casting
further distance the two versions, but no matter which one the majority of fans
prefer, Lynch’s version is peppered with strokes of his frenetic genius. The second version of Lynch’s film on this
disc provides additional scenes that for the most part serve only to muddy the
already convoluted plot.
The technical aspects of this disc package are mixed. Sound and picture do the job but offer
little in the way of innovative presentation.
Both versions are available in anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1
presentations, with both about even in definition and detail, though the
shorter Lynch version has a slight advantage. These look better than copies on home video in the past, not
perfect. Though Lynch has not been
thrilled with how this production turned out, the one important relationship he
did continue in this film that began with The Elephant Man is his
relationship with the legendary cinematographer Freddie Francis, B.S.C., who is
a fine director in his own right. They
even reunited on The Straight Story (1999) and Francis is a master of
the scope frame. The film was made
available in 70mm blow-ups and remains a favorite to the extent that Universal
intends to issue some kind of HD-DVD version in the nears future among the
first back-catalog choices. Whether
Lynch will participate is another question.
On the original DVD, the sound was warped, but the Dolby
Digital soundtracks here are in better shape, with the 5.1 mixes doing a decent
job of capturing the kind of sound design intended by the 4.1 6-track Dolby
70mm Magnetic sound. The score has work
by Brian Eno, Roger Eno, Daniel Lanois and Toto that has remained a popular
score. There was no room for DTS, but
the regular Dolby is still not bad. The
HD-DVD should support the soundtrack in better Dolby Digital Plus, which would
be more like DTS or Dolby Magnetic, but fans will not want to wait for that.
The disc also features a bevy of extras
including deleted scenes, design notes, special effects secrets, inside looks
at the models that helped bring scenes to life, costuming notes, and a photo
gallery. The handsome metallic
snap-case even includes a pullout glossary section that helps newcomers to Dune
quickly get up to speed on its complex verbiage and history. This box will prove a must for any hardcore Dune