Monday, August 30, 2021

David Lynch's Dune (1984) Arrow Video UHD Review

Dune (1984) Arrow Video 8/31/2021

Directed By: David Lynch 

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Francessa Annis, Brad Dourif  

Disclaimer: Arrow Video has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

    Famously, David Lynch was asked by George Lucas to direct the third, as yet titled Star Wars film. Strangely Lynch said in an interview that he quote "next door to zero interest" in the project. The film would be, of course called Return of the Jedi and released in 1983. The final product is...very much lacking and considered among fans as the weakest in the series. It's strange that Lynch said he had no interest in Star Wars when, just a year after Return of the Jedi he made, what can be seen as a heavily inspired by Lucas's space opera. Now, its not to suggest that Lynch openly ripped off Star Wars but you cannot help but see the inspiration he drew from Star Wars, specifically A New Hope's broken down, lived in world. I confess that I watched Dune for the first time for this review (and later multiple views w/commentaries) as well as pouring over the special features. 

     Dune was not a hit with critics and sadly tanked at the box-office barely bringing back its for the time hefty 40 million dollar budget. The movie has attained a huge cult following over the decades and is considered a ambitious and interesting sci-fi film. Having seen this now more than a few times I will say that Dune is a narrative mess but it's so creative and detailed in its worldbuilding that you cannot but be utterly transfixed and spellbound by it. Hell, Antony Masters who shaped the look on Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) worked on the film and the legendary Freddie Francis (who worked with Lynch previous on The Elephant Man) served as DP. Not to mention art director by Benjamín Fernández and Pier Luigi Basile who between them worked on films like Black Hawk Down (2001), The Others (2001), Lucio Fulci's Dont Torture a Duckling (1972), Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Conan The Barbarian (1982) etc. Its hard to overstate just how incredible this movie looks and you get engrossed in its world from the very first few minutes. Not to mention this has a pretty epic cast that includes  Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Sting, Brad Dourif and Max von Sydow, Dean Stockwell and Sean Young to name a few. 

       David Lynch brings his surrealist nightmare level style to this very famous Frank Herbert novel. Sure, the plot is pretty all over the place, I fell madly in love with its ambitious scope and highly detailed world building. Later this year we will be getting a new vision of Dune (2021) so, I think this is the perfect time to watch or re-discover this film. 

Picture: I think its safe to say that Dune has probably never looked this good on home video. There is a noticeable brightness that you can see especially in darkly lit scenes. Grain is sort of on the heavy side but this is not an issue, especially when your dealing with a movie thats nearly forty-years old. I also was pleased to see a nice sharp clarity to the overall film and it really helps to highlight the amazing production design and cinematography. You can really see every grimy coated surface in the clearest possible. There is a few issues. Notable is some flicker in the image but its faint and honestly, you`ll probably won't even notice unless you are looking for it. There are no artifacts or noise and color contrasts are handled incredibly well in my opinion. The movie isn't exactly colorful but there are big pops of hues that really leap off the screen here. 

Sound: Dune has a 5.1 and 2.0 track. I know fans probably wanted an Atmos track but I think the 5.1 track here really does a great job. Sounds have a nice complex 3D sound which is really something you want with a big sound effects driven movie like this. 

Extras: Dune has a nice array of extras which include: two commentaries one by author Paul M. Sammon, the second track is from Mike White. 

Also included is: Impressions of Dune (2003) (39mins) a vintage featurette with various interviews from cast/crew. 

Includes the 2005 featurettes including:

Designing Dune (8mins) 

Dune FX  (6mins) 

Dune Models & Miniatures (7mins)

Dune Costumes (4mins)

Deleted Scenes w/intro by Raffaella de Laurentius  (4mins) 

Also included is: Destination Dune (6mins) a 1983 featurette directed by Paul M Sammon tp promote the film at conventions and publicity events to the lead up for the film. 

Rounding out the features is Trailers and TV Spots and Image Galleries. 

It appears there is nothing new included in this release but I suspect that Arrow may have been barred (I DONT know but its an educated guess) from producing anything new for this release. 

Lynch interview sourced HERE

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