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Dune: 4K Restoration (1984) - 4K UHD Review

Dune (1984): 4K UHD

“The worm is the spice!  The spice is the worm!”

David Lynch’s Dune might not be the director’s favorite movie-making experience.  It also might not be on any science fiction fan’s top 10 list (although it probably should be).  Those sentences alone do not make Lynch’s attempt at bringing Frank Herbert’s beloved 1965 space epic to the silver screen a worthless endeavor, though. In fact, in the wake of Denis Villeneuve’s ultra-serious attempt at the material, Lynch’s version comes across as anything but worthless.  

"Lynch’s Dune remains an unforgettable journey full of solid practical effects, a stellar cast, and an unmistakable style of filmmaking."


 

Due is science fiction fantasy as only David Lynch could do it.  Stylized, unforgettable, I’d say it is refreshing.  To be completely honest, it is truly a popcorn extravaganza of grinding guitars, glowing blue eyes, cool images, and a floating fat man.

It also makes perfect sense.  You read that correctly.  In the world of Dune, a rare narcotic substance known as the melange, or "spice", is the most valuable commodity and two warring clans find themselves fighting over its control on the worm-infested desert planet, Arrakis.  Sprinkle in some political conspiracies and a mythology which includes blue-eyed Fremen as the prophesied "Chosen One" and there you have it.  Not too hard to understand.  

I originally saw this movie in 1984 and, sure, I was a little kid and knew nothing about the world that Herbert had created, nor did I know anything about Lynch as a filmmaker.  To be honest, Dune was my first exposure to David Lynch, but I will tell you this: there are many, many scenes in this movie which have completely haunted my subconscious since originally sitting through the film.  That was made clear as I watched and then re-watched Arrow Video’s 4K restoration.  

From the starry-eyed opening - in which Princess Irulan (a young Virginia Madsen) clues the audience in on the drama about to unfold - to the stylized score from Toto, Dune is an unrecognized B-grade space opera masterpiece (yes, I said it) from Lynch that time has, thus far, refused to acknowledge as such.  This film continues to be spellbinding in its visual assault as ideas and images collide to create a conflict that characters in a most unusual universe must come to terms with.Dune (1984): 4K UHD

Lynch brings his own persona and his own style to Herbert’s work and fuses together two separate worlds where space fantasy collides with the macabre of the Midwest via telekinetic voice powers. Some of the acting from the stellar cast might be a bit unorthodox, but it works - especially in the crazy setting - to create a tweaked-out dreamscape that oozes with Lynch’s own particular brand of punk rock kookiness.

From the sandworms 1,000 feet long to the closing fight between Sting as Feyd Rautha, Lynch’s Dune remains an unforgettable journey full of solid practical effects, a stellar cast, and an unmistakable style of filmmaking.

For what it is worth, Dune - starring Kyle Maclachlan, Jose Ferrer, Patrick Stewart. Brad Dourif, Virginia Madsen, Freddie Jones, Jack Nance, Everett McGill, Richard Jordan, Sian Phillips, Paul Smith, Dean Stockwell, Max Von Sydow, Sean Young, Kenneth McMillan, Linda Hunt, and Francesca Annis as Lady Jessica - remains an unforgettable Dino De Laurentiis produced journey into the heart of B-grade theatrics as large battles with worms becomes a hand-to-hand combated showdown.

Dune is now available on blu-ray thanks to Arrow Video’s 4K restoration from the original camera negative.  Accompanied by hours of comprehensive bonus features, David Lynch’s Dune is finally getting the respect and the attention it rightly deserves.

5/5 beers

Dune (1984): 4K UHD

4k details divider

Special Edition / 4K Ultra HD

Home Video Distributor: Arrow FIlms
Available on Blu-ray
- December 14, 2021
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Following a notorious aborted attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky in the 1970s, Frank Herbert's bestselling sci-fi epic Dune finally made it to the big screen as the third film by emerging surrealist wunderkind David Lynch, featuring an all-star cast that includes several of Lynch's regular collaborators. The year is 10,191, and four planets are embroiled in a secret plot to wrest control of the Spice Melange, the most precious substance in the universe and found only on the planet Arrakis. A feud between two powerful dynasties, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, is manipulated from afar by ruling powers that conspire to keep their grip on the spice. As the two families clash on Arrakis, Duke Atreides' son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan, in his screen debut) finds himself at the center of an intergalactic war and an ancient prophecy that could change the galaxy forever. Though its initial reception ensured that Lynch largely eschewed mainstream filmmaking for the rest of his career, "Dune" has since been rightly re-evaluated as one of the most startlingly original and visionary science fiction films of the 1980s. It's astonishing production design and visual effects can now be appreciated anew in this spellbinding 4K restoration, accompanied by hours of comprehensive bonus features.

Video:

Presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Arrow Video’s 4K restoration is fantastic in giving the film a clean look without sacrificing too much of the grain. The contrast and colors are restored to extenuate the muted color palette of the film, and the sparkles and other mystical elements really seem to pop out wonderfully. Overall, this is probably a perfect transfer and the best version of the film we will ever see.  You aren’t going to escape the gamey CGI as this film was the first to utilize the effects (especially in the shield scene), but that’s not a problem if you are a fan like me.  This 4K restoration is a thing of beauty showing off the practical effects and the galaxy with previously unseen details.  The details in the clothing and some of the furnishing items in the warring families' own houses are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high-definition transfer.  The atmosphere – especially the cinematography – is especially nice as Paul rockets to his glory and goes deep off his home planet to fight a battle, he’s more than prepared for.  The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, this 4K restoration is even better than expected.  Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. 

Audio:

The spice must flow!  The original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio keeps it flowing quite well.  Crank it up!

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • See the Special Features for the breakdown of the two new commentaries.

Special Features:

The motherlode is included here!  Complete with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dániel Taylor, take a gander at what is included in this release.

  • 4K restoration from the original camera negative
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
  • Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Brand new audio commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon
  • Brand new audio commentary by Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast
  • Impressions of Dune, a 2003 documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with star Kyle MacLachlan, producer Raffaella de Laurentiis, cinematographer Freddie Francis, editor Antony Gibbs and many others
  • Designing Dune, a 2005 featurette looking back at the work of production designer Anthony Masters
  • Dune FX, a 2005 featurette exploring the special effects in the film
  • Dune Models & Miniatures, a 2005 featurette focusing on the model effects in the film
  • Dune Costumes, a 2005 featurette looking at the elaborate costume designs seen in the film
  • Eleven deleted scenes from the film, with a 2005 introduction by Raffaella de Laurentiis
  • Destination Dune, a 1983 featurette originally produced to promote the film at conventions and publicity events
  • Theatrical trailers and TV spots
  • Extensive image galleries, including original production design sketches

4k rating divider

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

5/5 stars


Film Details

Dune (1984): 4K UHD

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
137 mins
Director
: David Lynch
Writer:
David Lynch
Cast:
Kyle MacLachlan; Virginia Madsen; Francesca Annis
Genre
: Adventure | Sci-fi
Tagline:
A world beyond your experience, beyond your imagination.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Father! The sleeper has awakened!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 14, 1984.
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 14, 2021.
Synopsis: The year is 10,191, and four planets are embroiled in a secret plot to wrest control of the Spice Melange, the most precious substance in the universe and found only on the planet Arrakis. A feud between two powerful dynasties, House Atreides and House Harkonnen, is manipulated from afar by ruling powers that conspire to keep their grip on the spice. As the two families clash on Arrakis, Duke Atreides' son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan, in his screen debut) finds himself at the center of an intergalactic war and an ancient prophecy that could change the galaxy forever.

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Dune (1984): 4K UHD

 

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