Much like other 80’s cult sci-fi films such as Blade Runner, David Lynch’s take on the classic Frank Herbert book series Dune was one of the those weird, way before their time pieces that I never really understood until decades later. Just in time for the upcoming Warner Bros adaptation, Arrow Films has remastered the original in 4K and loaded their release with tons of special features that’s filled with spice and everything nice with the Dune: 4K Limited Edition.
The plot takes us way into the future in the year 10191, we were learn the greatest thing that everyone is fighting for is the Spice Melange aka Spice. This powerful substance can grant people the ability to travel across the galaxy using their mind, extend their life, and grant other mystical powers. The only place were people can get it is from the planet Arrakis which is also known as Dune thanks to it being a desert-like world.
In order to keep some sort of balance, the Emperor has two families or “Houses” to recover and distribute the spice, House Atreides and House Harkonnen who have been at odds with each other for quite some time. For some weird reason, the Emperor decides he likes the Harkonnen more and aids them secretly to overthrow House Atreides and take all the spice for themselves.
This leads to a lot of political backstabbing and more that Duke Leto Atreides, his wife, and their son Paul (played Kyle MacLachlan in his debut role) who is the hero of sorts, will have to overcome. There’s also other dangers they’ll encounter such as other people who have been abandoned on Arrakis, and mainly the giant and terrifying sandworms that are always looking to eat anything that makes noise on the planet’s sandy surface.
To say more would ruin the story and outcome, but if you’re familiar with shows such as Game of Thrones, you’ll have a good idea of what you’re getting into with the political intrigue and backstabbing that’s going on in the film. I have to say that I enjoyed my time watching this tale unfold, even with some of the pacing problems and dated special effects. Speaking of which, some of them look better or worse thanks to the 4K scan from the original negative and being encoded to support both Dolby Vision and HRD10.
For the most part the visuals have never looked better, as they’re clean and the HDR brings out the colors and light/shadows while still retaining its classic film look. Then there’s the cleaned up Dolby DTS HD 5.1 audio that also makes sure every dramatic line, sound, and awesome musical score by the popular 80s band Toto is heard perfectly.
There’s also a ton of special features to go over with some being new and others being reused from previous home releases. There’s new audio commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon, and another by Mike White of The Projection Booth podcast. These two offer some interesting back story on the film and more as they also share their own thoughts and feelings on the movie. “Impressions of Dune” is a documentary from 2003 that features interviews with Kyle MacLachlan, producer Raffaella de Laurentiis, cinematographer Freddie Francis, editor Antony Gibbs and more that’s a nice treat.
There’s quite a few featurettes from 2005 that go into the special effects for the movie, the models used in it such as the sandworms, deleted scenes, an image gallery, promotional films, and more. Then there’s more new extras on the Blu-ray included such as a new featurette featuring merchandise that was made to promote the film that stars toy collector/producer Brian Stillman from The Toys That Made Us. Another new featurette that explores the film’s music with interviews by Toto’s guitarist Steve Lukather, keyboardist Steve Porcaro, and film music historian Tim Greiving, and a few other new and old extras.
Perhaps the greatest extra is how Arrow Video was kind enough to send over the limited edition that has an awesome hardcover packaging with reversible sleeve that features new artwork by Dániel Taylor who also did the double-sided poster that’s included. There’s also a 60-page book featuring new writings by such people as Andrew Nette, Christian McCrea and Charlie Brigden, along with an interview with sound designer Alan Splet from 1984, some pieces from Chris Rodley’s book Lynch on Lynch, a Dune Terminology glossary that’s bound to help viewers understand the film better and more.
If you’re a fan of the 1984 classic and want to get yourself ready for the upcoming WB adaptation in theaters, you’ll want to brave the sands and pick up a copy of the Dune: 4K Limited Edition if possible, but the standard version works too. It might not be the best take on the classic book series, but it does a fairly good job for what the 80s could deliver. 4K with HDR visuals, Dolby DTS audio, and loads upon loads of extras serve to spice up the deal to find a place in your film collection.