Dune (Extended Edition)

Starring: Francesca Annis, Leonardo Cimino, Brad Dourif, Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones
David Lynch

Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Run Time:
190 minutes

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Feature 1: Original Theatrical Version - 2 Hours 17 Minutes
  • Feature 2: Extended Version Version - 2 Hours 57 Minutes
  • Deleted Scenes with Introduction by Raffaella De Laurentiis
  • Designing Dune
  • Special Effects
  • Models & Miniatures
  • Wardrobe Design
  • Photograph Gallery
  • Production Notes


In my original review of the 1984 version of Dune I remarked that this is a film that is actually in need of a longer running time since to flesh out all the plot details and info contained in Frank Herbert's Byzantine source novel.

Boy, was I wrong!

This new DVD version of Dune contains two versions of the movie on one double-sided disc: the original theatrical version, which runs two hours, 17 minutes and an extended version cut for TV that runs a full 40 minutes longer.

The shorter original version is by far the preferred one; the extended version will just put you to sleep.

It all kicks off unpromisingly with a ten-minute long voice-over narration providing the sort of dense, detail-heavy exposition that makes you feel as if you should be taking notes. From there on it doesn't get much better as the pace is slow and the film only picks up at about the hour mark. Two hours to go, and you can understand why director David Lynch (Eraserhead) shortened the whole affair so radically. One would like to see justice done to Herbert's complex novel, but not at the expense of the audience.

Ironically the longer version is still too short in a sense. The original movie spent its first 40 minutes on the first 40 pages of the novel and then rushed through the other 460 or so pages in the remaining 97 minutes of running time. This gave the second half of the movie an episodic and undeveloped feel. The extended version exacerbates the situation by spending even more time on those first 40 pages and the whole back story and Herbert's universe, resulting in an even more lop-sided affair. No wonder the literary purists at the Sci-Fi Channel thought that they can do better job and made the novel into a mini-series a few years back.

THE DISCS: The crisp DVD transfer and wide-screen finally does justice to the film's strongest assets: the wondrously original set designs, spaceship designs and costumes which manages to successfully avoid any old Star Wars clichés of the time.

Some making of featurettes focusing on the costume designs, special effects and production design. Unfortunately there is no sign of any of the movie's stars and director to be found on the disc: it may have been an unhappy experience for the director, but an audio commentary by Lynch would have been fascinating.

WORTH IT? Dune remains a deeply flawed flick. Some of the film's narrative devices used are too hokey, and at times the movie is simply too ponderous, overlong, weird and silly for its own good. On the flipside: serious hard sci-fi fans should check it out since it is a serious attempt at adapting Herbert's popular novel. Also, while the effects have dated some of the model work actually looks much more real than a lot of today's CGI creations.

RECOMMENDATION: Fans of the film should throw away their old pan 'n' scan VHS copies today and buy this DVD instead.

NOTE: There has long been rumors of a four-hour long version of the film preferred by director David Lynch that is being kept under wraps in a vault somewhere. The film's producer Raffaella De Laurentiis (daughter of Dino De Laurentiis) however reveals that no such version exists on the DVD. I suppose one should be thankful . . .



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).