David Lynch’s Dune: The Third Stage Edition

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(Updated: August 30, 2012)
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February 18, 2009

FanEdit Review by Molasar

Title/FanEditor: David Lynch's Dune: The Third Stage Edition by PhineasBg & Nighthawks

Prologue: I love Dune. Besides The Keep, being a fan of David Lynch's Dune has been tough over the years. I have read the book and watched the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series. They simply do not hold a candle to David Lynch's oft-maligned vision. The film is gorgeous to look at. Bob Ringwood's costumes are phenomenal in and of themselves. The still suits are one of the best costumes ever put on celluloid. Add to that the amazing set design, the awesome cinematography by Freddie Francis and the extraordinary effects work by Carlo Rambaldi and Albert Whitlock and you have a misunderstood masterpiece. I could care less that Lynch changed the story. I love every frame of the theatrical cut. I have seen the extended TV edition many times. It features more good things to see and hear but the cut was nonsensical. PhineasBg and Nighthawks have created something very special. Using the shooting draft of Lynch's screenplay (which I have read), they have reconstructed the film in a way that every Dune fan has to see.

The Edit: What's best about this fan edit is they rearranged the extended edition and added in the deleted scenes for a complete version of David Lynch's film. The cuts are seamless. The rearrangement of the scenes, compared to the confusing TV cut, is perfection. Everything is there. For those who want all the deleted scenes and the “painting narrated” prologue they're presented as Special Features. Nothing is lost. The only complaint I have is that the deleted scene footage is not very good, no fault of the faneditors so there are no deductions. They have done the best they could. Their inclusion is not distracting because the editing and sound syncing is so well done. Biggest and best improvement — the blue Fremen eyes added to the extended footage. Totally cool. This is my new version to watch when I give Dune a spin. Simply excellent. *****/*****

Image Quality: Besides the aforementioned deleted scene footage, everything else looks very good. Colors are rich and blacks are deep. I noticed some jaggies and moire effects on striped areas, like Feyd's chest. Given these limitations, I still think fans will be very pleased with the video quality of this presentation. ****/*****

Audio Quality: Although the audio is listed as 5.1 surround, it really isn't. The sound field is center-heavy. I did not hear anything from my rears and no LFE whatsoever during the film. The audio is loud and clear, free from pops or hiss yet I can't help but wish that the sound field was wider and more enveloping. To be fair, the DVD special edition is not a great 5.1 soundtrack. It's not one I'd use to show off my system. This one’s just fine. ***.5/*****

The DVD: Static menus. Specials Features include deleted scenes and the prologue for us completists. ****.5/*****

Overall Rating: Simply the best version of Dune out there. A must for fans. ****.5/*****

Epilogue: Whenever Dune comes up in conversation, I will recommend that its detractors see this cut. They won’t be able to deny that David Lynch’s stunning epic is not as bad as they remember.

MOLASAR HAS SPOKEN.

Reviewed using Sony 51” 16×9 RPTV with Oppo DVD player upconverting to 1080i via DVI and Onkyo 650 Watt 5.1 surround sound.

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9.2
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9.0
i love dune and had been after this version for a while.
so after getting my hands on this i watched it that night.
i love this edit but i loved the alternative redux more.
i love how this cut is closer to Davids version of dune more than the studios.
the only real problem i have with this edit is the quality is a little rough but you can only use what ever you have to work with.
this is a real solid edit and really improves the movie greatly, it defiantly taking a spot next to the alternative redux and kicking the theatrical cut off the DVD shelf.

thank you to PhineasBG for giving us the version of dune so meny people have waited for for so long and this edit was worth hunting down. tops job i loved it

highly recomended

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Owner's reply September 18, 2014

Thanks so much! I also love Alternative Redux, which came long after this edit. If people like this edit, they will LOVE Alternative Redux!

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Overall rating
 
8.9
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8.0
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8.0
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9.0
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7.0
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10.0
I've been an avid fan of David Lynch's 'Dune' since I was a wee kid. For me it is his true masterpiece with almost every frame (There are a few duff FX shots among the many brilliant ones) sheer perfection. I bought the VHS, the DVD, the CD Soundtrack, the Extended TV DVD, the Blu-Ray, the 2nd (Reasonably faithful PC game) and even scratchbuilt a few models! I was never a fan of the novel or it's sequels/prequels or of the TV show. It was Lynch's visionary direction and the visual world that he created that I loved and not neccasarily Frank Herbert's universe. So I've never been able to see why so many (Including Lynch himself) dislike this movie. That thought out of the way...

I was excited about seeing this edit because of it's stated intent to not change Lynch's movie but to mearly extend it. The additional footage is for the most part seemlessly integrated into the film. As the first half unfolds, it doesn't feel intrusive into the flow of the movie and even for a devoted fan of this movie it was hard to spot. Sometimes it's just a shot or an extra sentence, sometimes it's a significant scene. But on rare occasions a shot was used whose visual quality is so far below the rest that it's a bit jarring from a purely visual point of view. But I was glad to see that footage integrated none the less. At the midpoint I was grinning from ear to ear with how brilliant this edit was. But...

After the midpoint there seemed to be much less integrated footage and this combined with the second half's leaps through time and space made this edit feel like two disjointed halves. In the original cut, 'Dune' flows like a beautiful unbroken dream sequence with Lynch using sound, montage, haunting voiceovers and mysterious visuals to tell his poetic story. But in this edit the first half's extra footage is integrated so well that it kind of breaks that spell, rendering the story in conventional yet more coherant terms. We see everything, every piece of the puzzle is revealed, every custom explained, every character fleshed out and every minute of life in Arakeen is shown. Then when Paul leaves Arakeen (At almost the exact middle) the edit appears to shift back into the mysterious dream structure with whole years passing with just a word from the voiceover. I would have liked to have seen almost all of the footage glimpsed on the bonus features being used. Since as I've said, the flow of the movie was disturbed anyway, so more of it would have made no difference.

So in the end this edit allowed me to appreciate even more why this film is so remarkable in the original cut and why I never grow tired of it's charms. Somehow to add to 'Dune' is also to take away something. However as you will notice I have scored this edit a 10 for enjoyment as it truelly is one of the best FanEdits I've so far seen. It allowed me to view a whole different side to the movie that the ugly Extended TV version could never do. I will be rewatching this for many years to come and will take a proud place next to my Theatrical Cut Blu-Ray.

Thanks so much to PhineasBG and all involved for the time it must have taken to complete. If you hated 'Dune' you'll probably hate this even more but if like me you love 'Dune' then you HAVE to get a copy of this edit! It will allow you to see a whole different side to this world, meaning that you can go back and enjoy Lynch's cut even more!

"THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKENED!!!"

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8.9
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7.0
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9.0
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8.0
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10.0
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9.0
Dune is a literary science fiction masterpiece whose definitive cinematic portrayal is still elusive. Much can be said about the aborted attempts made at bringing the first novel to the screen, and while the Sci-Fi Channel’s 2000 miniseries may have been a bit more accurate in the events depicted within its runtime, David Lynch’s 1984 theatrical effort is still a fascinating piece of work.

Unfortunately, even a definitive version of this film doesn’t truly exist. Lynch’s theatrical version was about 2 hours long, which meant that the meat of its narrative was severely trundcated by studio demands for a more commercial picture. When an extended cut was commissioned for television, the resultant mess of bad pacing, repeated special effects shots, and rough shape of the restored footage led to Lynch disowning that version, leaving it to be credited to the dreaded ‘Alan Smithee.’

Enter fan editor PhineasBG. While there are several other Dune fan edits out there, most attempt to bring the film more in line with the novel, while one attempts to recreate what the pre-release workprint might have been like. The Third Stage Edition is something else entirely. Working from a widely-available shooting script and utilizing footage from both cuts and the selection of deleted scenes from the Special Edition DVD released in 2006, Third Stage aims to restore what is presumed to be Lynch’s actual director’s cut.

Being the first fan edit I ever got my hands on, I was plenty excited to experience it, and I was not disappointed. The story now feels complete and epic, coming in just under 3 hours but suffering none of the repetition of the extended edition. Most of the deleted scenes restored are incredibly welcome, most especially the extended bits of the climax, for example the death of Thufir Hawat and Paul claiming Irulan as his wife. There are still problems inherent to Lynch’s version, which include the incredibly short amount of time Paul and Chani fall in love, and the pacing around Jessica’s taking of the Water of Life, but with no surviving examples of that footage, PhineasBG did his best, and his best is still wonderful.

Even only being available on DVD, the picture and sound quality are surprisingly good for its age. Black levels are inconsistent, but the picture retains its color and has pretty good resolution for the format, having been sourced from 720p. The extended edition footage, long missing the blue-within-blue eye FX, has been restored digitally. No more Fremen continuity errors. Deleted scenes are still a bit rough and scratchy compared to the rest of the picture, but again, this is the way it is when the source footage is unrestored. I can’t expect everyone to be Harmy.

The sound mix is deep and bassy, enough to shake the house when turned up. Some people aren’t a fan of this, but I love hearing the speakers rumble. Another big thing to note is that whenever possible, the theatrical cut audio is used on the sountrack, as the extended edition made some rather nonsense changes to the audio that frankly left me scratching my head. Bravo, PhineasBG.

In short, my highest recommendation (if you can find it)

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I just made an account to THANK YOU SO MUCH for making this...! I haven't seen Dune in a long time. I love the book so much, so I just downloaded your version and at the same time, the 1080p theatrical cut. I watched the first ten minutes of both and instantly knew yours was going to be the more wonderful experience... even at the 480 resolution (I assume?). Thanks again for putting so much time and care into this edit. Really feels like I'm watching the intended version, flaws and pacing issues are no matter, because it's what the book feels like... a true edit for the fans! THANK YOU!

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