Review Detail

9.0 5 10
herberts_dune_front.jpg
TV-to-Movie August 30, 2014 4214
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
I love "Dune."

Frank Herbert's novel has, for many years, been my favorite book. Since the day I read it, I longed for a worthy film adaptation. Sadly, David Lynch's attempt falls flat for me in many ways (even the excellent fan edits I've seen can't save it), and the SciFi Channel's miniseries can't keep my attention past the first episode. The script is solid (if overlong), but the acting, cheap sets, and overly theatrical cinematography just ruin it for me.

Enter Spence. Somehow, he's managed to take this cheap adaptation and turn it into the best possible film version of "Dune" I have ever seen.

I don't know what it is - maybe the change of aspect ratio to scope, maybe the subdued color palate, maybe the excision of most of Paul's whining and many other superfluous scenes - but everything about Spence's version of "Dune" engaged me.

The film (for this edit IS a film, not a miniseries) moves at a brisk pace, but doesn't rush. It cuts out large swaths of exposition, but everything is clear and understandable without the need to resort to narration or an awkward prologue. It's still beholden to the limitations of the source material (low-budget effects and sets), but somehow these no longer drag the material down like they do in the original.

Spence has done something remarkable here. He's taken a deeply flawed adaptation and turned it into the DEFINITIVE adaptation. I honestly believe that any writer/director/producer intending to adapt "Dune" for the screen again needs to watch this edit and take Spence's creative decisions to heart. This is not a slavish adaptation of the novel, this is the story of "Dune" told in an exciting, engaging movie that doesn't feel overlong or bogged down in exposition.

Tecnhically, this edit is almost flawless. I don't remember the original well enough to know what music from the sequel miniseries was inserted or where, but it works perfectly and doesn't feel shoehorned in. There are two awkward cuts that I feel can easily be fixed in the next version (which will hopefully also fix the incorrect "John Hurt" credit at the beginning), which I won't mention here so as not to call attention to them for new viewers (also, I can't remember what the second one was). I will mention them to Spence in the hopes that he can fix them, however. Outside of that, I didn't notice any hard or awkward cuts - everything flows as if it was always meant to be the way it's presented.

Outside of the small technical issues, are there flaws? Sure, but they rest with the source material. Some of the acting is still subpar. The Fremen eyes still look stupid (and disappear with certain camera angles). The sets are still cheap, and the desert looks like a studio with a painted backdrop (because it is). But there's little that can be done about these, and when the story moves at the pace Spence has set, they are hardly noticeable or important.

I have a couple issues beyond this, which is why I rate the narrative a 9/10, but Spence has pointed out that these are issues with the source material as well. I will detail them in the next paragraph, but be warned - if you aren't familiar with "Dune," THE NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS NARRATIVE SPOILERS!!!

SPOILERS BEGIN:

The opening Reverend Mother/Paul scene feels pointless due to the fact that she never explains what the hell she just did to Paul, or why; the jump from Paul being accepted into the sietch to the Fremen attacking Harkonnen patrols feels abrupt and awkward; and while the removal of the narration at the end was, in my opinion, the right choice, it leaves the viewer somewhat unclear on what happens between Paul and Irulan.

SPOILERS END.

Thankfully, these issues are minor and don't detract from the overall splendor of this edit (and, again, they are inherent to the original source material and not a flaw the edit itself).

I urge anyone who is a fan of "Dune" to give this a view, especially if you were disappointed in the miniseries before. And if you've never seen any version of "Dune," but are interested in watching it, make this the version you see first, even if you've never read the book.

You won't regret it. I promise.

User Review

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Comments

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Ordering
February 13, 2015
I did watch it on the reviewers recommendation and i can honestly say that i am as piously close to a religious fanatic of Dune as one can be.
the mini series and the De Laurentiis/Lynch version both are highly flawed this much i agree on
but i just could not watch this fan edit at all , after 10 minutes i was begging for the great maker shai'hulud to swallow me and put me out of my misery , the tv series at least followed the novel and this is the reason why Dune will never ever work on the screen , Jodorowsky is correct , Dune needs to be a movies that is at least 70 hours in length , no one , certainly not the generation now ,has the attention span to watch such a movie

i felt this fan edit took the good work of the mini series cut it up and gave us a 2K version of the Alan smithee disaster post Lynch.
A
antstorm
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