Dune 2000 is one I've always found hard to enjoy. What is good about it is the strenght of the story as told in the book, but taken as cinema... it just lays there, in the best of cases. It lacks a grandiose directorial vision beyond going through the motions (say whatever you want about the Lynch version, but you can't deny that it looks and feels majestic), and that's without even taking into account the horrendous CGI, the "exteriors shot in a soundstage" factor, the supremely silly costumes, the uneven pacing, and the wrongness of quite a few of the performances (Paul being the worst offender - from the start I thought the actor would have made a better Feyd).
But along came Spence, and the clips he posted on the forum with his version of certain scenes were a real eye-opener. Somehow, it all now felt way more exciting than I ever expected it to feel. And after watching the full edit, my best hopes were confirmed. While nothing can really be done about the worst visual aspects listed above, the spice of this cut does flow much better than it used to, and even Paul finally feels pretty much like Paul. It's true, though, that as other reviewers have mentioned the edit really finds its legs from the second act on (more due to the source than to the editing), and it is also true that I didn't think all of the changes worked for the best (for example, I think opening on Paul's vision was a better start, cinematically speaking, than doing so on the Reverend Mother Mohiam arriving on Caladan, which is of course the start of the book but is filmed in such a flat way that it lacks the power to hook the viewer from the get-go), but this is now a whole lot closer to how I imagine Dune. And it even manages to feel a bit more grandiose due to the excellently executed reframing to a wider aspect ratio and the color correction. Less obviously TV-ish, fortunately.
Thanks to Spence this sleeper has awakened. This is a clear replacement of the original for me, and will stand proudly on my shelf next to Spicediver's cut of the Lynch film. Highly recommended.
Having struggled through the original full series, I had a hard time mentally preparing to revisit. That said, the ponderous tones that dragged down the original are gone. While the acting was far from stellar to begin with, the trims are meaningful in developing a communion with Paul and Leto, whom I found immersion-breaking many times per episode. The new music additions add to a more soaring tone than the original series allowed for.
The picture quality, especially on a large screen, is far from enjoyable, but surprises in some places. There are some highlights in the palace that reveal TV-quality set design, a nice artifact of the upscaling. The overall pacing of the movie is watchable in one sitting, even with tween children in tow. Well-done, especially given the challenge of the source material.
Paul Atreides immaturity and arrogance was something I found to be quite grating in the original series however seeing as how this edit improved Paul’s characterisation by dialling down his arrogance and whininess it made his journey to godhood much more believable for me and any arrogance and whininess that remained left him flawed enough to not be considered a Gary Stu, the rearrangement and slicing of the first act made for a much better paced and more coherent experience with the dream sequences no longer inducing confusion and incoherency as such it’s nice to be able to watch a movie and understand what’s going on as it gives me the time and pleasure to appreciate the cinematography, world building and ultimately the preparation towards Muad'Dib's true destiny.
As far as audio goes I noticed no audio jumps or glitches and the blending of Brian Tyler’s Children of Dune OST along with Graeme Revells OST made for an impactful experience with the various scenes that these tracks accompanied them however there were a few areas in the visual department that were a little distracting for me, these included some small film crackles and dots that tended to occasionally appear throughout different parts of the edit and on the right side of the screen I noticed an overscan line that persists throughout followed by a fair bit of picture noise at the 2:47:03 mark which ceases around the 2:47:40 mark but other than the things I just listed the picture quality generally looks great.
The original miniseries that inspired this edit has a big place in my heart despite its budget limitations.
Spence's work was a labor of love and the amount of care he put into the details its just amazing. making it faster, tighter and lighter, without losing the soul of the story.
I would really recommend it to anyone who wants to discover Dune in a different way than Lynch's or Villeneuve's versions and for fans of the original books its a must.
I'll start of with his was a good watch overall. The technical aspects of cutting, reframing, color correction, and rescoring are near flawless. There's one scene I could tell was an extended cut bit, but it was blended pretty well--there's only what the source material offers to work with.
The cuts largely worked. The further into the story you go the smoother they get. Early on it felt a bit choppy to me and almost seemed rushed. I had a little feeling of rushing to get to Arrakis to move to that story and some of the foundational early plot got short shrift. That may partly be my being more recently familiar with edits of the movies (Lynch & Villeneuve) and the books. Once the Atreides get to Arrakis pacing smooths out and the story flows better.
So while it isn't a perfect experience for me, it's still enjoyable to watch overall and still recommended.