I divided my thoughts here into 3 sections, each progressively longer for the people who prefer to read less and the people who prefer to read more!
Short version: This is my (current) favorite version of Dune on a screen. I watched an earlier version of this than the most recent, and despite what I've heard from Spence about a few blips he has since smoothed over, I thought this was edited perfectly. I noticed no weird transitions or audio dips or anything and I recommend this to anyone who enjoys Dune in any of its forms!
I haven't actually seen the original 1984 version or the 2000 miniseries, but I enjoyed the first half of this edit more than the 2021 version, and everything after was a bonus! (will re-evaluate once part 2 drops but that'll be a couple years) This also should not be taken lightly because I generally cannot stand movies that look/feel old. I acknowledge that I have a lot of Recency-Bias in my movie reviews.
I read the book in the weeks leading up to the 2021 release and I finished it the day before. I watched Dune 2021. I'm not sure why I thought reading the book first was a good idea, because everything I've ever known in life has told me reading the book AFTER the movie is the way to go. So, while honestly didn't really care for the book (been reading Sanderson and Abercrombie lately) I surprisngly liked Dune 2021.....less? More? I'm not sure. It LOOKED amazing, and I love Denis Villenueve, but I was pretty bored because, ironically, it followed the book pretty well, so I felt like I'd almost already watched it (I LOVE BR2049 for the record) Anyway, quality was clearly paramount for Spence, it wasn't until I got to the midpoint (at 1:22:32, where the 2021 movie ends, roughly) and started on my notes, that I remembered I was even watching an edit. (note, the 5 year time-skip happens a bit later, so I suppose 2021 cut those out, or will adjust them or something? Not sure.)
This last version is an informal bulleted-list comparison between the book, this edit, and Dune 2021, and reflects moreso how I felt about the work of the original filmmaker's vs the author's.
However, I haven't seen the original 2000 miniseries, so any props I give to that version over the 2021 version also should be given, in part, to Spence!
(most of these points I left as they were when I wrote them out as notes mid-viewing)
- I don't really care for movies that are/feel old, but I managed to overlook the cheesiness and wonky CGI here for the most part (except for the rabbit lmao)
- The dialogue is cheesy but I didn't think much of the dialogue in 2021 felt organic either, and I was pretty bummed about it
- Honestly this feels much faster paced than 2021 despite also feeling much more dialogue focused (both good things)
- They actually use the word Muad'dib thank god
- They sort of included the dinner scene where Paul ends that man's whole career, so, props for trying
- The Hunter-Seeker bit was less stupid in Spence's version
- There was less exposition dumps in Spence's version (it felt like it anyway)
- There was more emphasis on the importance of water in Spence's version
- Uh they did Duncan Idaho DIRTY in this one but honestly I thought the body shields in 2021 did not function like they were described in the book. I hate his death in 2021 because of this, so I'd put this point as a tie.
- I also don't remember Paul addressing his sister in 2021
- love the tidy whities duel
- 2021's "do you yield" was stupid and forced. This one wasn't perfect but it was much more organic!
- Also, with that being said they managed to include just as many book scenes as Dune 2021 in half the runtime (maybe even MORE scenes?)
- Jessica didn't cry in 2/3 of her scenes in this version so that's a bonus for me *cough* 2021 *cough*
- I've really enjoyed everything. Feels pretty spot-on with the book, give or take
Psych. I decided to disappoint you all the same way that Denis disappointed everyone who hadn't realized it was going to be a 2-parter (I did) Spence's edit played out in a very satisfying way that was pretty faithful to the books in my opinion (bear in mind I didn't really care for the book). Obviously not everything will translate 1:1 but I felt that it worked out pretty well. Also, as Denis hasn't had his chance yet, I'll reserve my final judgment for a few years lol.
(not sure what the significance of the bit where the kill the baby worm in the pool was about though)
This is a superb remake (including re-arranging the storytelling) of the "Dune" miniseries starring Alec Newman as Paul Atreides / Muad'dib. As a personal note, I think Saskia Reeves is the best actress to impersonate Lady Jessica, with Rebecca Ferguson a close second. This particular fanedit, "The Spence Edit Revised," cuts down the miniseries to under 3 hours while keeping major plot points from Frank Herbert's first two books, "Dune" and "Children of Dune." Sadly, the TV miniseries stopped producing the entire story, or at least filming the first four novels. Indeed, many famous people tried (and failed) their hand at "Dune" - including Salvador Dali! The Spence Edit takes the story as much as it was portrayed. We just have to wait and see if the current cinematic efforts expand beyond the TV series. The Spence Edit provides an excellent introduction to the Dune universe. 10/10 I would rewatch.