578 of 600 people found the following review helpful
Universal did a rather poor job with this Bluray release.,
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This review is from: Dune [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
While everyone else has been waiting for AVATAR or LOTR (and yes I bought both of those and LOVE them), I've been holding my breath to watch DUNE in all its highdef glory. After watching this bluray disc, I feel like I've seen half of the film in HD and the other half in fair quality SD. I THINK I know what I'm talking about here . . . I saw this film 3 times in the original theatrical run, then bought the video tape in the Beta format, shortly thereafter replacing it with my first VHS copy of the film. Next came the LaserDisc (sadly a pan and scan version) then another vhs (from TV) of the "extended version". Shortly before the death of VHS, Universal released a Widescreen VHS version and then came the first, non-anamorphic DVD. Most recent is the steelbook anamorphic DVD release that also included the extended version as well as deleted scenes and short documentary materials. I still own them all and I'm happy to say that this new bluray release is the best DUNE has ever looked in a home video format . . . but I expected way more.
The GOOD STUFF: Many scenes have a great deal of the HD pop, and as soon as Princess Irulan begins her opening monolog the difference in PQ from previous releases is apparent. Things stay looking pretty good until we get to Geidi Prime (Home of House Harkonnen) and then things look SPECTACULAR. After hundred of viewings of this film, I noticed details I had not seen before! There are MANY impressive looking scenes in this new edition and the all important "water of life" sequence and the final battle and the end scene in the Hall of Rites all look stunning and nearly three dimensional. They are gorgeous.
THE BAD STUFF: Dirt, specks, lines, threads, all sorts of debris on the print show up FREQUENTLY and they ARE distracting. There is also significant fade damage on the right side of the print in several of the "Paul meets the fremen" sequences and the "Paul trains the fremen and blows up a big pyramid" sequences. This damage has been apparent on EVERY widescreen edition of the film Universal has put out and while it does look a little better on this edition (as if they tried to do something about it) it is still there. Certainly all of the specks and dirt (some small, others the size of footballs) could have been removed through digital means but Universal didn't bother with it. Black levels are not the best either and skin tones are all over the place, with the Baraon appearing very pink in every scene while Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam is consistently yellow. There is some noticeable grain at times but I can put up with that. It is the frequent dirt and debris I object to.
The DTS-HD sound is pretty good for the most part and there was a lot of great wind blowing from my rear speakers during the majestic opening title music. The roar of the worms gave my subwoofer a good pounding as did the scene where Paul plants the thumper but often the sound was a bit harsh and unconvincing. I suspect this is the fault of the original source and I suspect Universal has done the best they could with this soundtrack.
THE EXTRAS: LESS than what was included in the 2005 DVD release! Most importantly the extended version (flawed though it is) is not included here. I guess they know DUNE fans will double dip when they re-release this disc with that version. Also not included is the beautiful photo gallery. The theatrical trailer is nowhere to be found here either and none of the printed material from either the DVD original release or the booklet from the 2005 release is included. There is however plenty of advertisement from the UNIVERSAL BD LIVE TICKER trying to sell you stuff (it has to be manually turned off every time). If you turn this feature off, which plays OVER THE (ugly and generic) MAIN MENU, you will be treated to the message that you can no longer access their wonderful BD LIVE features (which consist of absolutely NOTHING but advertisements) because you are not connected to the internet! The rest of the extra material from the 2005 release is presented here in "fullscreen" format in SD, so all of the cool deleted scenes will be window boxed. The disc was also rather slow and clunky to load taking a full three minutes to get to the feature film.
The entire presentation of this release seems very half-hearted to me. I DO like the cover art (the same from the 2005 release) and at least the keepcase isn't one of those garbage eco cases. The disc itself looks entirely generic with no artwork whatsoever. Maybe I am expecting too much for an older catalog title but I've seen so many even older titles look so much better on blu ray than this thing does.
Universal seems to have spent far more time finding ways to advertise itself and the bluray format than bothering with the release of a top notch catalog title. Come on, if they are going to tell me on the front cover and the back cover that I am buying a PERFECT picture, then at least don't sell me something that has this many imperfections all over it. I have actually seen a few bluray discs that I thought lived up to their "perfect" hype but this disc isn't one of them. Not by a long shot.
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Showing 1-10 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 28, 2010, 7:47:51 PM PDT
Terrific review, as a Dune "tool", I thank you!
Posted on May 28, 2010, 7:51:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2010, 8:01:33 PM PDT
I wonder why they didn't dust bust the whole print digitally with the autodesk suites... assuming they can't do another telecine of prints or internegs that are around. They could have had eFilm do it for a reasonable price. Plenty of Dune nuts over there would have practically done it for free. Don't know why Universal wouldn't. They could have also fixed some of the contrast/brightness issues with the compositing boxes, ala the Aliens release.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2010, 2:55:43 PM PST
universal are whores. I hope those bastards drop dead.
Posted on Dec 25, 2010, 5:52:23 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 28, 2017, 5:44:12 AM PDT]
Posted on Feb 27, 2011, 5:18:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2011, 12:07:58 PM PST
Awesome review. As I am a big fan of the movie (read the book afterwards and only thought it was OK), it really sounds like Universal did not do justice to this classic.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011, 11:52:02 AM PST
I want to second this, ICAM with the idea that a BD review should really refer to the particular qualities of the transfer, not just the film itself. I really appreciated all the technical detail in this review. I'm not sure if I personally would notice all of the flaws, but I see little reason to upgrade from my steelcase DVD, which I love.
Posted on Jun 10, 2011, 4:44:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 10, 2011, 4:44:55 PM PDT]
Posted on Jun 18, 2011, 8:05:11 AM PDT
Jared Babcock says:
Posted on Oct 11, 2011, 3:28:02 PM PDT
I really enjoyed your thorough review of the DUNE BR Disc release, and am saddened to hear about how this Science Fiction Masterpiece has been treated by UNIVERSAL Studios. I also appreciate DUNE, I remember back in 1984 being 15 or so and seeing it for the first time, I was truly amazed. The story telling, the images, and the intricacies of the film were and still are astounding today!
I have only one question about your entire review, why the full five (5) stars if their are so many flaws with the quality of the video images and no extra (or bonus) materials on this disc? Please respond, if you would like to.
(and looking forward to your next review)
Posted on Nov 27, 2011, 7:23:13 AM PST
Muffin Kapuzi says:
"It is the frequent dirt and debris I object to."
Hey, come on... they are in a really big desert!