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9.8 12 10
(Updated: July 17, 2022)
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Spicediver's Alternative Edition of the 1984 David Lynch adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune is without doubt the most definitive version of the film thus far envisaged. The Redux provides the same experience in glorious high definition (where available).

Say what you like about Lynch's Dune, but you can't knock it for its ambition. A cinematic interpretation of a novel so intricately crafted some said it was impossible to translate, and indeed Jacobs, Jodorowsky and Scott had already tried and failed. De Laurentiis turned to surrealist director David Lynch, who, despite having never read the books, almost immediately signed on. A three-hour epic featuring an all-star cast (including the film debut of Kyle McLachlan) with 80 sets built across 16 sound stages. Unfortunately, a combination of factors led to an underwhelming and undercooked theatrical release, and Lynch has thus far refused to participate in further cuts of the film.

Spicediver takes as much of the existing material that remains and compiled them into four distinct chapters. The audio editing is almost entirely seamless, as is the video editing (the only time you really notice is when it cuts to footage from the assembly cut footage). The structure is a vast improvement over any cut I've ever seen, with so much more detail and worldbuilding added back into the film. The extended runtime gives so much more room to appreciate the scope of the story Lynch was trying to tell, and undoubtedly would have told much better if he and Dino had gone with the two or three parter originally intended. Even with these changes it's never going to be the most faithful adaptation, but the additional context does wonders.

My only gripe with the edit is that the new ending is a bit underwhelming. I'd have thought there would at least be some way to foreshadow the coming holy war expanded upon in Herbert's sequels, but what happens instead feels something of a non sequitur.

TL;DR - the best edit of Lynch's Dune to date, now in 1080p. I think spicediver might be the Kwisatz Haderach.

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Owner's reply July 21, 2022

Thanks for the thoughtful review.

Lynch did indeed script and film that narrative thread concerning Paul's fears and ambivalence about the holy war that his victory over Shadam would unleash. It was all cut out, unfortunately. The only deleted scene that's been released is of Paul having a nightmare about it - nothing else. So inserting that scene in the film would make no narrative sense because all the context around it is still missing.

It's a real shame we don't have those scenes, because it would restore much needed depth to the film's second half. As it stands now, Paul's only fear in the Lynch film is whether he will survive the Water of Life.

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