Denis Villenueve’s Dune arrives on 4K Ultra HD this week, bringing the first part of the book adaptation home, and it’s ridiculously stunning.
If you managed to miss out on Dune when it hit theaters, and during the initial 30-day HBO Max run, this week brings the chance to make up for that. If you, like me, already checked it out a bunch of times before, then you’ll be eager to get your hands on the physical release of the film. I know I should probably save this for the end, but you’ll definitely want to pick this one up.
Dune: Part One 4K Ultra HD
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve
Written By: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Josh Brolin
Release Date: January 11, 2022
Purchase [Affiliate Link]: https://amzn.to/3ndLq9p
When Dune first launched this past October, I went a little nuts. I managed to catch it in theaters on release day, and subsequently watched it several times afterwards during its HBO Max run. Thanks to the day-and-date hybrid release, I’ve had the benefit of already watching the movie a ridiculous amount of times. I already know it holds up under multiple viewings.
I popped this 4K disc into my system almost the minute it showed up on my doorstep, and even with a couple months of break, I was immediately thrust back into this world and loving every minute of it. By and large, my initial impressions from my original review remain unchanged. As such, I won’t belabor the film’s finer points in this review, and keep it on the simpler side of things.
Namely, I want to talk about how it looks. As you already know, Dune is ridiculously good looking. Between the visual effects and overall shot composition, the movie continues Denis Villenueve’s long tradition of gorgeous filmmaking. The 4K transfer on the disc highlights all of these elements in grand style and dazzles the eyeballs.
The blacks are super deep. Even in the darkest moments of the movie (like running from the Sandworm), which sometimes struggled to come through on the streaming service, are crystal clear without any image crushing. You can make out all the fine details, right down to some of the shifting sands in the background of the image without straining. It’s quite impressive to see.
On the sound side of things, the Dolby Atmos surround mix is equally impressive. It completely envelopes you in the experience, making it feel like you’re in the middle of it all. From the quieter moments on the sands, to the bombastic action sequences, there’s a complete immersion the complements the visuals. Even better, it’s balanced nicely with the dialog given the right amount of prioritization. All in all, the technical aspects of the 4K release expertly highlight the film’s impressive nature.
About the only place where the 4K release is “so-so” comes in the form of the bonus features. On top of a Blu-ray disc and digital copy insert, these special features are included on the disc:
The Royal Houses
Filmbooks: House Atreides
Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
Filmbooks: The Fremen
Filmbooks: The Spice Melange
Inside Dune: The Training Room
Inside Dune: The Spice Harvester
Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
Building the Ancient Future
My Desert, My Dune
Constructing the Ornithopters
Designing the Sandworm
Beware the Baron
Wardrobe from Another World
A New Soundscape
None of these are bad, so to speak, but they aren’t necessarily amazing either. They’re all very fine featurettes that offer a glimpse into how the world was brought to life. Even better, they include some which really help break down some of the things in Dune for those who are just now getting into the story (never reading the books).
In all, however, they just aren’t very long. Nor do they really go too in depth on any particular area. So film fans aren’t getting deep dives into some of the other filmmaking elements, while hardcare Dune fans are getting surface level stuff. They’re still good and worth watching, but didn’t go quite as hard as I was hoping.