I got my new remastered DVD of Dune yesterday. The extended version on the second side of the disc (it's one of those dual sided, dual layered deals) is only a spruced up version the MCA-TV edition, which means that it is certainly interesting, but ultimately too sloppy a job to be anything more than a curiousity for me.
Strangely enough, it is Universal that seems to be allowing most of its syndicated versions of movies out there... the Criterion Collection laser and DVD of Brazil also featured the "Love Conquers All" re-edit of the film so that its fans can watch with horror. The extended version of Dune isn't that bad (it isn't trying to undercut the central point of the film, the way the "Love Conquers All" version did) but it is too much of a mess to really tell the story coherently from a cinematic point of view. The theatrical version may be incoherent in places, but I'm willing to except a little linear narrative obfuscation from Lynch because the experience of watching Dune is so unique; it is a movie that one ought to just sit and absorb the amazing sights and sounds being offered up.
And that's what makes this disc worthwhile to me: the remaster of the theatrical version made it worth the price (I bought it with a gift certificate from Amazon.com given me by my boss, so it actually didn't cost me anything). Dune is one of the best looking films of the eighties, with only the aforementioned Brazil and Blade Runner to really compete in terms of totality of vision and detail, and the old DVD with its soft, non-anamorphic picture, edge enhancement and weak sound didn't do the film justice on video. The new disc looks fantastic. Details that burred into the background no longer do so; it only takes seeing the interior of the Emperor's palace on Kaitan to see the huge difference the new disc makes. The soundfield is a bit more enveloping, but more importantly it packs much more of a punch. Much of this is the upgrade from the lame 384 kb/s Dolby track on the old disc to a much richer 448 kb/s track on the new one, but I think a certain amount of work went in there as well.
With all of the hoopla about the extended edition (including my own hopeful post a few months ago), at the very least the original theatrical version is finally available looking and sounding exactly like what it should.
Enjoying the Smallvilles that suitboyskin recommended to me.