DirectorJohn Harrison, Greg Yaitanes
Release Date(s)2000, 2003 (November 12, 2021)
Studio(s)Sci-Fi Channel/New Amsterdam/Hallmark Entertainment (Umbrella Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: See Below
- Audio Grade: See Below
- Extras Grade: C-
- Overall Grade: B-
[Editor’s Note: This is an Australian REGION FREE Blu-ray release. It features English audio and will play normally on all US Blu-ray players.]
We’ve reviewed Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000) and Children of Dune (2003) previously here at The Digital Bits in depth (click on the title links to find them), along with Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2021) and David Lynch’s Dune (1984) more recently. Of these, the Villeneuve film is by far the superior—if as yet incomplete—adaptation of its source material. But for my money, while the Lynch film remains compelling for its eccentric cast and production design, it’s the two Sci-Fi Channel miniseries that offer the second-best story treatment of the original novels.
Up until now, it’s been difficult for fans living in Region A to find them on Blu-ray Disc with out PAL speed-up or region coding issues. The best available options to this point have been Alive AG’s 2-disc SciFi Classics release of Frank Herbert’s Dune (a German import release) and Umbrella Entertainment’s Children of Dune (an Australian import release). And frankly, those remain the best versions of each on Blu-ray. However, for simplicity’s sake, some of you may be interested in the new Frank Herbert’s Dune Collection from Umbrella Entertainment, which is currently available on Amazon for less than $30.
The good news is that it includes both Frank Herbert’s Dune and Children of Dune in their entirety in a single 2-disc Blu-ray set (one miniseries per disc). Both of those discs are compatible with Regions A, B, and C, and neither suffers from PAL audio speed-up issues. Each offers 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Each disc also includes some special features. Children of Dune is literally the exact same disc reviewed here back in 2018.
The bad news is that the German Alive AG Blu-ray of Frank Herbert’s Dune is still better than the Umbrella edition, as it breaks the miniseries over two discs (vs one in the Umbrella package) allowing for a higher data rate (an average of 24 vs 12 Mbps). It thus offers a richer, smoother, and more dimensional image (it’s full 24p), whereas the Umbrella disc exhibits notably more aliasing (it’s presented in 23.976p).
The Alive AG package also includes more extras. The Umbrella Frank Herbert’s Dune disc includes only:
- The Filmmakers Vision (SD – 31:18)
- The Production Story (SD – 33:01)
- Trailer (SD – 1:52)
Meanwhile, the Umbrella Children of Dune offers the following:
- Making Dune’s Children: VFX Revealed (SD – 13:23)
- Storyboard with Audio Commentary by Greg Yaitanes (SD – 6:05)
- Visual Effects (SD – 3:28)
So the choice you have to make is this: Does the Alive AG version’s higher video quality and additional extras for the first miniseries justify the added cost of purchasing the two miniseries separately, or are you willing to give up those things for the convenience of getting both miniseries in a single package. If you’re good with the latter option, then this new Frank Herbert’s Dune Collection from Umbrella Entertainment is definitely a fine choice. Enough said.
Frank Herbert’s Dune (Video/Audio/Extras): C-/A-/C-
Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune (Video/Audio/Extras): B/A/D+
- Bill Hunt