Dune (2021) | 4K Blu-ray Review


The original film was hampered by false starts, meddling executives and a world too big to capture in one film. Thankfully Denis Villaneuve’s attempt at making the world of Dune come to life had a bit more forethought and as a result we now have Part 1 with a sequel already greenlit. So let’s see how this new adaptation of Dune fares on the Ultra HD format.


If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Dune, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-100)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Digital code
Released By:Warner Bros
Release Date:January 11th, 2022
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
BR: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Resolution:4K: Native 4K, 2160/24p
BR: Full HD, 1080/24p
Digital Intermediate (DI):4K (captured on digital RAW)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision (MEL), HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K/BR): Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Additional tracks also available in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Hindi
Subtitles:English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Swedish
Packaging:Dual disc snapcase with slipcover*

*Slipcover may only be available on initial pressing
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

Following last week’s dud of a release of Pirates of the Caribbean, my eyes were on a hunt for a visually stunning presentation and “oh my” did Dune deliver. I will also say right up front, that I have seen this on streaming and this UHD disc absolutely looks better than what we received on HBO Max. So if you thought the stream looked great, know that the following highlights best that presentation for sure.

The detail throughout the film was stunning, from the intricate and clearly carefully thought out costumes to the CGI enhanced worldscape, there is a lot to take in. Skin textures are clearly defined, hair looks natural and refined and the rough texture of the sand-strewn vistas are all very detailed and lifelike. If I were to nitpick, there are a couple of very subtly soft areas in a couple of shots throughout the film, but otherwise this image is sharp, detailed and incredibly pleasing to take in.

Although shot digitally, there is real film grain present. Due to the processing choices, the digital image was originally transferred to 35mm film before rescanning the film back to digital. The goal of this process was to create a very organic looking grain structure and filmic quality while still retaining many of the benefits of working digitally. While I know this may impact preferences differently, for me I enjoyed the output of the choice.

On the color and dynamic range front, while not intended to be an oversaturated world of primaries, the colors that are present look rich, well graduated and appropriate for the scene. The color grade presents a natural balance between the intent of each environment, and while still keeping neutrals looking organic, and the primaries full-bodied. The lights and darks of this movie are stark with the eye-seering brightness of the daytime outdoor scenes playing a stark contrast to the dimly lit, very dark interiors. Throughout both ends of the spectrum detail remains. Intentionally washed out bright daylight still shows depth and delineation of objects and people in the distance and dark interiors still retain shadow detail and even the textures on black clothing. The Dolby Vision carries the challenges of this film really well and makes for a treat for your retinas.

As for the missing IMAX ratio scenes, I personally prefer the shifting aspect ratios, but I will say if you had not already seen this in IMAX, you would not know you were missing anything. They did a great job with the cropping of those scenes and it does not detract at all in this presentation. 

The included Blu-ray is also excellent, benefiting mightily from the decision made in capture and processing. There is very little to nitpick on its presentation as well, and on the surface most people will find it equally as stunning, the 4K is just more refined and the handling of the dynamic range is unequalled on the 1080p format.

Video Score (4K): 5.0 / 5 (Reference)

Video Score (BR): 4.8 / 5 (Reference)

Audio Review:

Both discs in this set include a Dolby Atmos mix and it is an absolute joy to experience. First, the dialog and action on screen is clear, balanced and well placed through the front soundstage. But the audio experience just increases from there. This is an incredibly dynamic and engaging mix with much of what I remember from the theater transitioning well to the home format. Surrounds are active throughout. Overheads transition from supporting the musical score to adding in the nuance touches of overhead discrete effects. Though not abundant, the overhead effects are present and incredibly well chosen to take what the lower surrounds are doing and expand that experience to greater heights (that was an unintentional pun, I swear).


Now onto the bass. The LFE channel gets a workout on this mix. Make sure your subs are warmed up and ready to rock because they are definitely going to flex, shake and rumble their way to an authoritative low end presentation. Are there movies with lower Hz numbers? For sure, but this one absolutely digs deep and does so often. The impact in my chest and throughout the structure of my home theater felt unnervingly powerful and tactile.

And absolutely demo-worthy presentation throughout.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 5.0 / 5 (Reference)

Special Features and Packaging:

On the special features front, there is not a huge list with maybe 10 or so featurettes ranging in the 5-10 minute duration. But I will say they were all enjoyable and well worth a watch, especially if you are new to the world of Dune. It was disappointing we were not treated to any audio commentaries for this release. I do have my fingers crossed we may get some in a future release or box set (assuming the second movie is well received).

For packaging, it’s solid for the level of release with artwork on the slipcover and case, but it’s nothing to really throw up on display. The included discs do not contain artwork, but both do come in a very “Dune-ish” tan color rather than your standard black and blue. A bit of a let down in contrast to the visual grandeur of the movie contained within the packaging.

Features Score: 3.6 / 5 (Good)

Buy/Upgrade-worthiness:

Fan of the movie, and/or fan of the format, this is definitely one to own. The visual and audio presentations are absolutely reference level. While I’m sure at some point we’ll get more extras and better packaging in a future release, I’m not sure this is worth sitting on to wait and find out.


Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: YES!

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Buy it here!

Summary and Overall Scores:

Overall, this was a very welcome release. We ended 2021 with a great looking release in No Time to Die only to start 2022 with a joke of a release from Disney, so I’m glad we have rebounded quickly and come out strong with an absolutely striking release of Dune.

Experience Score**: 4.9 / 5  (Reference)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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