A few years ago, Universal Studios Home Video released a flip-disc DVD containing not only David Lynch's Dune but the Alan Smithee Extended Edition and a bounty of bonus materials. As it was a highly-anticipated title for the many fan boys who populated the readership of one of my former outlets, I dutifully watched both versions and the extras and decided that the theatrical cut was superior – indeed, actually a worthwhile film that was perhaps underappreciated thanks to its initial failure at the box office. That said, I also dutifully filed it away in my DVD collection and never watched it again, assuming I'd be interested in revisiting it some time in the future, and presumably further developing my appreciation for its many complexities.
As is the studios' want, Universal conspired to make me (or just make me want to) see the film again with their release of the new Blu-ray. Bereft of that Smithee cut but still retaining the extras, the film enjoys new life in high definition and looks better than it ever has. But is Dune some unheralded masterpiece or just, well, a piece of crap? That's what this week's "Shelf Life" intends to find out.