Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Jodorowsky’s Dune</strong> (2013)

(Video on Demand, July 2014) There are movies that transport you in a parallel universe, and then there are movies that make you want to build a machine to travel to parallel universes. So it is that Jodorowsky’s Dune is a making-of documentary about a movie that never was: an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic Dune as would have been directed by eccentric visionary writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky sometime in the mid-seventies, well before the 1984 David Lynch film. Jodorowsky himself (at an amazingly-well-preserved 84) is a centerpiece of the film as he tells the many small stories of the abortive effort. The centerpiece of the film is a custom-made book containing all the visuals and storyboards developed for the film, featuring the amazing trio of Moebius, Chris Foss and H.R. Giger as conceptual artists. It’s an amazing line-up already, and the film is quickly to point out that even if Jodorowsky’s version of Dune went nowhere, it definitely left a mark: copies of the book probably made their way throughout Hollywood (a collage of subsequent film clips make the case for visual similarities), while the Moebius/Foss/Giger triad (alongside visual effects artist Dan O’Bannon) would all receive credits for Alien‘s visual conception. Jodorowsky’s Dune is perhaps more fanciful in discussing how the director approached a variety of legends for musical and acting roles: From Pink Floyd to Dali to Mick Jagger to Orson Welles, the stories are entertaining but we only get third-party confirmation for Dali’s involvement. It’s also optimistic to believe that a version of Dune as directed by Jodorowsky in 1975 would have been the film promised in this documentary: Any knowledgeable cinephile knows of countless movies that looked amazing on paper but never measured up in reality… and considering Jodorowsky’s eccentricity, there’s no telling what the end result would have been. Still, Jodorowsky’s Dune is a fascinating look at a film that never was, a good grab-bag of stories and a chance to see a number of legends discussed in the same breath. It’s a must-see for SF movies enthusiasts, and a pretty good time for everyone else.

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