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- Rated: PG-13
- Starring: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Brontis Jodorowsky
- Directed By: Frank Pavich
- Distributor: Sony Pictures Classic
- Run Time: 90 Minutes
Mania Review: Jodorowsky's Dune
What could have been
By Robert T. Trate
March 24, 2014
Jodorowsky's Dune (2014)
© Sony Pictures
Does Dune have a legacy? Frank Herbert’s “Dune” novel, its sequels, and spin-offs have a legacy that has been felt through multiple genres and mediums. Herbert’s novel has touched millions of lives, whether they know it not. Can the same be said about David Lynch’s 1984 epic film, Dune? A film that Lynch has taken his name off of? Not so much. What if there was, in fact, another version of Dune out there just below the ether? A version so wild and brilliant that it was crushed by its own awesomeness? There was such a version, and the story of that Dune is the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune.
Alejandro Jodorowsky is an artist and a filmmaker that is better known for his pictures El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973). Groundbreaking does't even begin to describe his work, nor does completely insane. He is and was an artist with a style unto himself. With the success of these two pictures, French producer Michel Seydoux offered Jodorowsky the chance to direct anything he wanted to do next. Jodorowsky decided on Herbert’s “Dune”, despite having never read the novel.
Director Frank Pavich re-weaves the incredible tale of how Jodorowsky assembled his “spiritual warriors” to bring the story of “Dune” to life. The fascinating part to this story is that all this predates George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The process, reasoning, and manner in which Jodorowsky assembled his warriors had never really been done before. Pavich’s tale takes us on a journey in which we discover just how brilliant or mad Jodorowsky really was. When Jodorowsky thought of casting a character, he would seek out the most obvious choice and persuade them with too tempting an offer. His compromises for obtaining Salvador Dali is the stuff of legend that no one would ever believe, yet he still had him locked for the picture. Nothing was out of question for Jodorowsky. He even cast his own son, Brontis, as the lead and had him train for the spiritual combat which the character would go through. Why? Because it was for the art of it. Jodorowsky believed that his art would hopefully change the world.
This is in no way a dry documentary filled with facts, dates and numbers. In fact, Pavich takes you on a spiritual journey to witness what could have been in Jodorowsky’s Dune. With each collaborator that comes into Jodorowsky’s circle, Pavich reveals the brilliance and groundbreaking artwork of H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud (aka Moebius). Then, without hesitation, you suddenly realize where you have seen all their art work before. It turns out that Jodorowsky was ahead of what George Lucas and Ridley Scott would later accomplish with Star Wars and Alien. In fact, many of Jodorowsky’s spiritual warriors came together again on Alien. When all is said and done and Jodorowsky’s crippling defeat to get the film made by Hollywood comes to light, your mind races with the possibilities of what could have been.
Jodorowsky's Dune has its own legacy. It is a visual treat that dances with you long after its tune is over. While leaving the theater (for me), the history of science fictions films started to get re-written. A world in which Jodorowsky's Dune destroyed every preconception of what came before and after existed. It was a brilliant dream, but one that relied too much on people having faith in a mad man who just wanted to tell a story, a story that he hoped would change the world.
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