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Jodorowsky's Dune Reviews

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Super Reviewer

July 6, 2014
Dune is a stunning work of Science Fiction Literature, a book so grand that there have been many attempts at trying to adapt it to the big screen, but most of them failed, and with this documentary chronicles one of the failed attempts at bring Frank Herbert's book to the screen. Having read the novel, and enjoyed it greatly, and also enjoyed David Lynch film, and found it to be quite underrated. With that being said, watching this documentary, and hearing Alejandro Jodorowsky talk about his vision of what his Dune could have been is impressive. The man is an eccentric, and he is full of creativity and his version of Dune really could have been an epic picture, even if it took plenty of creative liberties with the source material from Frank Herbert's work. Going into the film, and hearing Jodorowsky's ambitious project, you're simply captivated and you get a picture in your head at what this film could have looked like. Brilliant in the way it tackles a subject such as this, Jodorowsky's Dune is not really a look at a failed attempt, but more so at a triumph of the imagination and creativity in the cinematic medium. Even if it was never made, Jodorowsky's ideas were grand in scope, and ambitious, and if it got made, it surely would have been one of the landmark Science Fiction picture in the cinematic medium. This is wonderful documentary, and truly one of the finest documentaries I have had the pleasure to watch. Watching the film you are captivated with every shot, and you understand that Alejandro Jodorowsky is eccentric, but that's not a bad thing however because the way he talks about his picture that never got made is in such a way that he is enthusiastic and so full of life that you understand that he adores cinema for what it is, and you realize that he could have made a stunning film, and with that being said, because of his enthusiasm, he deserved to make Dune because he probably could have changed the genre of Sci Fi and raised the level of storytelling significantly. The documentary goes in depth with plenty of great interviews from notable people in the industry, and we see concept drawing as well as Jodorowsky's ideas of who would helm the special effects, do the music and act in his film. Considering the level of talent involved in the failed project, it's actually a shock that this film never got made. In a way, even if the project ultimately was shelved due to issues with the budget, Alejandro Jodorowsky had assembled a wonderful team of superb talent that would have made a stunning picture, but these artists such as H.R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon and others would later work on some of the legendary Science Fiction films in the medium. Alejandro Jodorowsky is wonderful to listen to, even if he didn't succeed, his ideas, imagination and creativity is untarnished by the fact that his film never got made. After the film I felt myself saying, Man, I really want to see this film. As a documentary, this is a superb picture, one of new favorites and a stunning story about an eccentric director that tried to bring one of Science Fictions grandest epics to the screen to no success. Like I stated earlier, I view this not as a story of failure, but one of success because it just goes to show that when you put your mind to it, you can imagine and create the greatest things, even if it never came to light. This film shows us a filmmaker that is really passionate about cinema and even if Jodorowsky never got to put his vision to film, we can only imagine how this film would have looked, and raises a lot of possibilities of what could have been. Nevertheless the greatest aspect of the film is that Alejandro Jodorowsky isn't bitter or angry, he's excited and constantly engaging with full of life and idea and of course ambition. With that being said, He definitely seemed like the right person to craft and direct this film that never was. This documentary on the other hand will surely rank among the finest in the genre, and rightfully so. If you love cinema, and have a passion for it, this is definitely worth your time.
Phil H

Super Reviewer

May 30, 2014
I only discovered this documentary after it was mentioned in a movie thread by a fellow flick lover. I'll be honest with the fact that I'm not overly aware of director Jodorowsky and his work so I went into this totally blind only knowing about the classic sci-fi epic that is Dune.

It all starts off with a relatively in depth look at Jodorowsky's previous work leading up to his Dune attempt. We learn about films such as 'El Topo' and 'The Holy Mountain' which appear to be his most famous works, films I have never seen or heard of admittedly but 'El Topo' does look the more interesting to me being a violent western. Its here that we learn how Jodo thinks, how he sees things, his imagination, creations and ideas, and basically one word sums it all up...surreal.

This doc explains how Jodo travelled all across Europe to lure various big names to his project trying to get his unique vision off the ground. The doc shows us lots of small sketches drawings and a small animated example of the way ideas were going, in all honesty there isn't a lot to be shown really. I was hoping for lots of big Ralph McQuarrie type paintings giving a clearer picture but alas no. Many of the images are unfinished or purely examples, not even the final idea, and half of which looked pretty terrible to me but that's a personal opinion. Everything has now been put into a ginormous book which I believe has the complete plot in hand drawn black and white pencil storyboard form (panels) with colour extras. Thing is we don't really get to see that much in this doc, maybe there isn't that much to see and what we do see is all there is.

Most of the doc is mainly dialog from various people involved with Jodo on the project at different stages. They discuss every aspect of the production including bits which I found more interesting such as approaching H.R. Giger and Chris Foss the sci-fi artist about design work, both of which resulting in some typically unusual yet familiar concept work. Intriguing to see Dan O' Bannon was also involved with this project for special effects...which most probably led the way for another certain alien film and probably influenced his imagination. What I found the most arousing was the possible casting choices by Jodo, whether or not these stars would have been used in the final film is anyone's guess but its a strange bunch.

Orson Welles as 'Baron Harkonnen' really felt like a bad choice to me and simply made because he was very fat at the time, Salvador Dali probably because Jodo was part of the surrealist movement which is hardly any kind of surprise and Mick Jagger as 'Feyd-Rautha' who did look the part but again was mainly thought of because of his fame at the time. Many of the outfits designed for these characters also varied drastically, from more grounded Star Wars type styles to very bright bold and colourful costumes that were garish and oddly revealing, especially Jagger's which was pretty much a male dominatrix getup. The only guy that seemed to fit the film to me was David Carradine, but again he was only chosen due to his current popularity and not because he may or may not have fit the role.

Overall I think this film was too much of a personal pet project for Jodorowsky, he clearly wanted to make the film desperately and gets frustrated during the doc. But from what I can gather he was casting people mainly because he simply liked them or they were popular, he cast his son as 'Paul Atreides' which kinda comes across as nepotism to me, he alters much of the book to suit himself and despite some groundbreaking concepts for effects and visuals, again his own taste seems to be heavily influencing the story of Dune. Any director must be happy with his vision sure, they will want to add their own style to it but Jodo seems to lose the concept of Dune in places to me and its only his creative team that kept him in check.

Bottom line I can't help but feel this film may have ended up like the cheesy 1980 'Flash Gordon' flick. A mixture of electro synth rock with a traditional score in places (Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and progressive rock?), possibly tawdry or gaudy visuals and loud hammy over the top performances. Seeing as Jodo was taking drugs during this time (he got O'Bannon high to sell his idea to him!) I worry that this film would have felt more like a hallucinogenic hippie ride than a sci-fi space opera. I'm sure the effects would have been good in places but they were really breaking new ground at the time (1975-76) so who knows how that could of gone. Jodo went against '2001' effects wizard Trumbull so the possibility of a realistic Dune universe may have been lost with him.

An absorbing documentary which definitely digs deep into the buried layers of a film that some call a lost epic. Jodorowsky is a true visionary no doubt but I'm not sure if his vision, at least some of it, was right for Dune. The only disappointment for me here was I was kinda expecting much more visual concept work to be show, seemed a bit thin on the ground to me. Never the less highly engrossing stuff that any sci-fi buff should enjoy. I would be very interested to see Jodorowsky's vision filmed now.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2014
Like the man himself, "Jodorowsy's Dune" is absolutely fascinating. It does a terrific job of elevating our interest considerably in the doomed film project that the talented filmmakers here would have us believe as they do (that Jodorowsky's adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic would have been one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time had it seen the light of day). It paints such a positive and vivid portrait of a filmmaker's ambition and a potential masterpiece of cinema that coming to terms with the fact that the picture doesn't and will never exist is of almost indescribably frustration. I'm dying to know if it could have possibly left such an imprint! Alejandro Jodorowsky is a true visionary, but having seen his other films ("Santa Sangre" being a personal favorite) I'm a bit skeptical. It's not a stretch to imagine the Director's uncompromising, hallucinatory, and rebellious sensibilities rendering such an epic project incomprehensible, and even less faithful than the the polarizing 1984 David Lynch adaptation. Director Frank Pavich sells it differently, and though the sentiment isn't entirely convincing, such claims and speculation only add to the film's enjoyment as a terrifically entertaining "what if" scenario. I've always found Mr. Jodorowsky to be an infinitely captivating presence in interviews, and "Jodorowsky's Dune" as a whole is just as intriguing.
John B

Super Reviewer

September 3, 2013
It's hard to believe that a documentary on a film that was never made could be so fascinating. Even though all we have is Jodorowsky's shot by shot book, the director makes the story come alive in no small part to the passion that Jodorowsky uses to describe everything. He is the most interesting man in the world.
July 12, 2014
A trippy film about the making of a trippy film. Director Frank Pavich proves he was the perfect man for the job of telling the story of enigmatic director Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed attempt to adapt Frank Herbert's classic Dune. As we hear about Jodorowksy's plan to adapt the novel into a film experience that would mirror the effects of LSD on the brain, director Frank Pavich employs every tool in his arsenal to give the audience the feeling Jodorowsky intended for the audience to feel when they saw his interpretation of Dune.

For the first two acts of the film you are drawn into the personality of Jodorowsky and his determination and skill at assembling a team that could bring his vision to life. Towards the end of the film, it transforms into a tragedy about the death of a dream. You feel the sting of disappointment as Jodorowsky's dream dies, and his vision never comes to life.

It's an entertaining film for any fans of Hollywood stories. It's probably not interesting to anyone else, but if you love stories about how movies are made, this one is very unique in its approach.
June 5, 2014
I AM SO MAD THIS MOVIE WASN'T MADE. AHHH. What a FANTASTIC documentary!!!! I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time I watched this, what an inspiring, amazing and moving story. How amazing too that Jodorowsky's Dune actually became his own Holy Mountain story. You get such a vivid picture of the movie they were trying to make along with who Jodorowsky actually is-- all at once manic, brilliant and otherworldly. He truly lives his art and that makes me so happy.
March 23, 2014
A fun and insightful documentary, but not a critical one. Jodorowsky is presented as the hair-brained hero, but one smells something of the liar in him, not mention his speech about how one can only have children by raping the bride (to be fair his English is shaky and he may merely be discussing the popular view that women like aggressive sex). His version of the book comes off as unworkable and outlandish and after discussing his ending, I felt relieved that the movie was never made. The film is also unfair to David Lynch. It strangely revels in touting, although with flimsy evidence, that Jodorowsky influenced on such "classics" as Prometheus and Masters of the Universe. You may think I did not like the movie. Truth is I very much did, but I also found it one-sided and frustratingly on the edge of being great, much like Jodorowsky himself.
April 27, 2014
An excellent journey into the vision of cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt to bring the Frank Herbert's novel "Dune" to the big screen in the mid-70s. Its a great exploration of the ongoing conflict of the art vs. business feud between directors and producers and exposes you to the passion Jodorowsky has for making this film and how it could have been one of the most groundbreaking films of all time. A gem documentary for those interested in the film industry.
March 4, 2014
On the one hand, this film does make you wish Jodorowsky's movie had received the funding to complete it. But on the other hand, I'm not sure that it would have been the groundbreaking epic it was presented as here.
February 26, 2014
A documentary about a film that could have changed the world. The film was never made. This documentary is as close as we will ever get to seeing that film, thusly this is one of the most important documentaries you will see. For anyone who is passionate about film, art, creativity, imagination, or sci-fi then this is a must see. It's vastly entertaining and fascinating, and it does discuss some problems with the studio system near the end.
July 10, 2014
I wish a studio would have backed him, because that movie would have been NUTS!
July 9, 2014
This doc is simply epic, pure candy and the best I've seen in a while. A must-see for any movie buff (especially sci-fi). It's amazing for a number of reasons, but mostly for the extremely affable Jodorowski, as he recounts anecdotes of how he envisioned a transcendental movie with the help of his super talented crew, i.e. his cosmic warriors. He also managed to convince Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine and friggin' Dali to play in the film. Cannot recommend enough!
July 9, 2014
Frank Pavich documentary Jodorowsky's Dune is the tale of the biggest missed opportunity in the history of filmmaking. Alejandro Jodorowsky is fascinating and inspiring. He shows the real reason why we should do movies : art and dream.
July 9, 2014
Me want to see this film now!
July 9, 2014
pour les amateurs de BD et de SF
March 17, 2014
I hope some day someone can do that film. Like Jodorowsky.
July 9, 2014
Divertida y por completo enferma, las situaciones planteadas y las anécdotas contadas hacen por si solas un documental memorable.
July 9, 2014
a powerful depiction of a man with full of ambition, passion, sometime madness. my favorite moment is when he hold a wad of money and say the word "shit".
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