Monday, April 28, 2014

[Review] Jodorowsky's Dune (Documentary)

It's eulogized as "The greatest film never made." Dune, adapted from Frank Herbert's novel of the same name, is a sci-fi space epic that was (and still is) a passion project of Chilean-French visionary film director, Alejandro Jodorowsky. His version, unfortunately, was too far out for Hollywood.

This documentary is the making-of Jodorosky's Dune, which never never actually appeared on the big screen, despite its lore-ish hype and game-changing ambitions. Packed with interviews from the producers, artists, designers, and even the eccentric Jodorowsky himself, Jodorowsky's Dune is a fascinating and insightful look into the process of creating the sprawling world that Jodo envisioned. There are plenty of scene-by-scene looks into the script and storyboards, as well as all the elaborate ahead-of-its-time art design and effects.

Everything about the project seemed to be coming together perfectly. Jodo handpicked all of the artists in eclectic and fateful ways, Pink Floyd signed on to compose the music, and the likes of frickin' Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, and Salvador Dali all agreed to act in it. However, the studio bailed on the film after having too many disagreements with Jodo, and the project fell into other hands.

Jodorowky's Dune leaves you with a bittersweet "what could have been" feeling. Even if the film would've fallen short of expectations, it's difficult not to imagine it being an amazing feat in the 1970s and a possible cult classic. This documentary makes a great case and fully embraces the lore, and Jodo's wide-eyed enthusiasm is a joy to listen to. It's an ode to the madness of artistic freedom and the height of dreams and lows of disappointment. There's a breathtaking sequence that shows the influence that Jodorowsky's Dune has had on sci-fi films throughout the past few decades, as a lot of his team carried their same ideas into future endeavors. It's hard to argue against the project's "The greatest film never made" title. But then again, its spirit seems to be on screen all the time.

Recommended Doc


  1. Nice! The things that Hollyweird are afraid to take chances on; all about the $, when they could've helped realize a true gem of avant garde cinematic history.

  2. Looking forward to this one, glad you recommend the doc. Jodorowsky is such a visual filmmaker, a pity his Dune never got made. For me, Holy Mountain is his best film.