Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

Movie Review: 'Jodorowsky's Dune' (2014)

See also

Jodorowsky's Dune

Rating:
Star4
Star
Star
Star
Star

'Alien'. 'Star Wars'.'The Terminator.' What do these classic sci-fi films have in common? They were all influenced by by a movie that never actually existed, except for the vivid storyboards shopped around to all the major Hollywood studios.

More Photos

That aborted project would be a cinematic adaptation of Frank Herbert's best selling science fiction novel 'Dune.' It was a passion project of Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky, the auteur behind unhinged, beautiful films like 'El Topo' and 'The Holy Mountain.' And the fascinating documentary 'Jodorowsky's Dune' shows how his pet project slipped through his fingers.

Jodorowsky is an engaging interviewee, forthright and wild-eyed, a mad scientist whose vision exceeded his grasp (he states that his goal was “a film that would give you hallucinations without drugs.”)

Jodorowsky secured the rights to the novel in 1974, and began his crazy quilt scheme to make the science fiction blockbuster of his dreams. He assembled a dream team of collaborators (or as he called them, "Spiritual Warriors"). Among them included screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, comic book and storyboard artist Moebius, surrealist artists Salvador Dali and H.R. Giger, and filmmaker/actor Orson Welles.

But as the documentary reveals, Jodorowsky's vision for the project was so grandiose and overreaching, that it seemed an insurmountable effort. His concepts proved too difficult to pull off in an era with primitive special effects, and his schemes for securing his cast and crew (he wooed Welles by offering to have his favorite restaurant cater his food each meal, and promised Dali $100,000 per minute of his screen time) foresaw a film that would stretch the confines of Hollywood budgets.

Nevertheless he sent his storyboards to every major studio. All were wowed by his concepts, but were uncomfortable with his freewheeling, iconoclastic approach, and declined to participate.

But there's the rub; because those storyboards, and the talent involved influenced countless iconic sci-fi films that followed. O'Bannon and Giger would go on to create 'Alien' with director Ridley Scott. And many of Jodorowsky's concepts were borrowed for films like 'Flash Gordon', 'Star Wars', 'Contact' and 'The Terminator.''

Director Frank Pavich cleverly animates many of those storyboards, giving strong indications of how ambitious and marvelous Jodorowsky's project could have become, instead of the sloppy 1984 adaptation by David Lynch that was an infamous flop (which pleased Jodorowsky as he recounts with glee).

While 'Dune' never came to pass, the sci-fi cinema we know and love today would be barren without its influence. It's an invisible imprint upon the genre; too ambitious to be made, but too vivid to be forgotten.

'Jodorowsky's Dune' is rated PG-13 and runs 90 minutes.

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Weird Al
    'Weird Al' Yankovic gains his first number one album with 'Mandatory Fun'
    Music Buzz
  • LeBron James
    Frank Caliendo channels Morgan Freeman when reading LeBron James' letter
    Video
    NBA Buzz
  • NFL jerseys
    New York Giants and Jets fail to breach NFL's top 25 in jersey sales
    NFL Buzz
  • Slash
    Slash and The Conspirators crush it at Hard Rock, AP Awards
    Camera
    20 Photos
  • Monks of Mellonwah
    Exclusive interview: Monks of Mellonwah talk music, touring and more
    Camera
    9 Photos
  • Bad Company
    Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd deliver a double dose of hits at the Blossom Music Center
    Camera
    20 Photos

Related Videos:

  • The Giver (title)
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518290952" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518290952&autoStart=true"></div>
  • 12 Monkeys (title)
    <iframe width="600" height="337" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wZNcVYqnCFw?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • The Zero Theorem (poster)
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518138854" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518138854&autoStart=true"></div>