Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

9.0 Overall Score

A great story of film making and a film that never came to be

Would love to see even more of the sketches

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Jodorowsky’s Dune

Studio:  City Film

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  May 18, 2013 (Cannes Film Festival)/March 21, 2014

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Reading the book is apparently overrated when adapting it…

In 1973, Alejandro Jodorowsky was brought on to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 Hugo Award winning space epic Dune for the screen.  Armed with his own idea of how the film should be and a dream to make a film that transcended everything that had been done before, Jodorowsky set out to gather his team.  With Dan O’Bannon, H. R. Giger, Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), and Chris Foss, Jodorowsky’s Dune was hatch…and became the greatest movie never made!

Directed by Frank Pavich, Jodorowsky’s Dune is a documentary looking at failed project.  The film was released to critical acclaim and reignited interest in seeing Jodorowsky’s vision of the novel brought to the screen.


A man who really loves to make his own style of films

I love Dune, but Dune is one tough book.  Full of concepts, ideas, and abstract moments, the book is fractured and hard to translate even into an explanation of what it is about.  In 1984, Dune by David Lynch was released and aimed at fans of Star Wars (which I was), but Dune was not a story for children and seeing Dune was a confusing mess…it is interesting to see how Lynch’s Dune sprung from Jodorowsky’s vision and how Jodorowsky and Dune actually shaped my childhood without my knowledge.

Jodorowsky is one weird guy.  His look at life and the concept of movies is way outside of Hollywood and most movie viewers.  The idea that he was the man set to helm this movie should have spelled doom immediately.  The visionary look of the film was far, far too complex for the theaters of the 1970s and even surpassed Star Wars and 2001 in his hopes and technical dreams.  It is combined with a bizarre plans for telling his own version of the classic story that even threatened to alienate fans of the original novel by changing the ending…but it still seemed like something amazing.


The surreal film director meets the surreal painter

The visual team assembled by Jodorowsky was great and Pavich does a good job trying to explain through the mock-ups how the story would look.  The visuals of the film were in line with Jodorowsky’s other movies and therefore not surprisingly twisted.  I can’t imagine that even with the lighter rating restrictions that the movie wouldn’t have ended up rated R and having another notch against it…making Hollywood’s decision to stay away even less surprising.

The cast for the proposed movie was the stuff of legend.  Even if Lynch’s version landed Sting, Jodorowsky planned to have Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, Salvador Dali, and Dali’s muse Amanda Lear.  Jodorosky continued to show strange parenting decision by planning to cast his son Brontis Jodorowsky (who also was forced to wander around naked in El Topo) as Paul Atreides and began to force him to train for realism.


Yeah…Orson Welles would have been interesting in this role…

I really wish that the movie would still come to fruition…maybe in animation by using Jodorowsky’s notes.  I love that a majority of the people involved with the movie never read the book…something that generally spells doom but here makes for greatness.  With today’s advancements, it probably wouldn’t be that hard of a movie to pull off (maybe in a 300 style completely computer generated world).  What was surprising about Jodorosky’s Dune is the movie showed how despite never being made, the pitching of the film did end up influencing tons and tons of monumental sci-films including Star Wars which became the benchmark to measure space fantasies.  Dune by Jodorowsky was probably destine to crash and burn, but at least the documentary was a great trip…and trippy.

Related Links:

Dune (1984)

Dune (2000)

El Topo (1970)

Santa Sangre (1989)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response