Jodorowsky's Dune

[1.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

If you're like me (and why wouldn't you be?), you:

  1. Read Frank Herbert's Dune when it was serialized in Analog back in the 60's, savoring the yarn, accompanied by John Schoenherr's magnificent covers and illustrations.

  2. And (of course) got the book when it was published, for even more geeky goodness. (Even though the Ace paperback cost an outrageous $1.50!)

  3. Gave up on the series after reading Dune Messiah. (Sorry.)

  4. Nevertheless, was excited when the Dune movie came out in 1984, and…

  5. Whoa, it was weird. Visually stunning in parts, but… weird. And not in a good way. David Lynch took the perfectly good sci-fi adventure and made it Lynchian. And also stupid. Lynch reportedly hates the film also.

As it turns out, back in the 70's, before Star Wars, another serious run was made to film Dune, by then-famous surrealistic director Alejandro Jodorowsky, and that's the subject of this documentary. The most notable thing about this version: it would have been much, much, weirder. Jodorowsky wanted to make the movie a hallucinatory trip. He cast his own son as Paul Atreides, recruited Orson Welles as Baron Harkonnen, Salvador Dali as Emperor Shaddam IV, Mick Jagger as Feyd-Rautha.

Also involved were folks who went on to more successful projects (Dan O'Bannon, H. R. Giger, Chris Foss, Pink Floyd). Hints are given that the whole enterprise was drug-fueled, which makes sense.

Jodorowsky's talking head is featured throughout, and he's charmingly insane, in a senior-citizen way. The documentary is set up to sell the point that the movie would have been fascinating and wonderful, ahead of its time, etc. People muse about how the timeline of science fiction movies might have been altered if this version of Dune had made it into existence before Star Wars.

Yeah, no. The movie would have been a stink bomb, an embarrassment to all involved. Yes, many of the ideas were mutated/resurrected in subsequent movies. Better movies.

I can't recommend the movie, it's pretty dull even for a documentary.