Jodorowsky’s Dune is a beautiful documentary about the dreams we have and the drive to live forever through the things we create. The central figure of Alejandro Jodorowsky is an enigmatic, passionate artist who (if he was successful in making Dune) could have been the first George Lucas. His version of Dune was massive in scope, both visually and philosophically, not afraid to tackle big ideas. It very well could have set a different precedent for big-budget Hollywood blockbusters if it had beaten Star Wars to cinemas.
The documentary begins with the director Nicolas Winding Refn revealing that he got to ‘see’ Jodo’s version of Dune years ago. It is only in the form of a massive book, story-boarding the entire movie from beginning to end. The movie then introduces Alejandro Jodorowsky and we begin to follow him on his journey of how ‘Dune’ came to be. From hiring many visual effects artists who went on to do Alien, Blade Runner, and more, to getting Pink Floyd to do the music, Orson Welles and Salvador Dali to act in the film (the latter to be paid 100,000 dollars a minute of filming). It’s a fascinating journey as we get to see just how incredibly passionate Jodorowsky was, and still is, about making Dune. The ending is bittersweet, as Dune was scrapped and given to David Lynch, but the peace that Jodorowsky has with that decision is really inspiring to see. As he sees at the end, “If you fail, it’s not important. You tried!”
One of the greatest parts of Jodorowsky’s Dune is just seeing how excited he is about making Dune. The film doesn’t have voice-overs or any real narration, and it just let’s the interviewees talk about their time working on Dune. Jodorowsky truly believed that this movie could change the world, and after seeing many of his ideas for it, I’m inclined to agree with him. Similar in ways to 2001, but with a visual style far more psychedelic and singular, it would have been amazing to see it come to life.
Another thing that the movie hints at, is the idea that Hollywood is a business first and foremost. Jodorowsky’s vision of Dune was doomed from the beginning, because it was simply too big; not in scale or budget, but in terms of the ideas it carried with it. I realized while watching that we might never have another 2001: A Space Odyssey, or a ‘Dune’ made like this version would have been. Movie studios are simply not interested in risking that kind of money on a big movie with big ideas, that audiences might not take to or understand. It’s a pretty sad epiphany that we may never see a forward-thinking movie like this one get made, especially in this Hollywood climate.
Well that wraps up tonight’s movie rant. I’ve got to be at work in 7 hours so I guess I should get some sleep. I’ll be diving in to a bunch of classics this week, so stay tuned for that and thanks for reading!