Saturday, April 26 2014, 11:23 AM MDT
Movie Review: Jodorowsky’s Dune
4 out of 5 Stars
Director: Frank Pavich
Starring: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger
Recommended To: Fans of Dune, experimental film, movies that never happened and those looking for a compelling study on how hard it is to make a motion picture.
Synopsis: The unsuccessful attempt by surreal filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's to turn Frank Herbert's Dune into the spiritual sci-fi successor to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Review: The best part of Frank Pavich's fascinating documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert's Dune to cinemas in the mid-seventies is that as audience members we're given a chance to create our own vision of how the landscape of film could have been influenced if someone, anyone, had given Jodorosky the green light to make his film. Cinema as we know it might have been forever changed. Star Wars might not have been the phenomenon that brought sci-fi into the mainstream and massive box office success. It could have been Dune. Not that Jodorowsky's vision of Dune had the instant commercial appeal of George Lucas' franchise; it was always destined to either match Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or fail miserably trying, but you never know what audiences were going to connect with. Jodorowsky might have opened the doors to a different kind of mainstream sci-fi experience. Certainly if Dune had been made Alien might not have arrived in 1979. Or, at the very least, it would have looked quite different as some of H.R. Giger's ideas for Ridley Scott's masterpiece would have been used in Jodorowsky's film instead. Would we have Blade Runner? Would I be a film fanatic?
Of course had David Lynch's Dune been a critical success, rather than a deeply ambitious and overly flawed epic, Jodorowsky's Dune might not have the same impact. It is our, including Jodorowsky's, disappointment in Lynch's film that makes Jodorowsky's interpretation all the more attractive. Had Lynch, a filmmaker that at the time was as bold and important as Jodorowsky has been a decade earlier, made a masterpiece Jodorowsky's efforts would be viewed in a completely different light. We'd probably dismiss Jodorowsky's vision in favor of Lynch's. It is Lynch's failure that makes Jodorowsky's version feel essential; essential and never to be obtained.
Jodorowsky's Dune is a fantastic film about what might have been. It's a love note to a surreal world that could have been had only someone been brave enough to finance it.
-Ryan Michael Painter