Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Movie review: ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ tells of the epic that never was
Review » Riveting story of a movie that almost got made.
First Published Apr 24 2014 03:03 pm • Last Updated Apr 25 2014 08:42 am

The delightful documentary "Jodorowsky’s Dune" is the most enjoyable behind-the-scenes look at moviemaking to come along in ages.

It’s even better because it’s about a movie that never was.

At a glance

HHHhj

‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

A spirited and warm-hearted documentary that looks at possibly the greatest movie never made.

Where » Broadway Centre Cinemas.

When » Opens Friday, April 25.

Rating » PG-13 for some violent and sexual images and drug references.

Running time » 90 minutes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Jodorowsky of the title is the Chilean-born surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, most famous for two cult classics: the oddball Western "El Topo" (1970), considered the first "midnight movie," and the even stranger spiritual journey "The Holy Mountain" (1973).

After those films, French producer Michel Seydoux approached Jodorowsky with an offer to make his next project, whatever it may be. Jodorowsky told Seydoux he wanted to adapt "Dune," Frank Herbert’s trippy 1965 epic science-fiction novel about a desert planet that produced mind-altering spice that navigators took to traverse the universe.

"I wanted to make something sacred," Jodorowsky tells documentarian Frank Pavich. "A film that gives LSD hallucinations, without taking LSD." He also admits he hadn’t read "Dune" before proposing it to Seydoux.

Jodorowsky started gathering his "spiritual warriors" to create the film. He assembled a visual team that included writer and special-effects expert Dan O’Bannon, French comic artist Jean "Moebius" Girard, sci-fi illustrator Chris Foss, and the Swiss artist H.R. Giger. In assembling his cast, Jodorowsky tells Pavich, the director secured commitments from Orson Welles (as the corpulent Baron Harkonnen), Mick Jagger (as the Baron’s son, Feyd Rautha) and Salvador Dalí (as the Emperor).

And he created detailed storyboards, mapping out the outlandish costumes and groundbreaking visuals he planned for the film. All this, along with his artistic team’s conceptual art, was bound into a massive book that was sent to the Hollywood studios.

Pavich interviews many of those involved in Jodorowsky’s vision who are still alive to tell the tale — and finds archival interviews for those, such as Girard and O’Bannon, who aren’t.

He also talks to people in the film business now, including director Nicolas Winding Refn ("Drive") and film critic Devin Faraci, who talk about how the unmade "Dune" has influenced Hollywood filmmaking since the 1970s. (For example, Giger recycled some of his "Dune" designs for his Oscar-winning work on "Alien," which O’Bannon co-wrote, and Foss and Giraud also worked on.)

But the most fun comes when Pavich sets his camera up and lets Jodorowsky cut loose. The old director, who’s now 85, has more enthusiasm than men half his age — and listening to his energetic descriptions of the movie in his head, you can almost see it yourself.


story continues below
story continues below

That’s what makes "Jodorowsky’s Dune" so fun and inspiring. It’s really the story about the artistic process, which tells us that even in failure there is incredible creativity and joy.

movies@sltrib.com

Twitter: @moviecricket



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.