Review: Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

A joyous documentary about the greatest movie never made.

Jodorowski’s Dune is better than Jodorowski’s Dune. It’s the story of a dream – and of the dreamer’s wish to “open the mind”, to “change the consciousness”, to influence a generation. Filmmaker and comics writer Alejandro Jodorowski managed to do that, not through the film he wasn’t able to make, but through being Alejandro Jodorowski: from the team of “warriors” he assembled and inspired directly, to the Hollywood system that rejected him but used his team and plundered his vision, to the generations of film makers and audiences whose ideas of science fiction fantasy can be traced directly back to “the greatest movie never made”.

I don’t want to see Jodorowski’s Dune. I’m precisely as inspired by the artist as, and in precisely the ways in which, he set out to inspire. Jodorowski is his own Dune: a remarkable character himself, with an abundance of passion and a strength of conviction we can only admire and aspire to. The fact that we get to experience something, anything of that, particularly in documentary form, feels miraculous.

Watch this and feel renewed, inspired, and deliriously ready to fail.

Director Frank Pavich tells an extraordinary story in a beautiful and compelling way. Pavich’s tribute is as reverential as it is expert. Through his lens, we see the movie that never was, via not so much a patchwork of accounts and media as a whirlpool of soundbytes and images. Seductive animatics are created from the gorgeous, original concept art; anecdotes are traced through a range of artists and producers; stories and experiences are woven, painted, bled together, to create something that the world has never seen and yet we have, and we’re seeing it now. What more can I say? Watch this and feel renewed, inspired, and deliriously ready to fail.

Further Viewing

While Jodorowski’s Dune makes mention of the film’s influence on Hollywood sci-fi over the decades since it wasn’t made, only minimal mention is made of storyboard, comic and concept illustrator Moebius. Luckily, here’s a great BBC 4 documentary on the prolific and influential artist.

Also: Nerdwriter‘s loving tribute to the cover art of science fiction paperbacks is the perfect entrée to Jodorowski’s Dune. Watch this before you watch the doco, you’re in for a great evening.