Movie Review: 'Jodorowsky's Dune'

‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is a documentary feature that treats film fans to insights into the brilliant, surrealistic mind of an artist and the madness that is interwoven within true inspiration.

Director Frank Pavich’s 2013 documentary, ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune,’ explores the journey that legendary cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky endured while attempting to create a film version of Frank Herbert’s globally best-selling Sci-Fi novel ‘Dune.’

What ensues over the course of this fascinating 90-minute documentary, is an incredible glimpse into the mind of a film maverick and his Quixotic quest to make a movie purely from his own artistic inspiration and the visual poetry within his own mind.

Imagine a 10-15 hours long Science Fiction movie starring Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, David Carradine, and Salvador Dali. Picture that film with music by Pink Floyd. Include images for the look of the film (production designs) by H.R. Giger (Alien) as you craft your mental picture of what was being created. Blows the mind that this film actually almost happened once upon a time in the 1970’s.

Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky is the original midnight movie director. His first widely-released film, ‘El Topo,’ is a surreal, counter-culture Western that found a cult following long before the terms ‘Midnight Movie’ or ‘Cult Movie’ even existed. Those terms exist because of director Jodorowsky and the other artists of his era who were making films. Movies were made for artistic expression instead of simply empty entertainment.

With the owners of the rights to Frank Herbert’s novel believing ‘Dune’ to be “unfilmable”, Jodorowsky and film Producer Michel Seydoux cheaply acquired the property from Herbert’s publishers to create a film version. ‘Dune’ features interstellar messianic figure Paul Atreides and his epic battle versus evil. It is a tale about consciousness, enlightenment, and the unending battle between light and darkness.

What’s so compelling about ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is watching the filmmaker himself explain the story of how an inspired labor of cinematic love never made it to theaters. The experience, it becomes obvious, changed Jodorowsky and still managed to influence other genre films that were made years later.

There might not be a ‘Star Wars’ if not for Herbert’s novel and Jodorowsky’s failed film.

As interviewed on camera, Jodorowsky is passionate and inspiring in detailing his dream project which came so close to fruition, yet ultimately failed.

For Flixnerds, Film Geeks, movie lovers, or just those of us who are inspired by truly mad creative geniuses…’Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is a must-see documentary. Brilliantly entertaining.

Flixnerd Rating: ★★★★☆

‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and select streaming services.

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