Jodorowsky's Dune


Action / Biography / Documentary / History

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 98%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90%
IMDb Rating 8.1 10 17954


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by octagonproplex 6 / 10

Interesting "what-if", but its premise is flawed

"Jodorowsky's Dune" is an engaging documentary about a failed mounting of a major motion picture. However its determination to conclude that, if produced, it certainly would have resulted in a supreme testament to the profound potential of the Cinematic art form -- is not given the credibility such a claim demands. Unfortunately, the total absence of any rational opposing viewpoint (removed from the delusions of grandeur indulged to its star speaker) explaining the practical reasons why such an almost-masterpiece was not ultimately supported, renders this a masturbatory propaganda puff- piece (and forces me to knock the rating down considerably out of sheer sycophantic exhaustion). But go ahead and give it a watch -- especially if you're a confirmed cinephile, genre aficionado, or "Dune" devotee.

But with all the eclectic true talent that had begun to assemble for this project, why do I so flagrantly assert the dismissal that this film wouldn't have lived up to any of their collective potential? -- Eight syllables: Al-lay-han-dro * Joad-doe-row-ski.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of the silver tongued snake-oil salesman of highlight here, understands that -- while he may be a great teller of tall tales -- he is not a great storyteller. Not in the least. Would-be auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky comes from the "avant-garde" art scene -- which is just a pretentious way of saying he has a propensity for vacuous kitschy pop perversion, yet is able to hide under a fancy Frog word to validate it. The man is known not for great movies, but for playing to the lowest common denominator of art affectation. Oh so loving odes to the scatological and profane; incoherent posturing strung together through cute little images of blasphemy and vile sadism.

Jodorowsky wants to adorn himself an out-of-time progressive renaissance man of immense enlightenment, but his thoughtless philistinism is like a low-rent tribute to the depraved vapid vulgarity that hallmarked the careers of Andy Warhol, Ken Russell, John Waters, and Pier Paolo Pasolini -- but without even attaining their unmerited impact. It's quite telling that anyone who will indulge with Jodorowsky in substance abuse, cater to his ego, or allow themselves subjugated to his insane whims are distinguished by Jodorowsky as "Spiritual Warriors", while those with more sober senses are "Soulless". And eyes roll toward the darkest recesses of cranial cavitations having to endure the permeation of such blustering nonsense go completely unchallenged.

Instead of plausibly translating the grand universe of intricate histories, theology, political intrigue, and power struggles that "Dune" author Frank Herbert scribed so illustriously, Jodorowsky would have desecrated its eminent quality by substituting debased detours catering to the diseased of spirit, in giddy honor of degradation and silly pseudo-philosophic utopianism. Because that's who Alejandro Jodorowsky is -- a man who insist the collaborative nature of film-making and adapting authors' works has to be an act of defilement, and bolsters that claim by analogizing it to a marriage night where the husband must forcefully violate his wife, because to continue to regard her with respect could never produce a child -- so "Rape! RAPE! RAPE!... but with love". That's how this guy's mind works. He only cares about himself, and is perfectly fine to abuse others to get his way -- even though his way holds not one shred of virtue. Of course he would cast his own pre-pubescent young son to scurry about fully nude in his odious "art-films" for no honest reason other than pedophilic pleasure. This is a man who literally films defections for scat enthusiasts. Jodorowsky is not an artist, he's a charlatan of art -- he doesn't express the humanities, only dehumanization -- he's an exploitative sensationalist rather than imperative provocateur.

The most bizarre aspect of this documentary is not even the gonzo eccentric at its heart, but rather the fact that this deviant was ever even considered a viable pillar to hinge a major investment on! Of course his rambling nonsense would be forsaken once money needed milking, but before that reality set in, Jodorowsky had already recruited (most probably exclusively through vice enticement) an incredible array of superstar talent for both ends of the lens. This examination does nevertheless merit attention for the grotesque fascination of learning about an adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel that would have managed to be even more of a corruption than David Lynch's vomit, whilst simultaneously tainting so many bright young talent's careers -- after casting their bests into an abyss of excrement under the abominable shepherding of Alejandro Jodorowsky - - and possibly derailing their destinies in genre film's hall of legends. At least half of the legacy citations it stretches to tie to Jodorowsky's credit as direct lineage progeny are -- to be generous -- highly suspect, and I just don't at all agree with its ridiculous thesis that this was "the greatest movie never made".

Now if proved virtuoso, consummate professional and diligent filmmaker Ridley Scott had realized HIS planned vision for "Dune" -- maybe that truly is one of the great missed opportunities that would have birthed a legitimate masterpiece! Hmm... perhaps a sequel is in order:


Reviewed by Roger An 10 / 10

A Must-See for Scifi Fans

An epic behind-the-scenes tale of massive creativity gone off the rails with legends of film and music intertwined with one man's uncompromising vision of Dune. If you miss scifi's hey day of quiet introspection and larger-than-life concepts married with cutting edge visuals, this documentary will whet your appetite.

Reviewed by pniemeyer-47222 8 / 10

All for the best

Jodorowsky's Dune covers the inception and eventual crumbling of one of the most ambitious film projects ever conceived. Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Chilean cult filmmaker whose films include surrealist works like El Topo and The Holy Mountain, wanted to make a miniseries- length adaptation of Frank Herbert's sci-fi novel that would elevate the consciousness of the entire human race, or something. Frankly, I'm kind of glad he never found the money. I'm not sure what film could live up to that level of ambition.

For me, what's most interesting about this documentary is how much I disagree with its thesis. This film clearly wants us to see Jodorowsky's Dune as the greatest film never made. I'm not buying it. Jodorowsky admits that he had not read the novel when he started getting his team (he called them "spiritual warriors"; the whole thing seems rather cultlike) together, and when it becomes apparent that his film would deviate from the novel in many significant ways, he claims that he was "raping Frank Herbert...with love". I don't care if that's a metaphor; raping *anyone* with love is an oxymoron. I am a fan of the novel, which might be biasing my thinking here, but I doubt anyone but the most hardcore Jodorowsky devotees would ever want to sit through this film, had it been made. So maybe the greedy studios were right to withhold backing.

None of this is to say that Jodorowsky's Dune is itself without merits. As a study in how making art is a series of compromises, and how one charismatic visionary can sweep others up in dreaming the impossible dream with him, it's enlightening. Jodorowsky is a jovial, engaging fellow, and when you consider that the team he assembled for this film included Dan O'Bannon, H.R. Giger, and Moebius, it's not difficult to accept that some of their ideas for this film later found their way into later sci-fi classics that did get made. If nothing else, you will marvel at the sheer absurdity of it all. The 70s were a good time to be a groundbreaking auteur. But not everyone gets to be Scorsese.

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