If you’re a sci-fi film fan, you need to see Jodorowsky’s Dune. If you are a fan of Dune, book or movie, stop what you are doing and watch it right now. It’s simply mind-blowing.
Before Star Wars, there was Jodorowsky’s Dune: a film so visionary that it changed SF films forever. Why haven’t you watched this amazing film? Because it was never made.
In the mid 1970s, Jodorowsky was mainly known for cult films like El Topo and The Holy Mountain, not SF. One day–on a whim, apparently–he decided that his next project would be Dune, merely one of the greatest SF novels of all time. He had never read the book. Jodorowsky had an incredible eye for talent, which he used to identify and recruit artists like Moebius, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Dan O’Bannon well before they became famous. Together, they created a storyboard that was both far out and ahead of its time. Then through guile, charisma, and dumb luck, Jodorowsky managed to meet and line up A-list personalities to star in the film including Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, David Carradine, and Pink Floyd.
Ultimately, the film was never made because no studio was bold enough to take a risk on an “unproven” director with such a crazy, uncompromising vision. Despite this, the “film” had a profound influence on SF films. Giger, Foss, and O’Bannon went on to create Alien. Some of the shots from the Dune storyboard became famous shots in subsequent films like Star Wars and Contact. Dune was ultimately made into a movie that was a shell of Jodorowsky’s storyboard, and we are left wondering “what if?” Jodorowsky’s Dune could have been 2001…or a disaster. Either way, it was brilliant and unique. We need more such films and film makers willing to break the mold.
Here’s the thing: what made Jodorowsky’s Dune so groundbreaking wasn’t just the cutting edge visuals but its vision. Dune is about the spiritual awakening of the prophet, Paul Atreides. The people who worked on the film were drawn to this vision and changed by it in some way. In a sense, the making of the film was itself a spiritual journey. As I have written elsewhere, SF is highly suited to the making of visionary, thought-provoking films, but sadly, too many SF films today are all flash and little substance.
So I’ve told you basically the entire plot of the documentary. Why watch it then? Because Jodorowsky is magnetic. His passion and energy is infectious. When you hear him tell it, the story takes a life of its own. Watch it and experience it for yourself.