The saddest of these are What Might Have Been…
We open up with a bit of history about the very odd films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, such as El Topo. He’s not a formally trained film maker and he liked to make movies starring himself and his young son, who we see in a bit of full frontal nudity. In 1975 it seems that no one really wanted to make a film version of Dune, so when Alejandro asked if he could do it, they said sure, knock yourself out.
The bulk of Jodorowsky’s Dune is interviews with the handful of people who worked on the production and occasional shots of concept art and a massive storyboard book. The artwork is amazing and Jodorowsky did an incredible job of finding truly talented people who agreed to work on this project. The story takes baffling turns as he gets Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine, Mick Jagger, and Amanda Lear to star in DUNE. On the music front he gets, wait for it, Pink Floyd and Magma. On the visual creative front he gets H. R. Giger, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud for set and character design and Dan O’Bannon for special effects.
To say this would have been one weird ass film is putting it mildly. Oh, and he was horrified when they asked him to bring it in under two hours. He was thinking more along the lines of, oh, say 14 hours. It should not have come as a surprise that none of the major studios wanted to bankroll this movie. But they were all impressed with his massive storyboard/script. Which brings us to the real impact of Dune.
Parts of the artwork inspired later projects such as Star Wars, The Terminator, and Alien. It was Jodorowsky who brought Giger into the world of film, and Alien is all about the artwork of Giger. But unlike A.E. van Vogt and Harlan Ellison, Alejandro Jodorowsky didn’t sue these mega successful films for ripping off his work. He did sue the director of The Fifth Element, which is easily the least successful of the films he claims stole his ideas.
One odd bit about this film is that parts are in English, and parts are in other languages. Even Alejandro himself can’t keep to one tongue as he slips in and out of English. This doesn’t ruin the film, but it does make you pay attention to it, as you have to constantly be reading subtitles.Jodorowsky’s Dune was a very interesting movie. I can’t say that I’m sorry Dune wasn’t made at this time, but it does make you wonder what it would have been like. The nine hour version of Solaris is the closest thing that comes to mind.