One of the greatest movies never made, Alejandro Jodorowsky – famous for his midnight movies El Topo and The Holy Mountain – spent two years in the seventies attempting to make an adaptation of Frank Hebert’s Dune, only for his efforts to be spent in vain. Assembling an international cast and an amazing crew of visual artists, the film might have come out in 1975 and altered the course of cinema forever. It didn’t happen, but now Jodorowsky and many others who worked on the film have been interviewed for the movie Jodorowsky’s Dune, which gives us a look at what might have been. My Jodorowsky’s Dune Blu-ray review follows after the jump.
Smartly kept to a ninety minute running time, the film is mostly told from Jodorowsky’s perspective as he wanted to make a film that would give people the experience of being on LSD while sober. He enlisted producer Michel Seydoux to help get the rights, and started working with artists like Dan O’Bannon, Jean Giraud (AKA Moebius), Chris Foss and H.R. Giger to design the worlds of Arakis and House Harkonen.
The film also gets into the casting process, with Jorodowsky courting people like Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger, Orson Welles and David Carradine to be in the movie, with his son Brontis Jodorowsky set to play Paul Atreides. Though much of the film is dedicated to showing how the director was getting everything into place and how he went about working on the movie, the film is at its most fascinating when getting a glimpse at the film that could have been, with numerous storyboard and script passages shown from the book Jodorowsky put together to help sell the movie in Hollywood.
These interviews are also helped along by comments from filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn and critics Devin Faraci and Drew McWeeney, who point out that even if this Dune didn’t happen, its fingerprints are visible in a number of films that came after.
Unfortunately, though the material is fascinating enough if you care about the project, the filmmakers are limited to a mostly talking head approach, with new and archival interviews telling the story, and with Jodorowsky subtitled regardless if he’s speaking in Spanish or English. It’s all fairly interesting, but it’s also a film that is a DVD supplement for a movie that never happened. For fans of the director, and for those curious about the production, there is some new information, though many of the anecdotes have been shared before (the story about casting Welles has been around for a while). It’s good to hear them, but in an era where many films have elaborate making of supplements, it doesn’t come close to offering the insight of something like Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse, still the gold standard for looks behind movies, so it’s a little underwhelming. The problem is that there’s nothing so much revealed as things are presented that may have never been seen before. It’s fascinating, but not revelatory
Sony’s Blu-ray presents film in widescreen (1.78:1) and in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. A DVD copy is also included. The film’s transfer is fine, it looks straight ported over as the film was shot with high end video, but there’s nothing about the film or the disc that makes it worth buying or renting in the Blu-ray format. Extras are limited to the film’s theatrical trailer and nine additional scenes (46 min.) that offer more details on the film’s near-production and some of the scenes that would have been in the film.