*** out of ****
In the new documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, director Frank Pavich looks at cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's wildly ambitious attempt to adapt the sci-fi novel "Dune" in the mid-70s.
Jodorowsky's efforts took place after Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey but before Star Wars made big budget sci-fi commonplace. The Mexican director recruited a host of talented young artists like Dan O'Bannon (who would later write Alien) and H.R. Giger (who would later design the monster in Alien), as well as the comic book artist Moebius, to help him realize his vision. He also managed to convince the likes of Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, and Salvador Dali to appear in the film.
The movie was thoroughly storyboarded before being scrapped (Hollywood studios thought it was superb but too risky financially), so viewers get a bit of a feel of what certain scenes would have been like. However, in the end, all that can be determined is that Jodorowsky certainly dreamed big.
What ifs have a seductive allure about them, in film and in other aspects of life. If it didn't happen, you can always project your best-possible-scenario dreams onto the event and assume it would have been wonderful. And Jodorowsky's film may have been wonderful if completed. But it also could've been a train wreck, albeit one with terrific visuals.
The most interesting tidbit in the film is that many of the artists who worked on it or saw storyboards of it incorporated some of its designs and ideas into sci-fi films that did get made, like Star Wars, Alien, and others.
At a brief 90 minutes, Jodorowsky's Dune is a fun ride for film and sci-fi buffs. Others can likely skip it.