Blu-ray Review: Jodorowsky's Dune

STUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Frank Pavich
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 7/8/2014 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $40.99
BONUSES: deleted scenes
SPECS: PG-13 | 90 min. | Documentary | 1.78:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

The entertaining 2013 documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune looks at the great cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky—he  of  (Santa Sangre, El Topo and The Holy Mountain fame—and his  ambitious attempts in the late Seventies to direct a feature film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s futuristic best-selling novel Dune.

Jodorowsky's Dune movie scene

Artwork by H.R. Giger designed for a film that was never made is on display in Jodorowsky's Dune.

Often referred to as “The Greatest Science Fiction Movie Never Made” (the ill-fated project was ultimately written and directed by David Lynch in 1984, an idiosyncratic but not-great endeavor), Jodorowsky’s 1975 plans for Dune had it starring his own 12-year-old son alongside Orson Welles (Jodorowsky offered him on-set catering by the finest chef in Paris), Salvador Dali (he promised to make him the “highest paid performer in the history of cinema”), Mick Jagger and David Carradine. Further, Jodorowsky’s Dune would feature the music of Pink Floyd and conceptual art and production designs by two of the late, great provocative artists of the era: H.R. Giger, the bio-mechanical artistic genius behind Alien and comic artist extraordinaire Jean “Moebius” Giraud.

For Jodorowsky’s Dune, Jodorowsky granted director Frank Pavich access to all of his production materials, including the extraordinary, oversized book of meticulous story boards by Giger and Moebius which Jodorowsky used to pitch his film to Hollywood studios. And Jodorowsky is on-board for the doc, too, providing a candid and energetic interview about the film that was never to be, which he liked to a cinematic acid trip. Also popping up for comments are producer of the never-made film Michel Seydoux; comic artist Chris Foss, who designed spaceships and vehicles for the aborted project; and filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), who spent an evening with Jodorowsky and saw  the awesomeness of the filmmaker’s hardbound storyboard book.

The primary bonus feature on the disc is a collection of some 50 minutes of deleted scenes, which are led by by additional candid and energetic comments by Jodorowsky, who is the main engine behind the film, artwork, posters and other testimonials notwithstanding. Like some sort of possessed, artistic prophet, he declares his excitement about the material and his goal to make one of the greatest, immersive sci-fi movies in the history of cinema. His final declaration about money being the soulless root of all evil anti-artistry of the movie business says it all:

“This system makes of us slaves—without dignity, without depth, with a devil in our pocket. This money, this shit, this nothing—this paper that has nothing inside…”

 

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.