Jodorowsky ’s Dune – Cudos to a mad genius!
‘The best science fiction movie never made’. this is how the 2014 documentary “Jodorowsky ’s Dune” refers to the chilean director’s monumental Dune adaptation, perfectly capturing what John Herbert’s classic sci-fi could of turned into in the hands of this „mad genius”.
Chilean-born director Alejando Jodorowsky built up an excellent reputation for himself on the avante-garde movie scene with his previous works, the acid western El Topo and his surrealist exploration of the western esotericism, The Holy Mountain. Though these movies have failed to gain widespread distribution, they both became classics on the underground film cicruit. After his failed attempt to create his own „cinematographical God” as he tend to call Dune, he still went on to produce three more movies, the family film Tusk, a surrealistic horror called Santa Sangre and a failed blockbuster called The Rainbow Thief. But he always considered his own twisted take on Dune as his main art. He even wrote a series of comic books called The Incal based on his Dune story. He never gave up on making the movie. What is it if not total dedication to your dreams? We also believe that his take on the Dune universe perfectly symbolises what an extraordinary, uncompromising mind he had.
He imagined a breathtaking world, a movie which basically gives the same experience to people as LSD does. A surrealistic trip of madness with a trendemous amount of religious details and controversies. He wanted to liberate the minds of the young generations of his time. He admittedly aimed to create a „prophet”, a „new religion”, giving Dune as his artistical, cinematographical „God” to the people. This may sound quite insane at first glance, but we have to approve the man’s dedication and vision!
And what a vision that was! Spacecrafts sporting the whole spectrum of the rainbow, terrifying, skull-shaped castles, entire planets made out of pure gold, burning giraffes (!), and virgins getting pregnant by a drop of royal blood. A surrealistic carnival of a bondless mind.
To achieve perfection, he surrounded himself with like-minded, free-spirited geniuses, real legends of the industry. Moebius drew a fascinating storyboard, Dann O’Bannon would have been responsible for the visual effects, H.R. Giger and Chriss Foss designed the world view, Salvador Dalí was to play the role of the Mad Emperor, one of the main characters, while Orson Welles would have been Baron Harkonnen. The soundtrack of the movie was to be done by no smaller name than Pink Floyd! And to add another highlight about how committed he was to the project; he even trained his own son in many forms of martial arts from the age of 12, just to prepare the kid for the movie’s main role, ruining a part of his childhood, as the chilean master later admitted.
They spent more than two years in production when the studios shut down the project. But their work was not in vain; we can find Dune’s fingerprints all over on many great movies of the sci-fi scene, as Jodorowsky’s legendary staff went on to work with the Hollywood studios. Star Wars, Matrix, Alien are just a couple of names from the illoustrious list of films influenced by „The greatest movie Never made.”
Should someone wish to know more about the best sci-fi never made (and you should), we highly recommend watching the documentary ’Jodorowsky’s Dune’.