The most influential science fiction never made.
There’s no other way to put it. The names involved with this film resonate across all of pop culture, and specifically the sci-fi films that followed this film, that never shot a single frame…
I wanted to see this one as soon as I heard about it, the struggle of adapting Dune to the big or small screen has always been a fairly insurmountable task, and this version, while completely different from the book, would no doubt have left movie-goers stunned, some, no doubt, scratching their heads, some proclaiming their love for it, and others hating it.
But it would have been an event.
Being developed before Star Wars was being negotiated, Alejandro Jodorowsky had some very familiar names associated with his film as he worked to create worlds, characters, sets, and a look….
Gary Kurtz, who would later produce Star Wars, was on board, Pink Floyd was lined up to do the music for the world of Dune, and specifically the family Atreides, artist Chris Foss was designing ships, Jean Giraud, better known as Mobius, was designing the look of characters, sets… Right there alongside him, was H.R. Giger, who met Dan O’Bannon during the development of the film, and would later work with him and Ridley Scott on the iconic Alien.
Salvador Dali was cast as the mad Emperor!
Jodorowsky cast his own son, Brontis, in the lead role of Paul, and had David Carradine locked in as Duke Leto.
The film explores the way the development team came together, the vision that Jodorowsky had for adapting Frank Herbert’s novel, which he’d never read, and the sheer audacity of what he wanted to accomplish… just a few short years before Star Wars changed the whole game.
It would be a very different world had this version of Dune been made, and it’s hard to tell how it would have turned out, but because it didn’t, it has actually had influences on so many science fiction films that have.
The documentary itself is an engrossing experience, as storyboards are brought to life through animation, as photos of the time are paraded across and you’re stunned at the names and faces you recognize.
And through the film, they keep showing this huge book, and only two of them are known to still exist, of all the storyboards, all the production art, everything that was developed for the film to sell it to potential studios and backers… I would so love to simply pour over it, reading the film that Jodorowsky envisioned.
It would have been something…
If you love behind the scenes stuff, if you love sci-fi films, you love film, you owe it to yourself to check this one out!