Jodorowsky’s Dune (2014)

jodorowskys_dune_ver3By: Matt Conway (A Toast) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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While some may disagree, to me the start of 2014 has  been extremely weak as far as movies go, even with a fair share of really good films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Enemy, The Double, and The Lego Movie. Aside from that, this year in general has been extremly inconsistent, with a lot of weekends filled with rather crappy films. This is especially the case in mainstream cinema it seems, which, aside from a very few exceptions, has largely been filled with very much by the numbers films.

This has brought up a question for me that I have been pondering a lot recently. Is original filmmaking dying out? Many movies that have been released this year have basically been either reboots, remakes, or just based on very formulaic ideas. This leads to the summer movie season, where almost all of the new releases are based off other source material. This does not make these movies bad persay, but most of these films are turning out to be executed with very mixed results. The new documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune addresses this conundrum in a lot of ways, and does not only take its audience on a journey with a great filmmaker, but inspires hope about film and its future.

Jodorowsky’s Dune follows legendary cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky, and his recollection of trying to make one of the most ambitious films of all time.

A Toast 

From a filmmaking perspective, Jodorowsky’s Dune is a very well put together film. Director Frank Pavich does a very solid job at making this documentary visually interesting in several ways. Some animated storyboards and other visual sources aren’t only appealing to the eye, but give audiences a realization of Jodorowsky’s creative vision. Pavich does a great job of displaying Jodorowsky’s vision in general, even though there are few visual sources to base that off of. As an audience, you really get an understanding of who Jodorowsky is, which is to Pavich’s credit.

...and his "unique" perspective.
…and his “unique” perspective.

Pavich also does a lot of great managerial jobs as the director. The pacing here is very tight, as the movie keeps moving at a consistently face pace. The film’s 83 minute running time flies by in a flash. Pavich also has a great job of having a clear direction of where he wants this film to go and how it is going to get there. A lot of times, documentaries get sidetracked, but Jodorowsky’s Dune‘s secondary story aspects are more amusing notes than anything that diverts from the film itself.

In a lot of ways, Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of the most entertaining films of the year, and I largely attribute this to Jodorowsky himself. As someone who was not very aware of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s personality, it’s easy to see how his personality has led to the films he has made. Jodorowsky is a man with such a passion and love for filmmaking, but also  great charisma. This made his memories about the processes of developing the film not only very informative, but often times quite funny and always leaving an impact.

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There is also his great cat.

What establishes Jodorowsky’s Dune as one of the better documentaries of recent memory is its strong emotional core. Due to his great interviews, as an audience it’s easy to get behind Jodorowsky and his project, and it hurts even more when the project reached its untimely demise.  This made the movie in a lot of ways very bittersweet, but the fact that Jodorowsky has recently returned from a 35 year hiatus with The Dance of Reality left me quite happy.

At the end of the day, Jodorowsky’s Dune is an incredibly inspirational film. Alejandro throughout the film talks about the importance of following yours dreams and creative side no matter the cost. That message in a lot of ways has been told before, but through Alejandro’s perspective, this concept really hits home. Even through the hardships that the project caused him, in the end Jodorowsky was glad he went through it, which struck a cord with me.

Verdict 

Easily one of my favorite films of the year so far, Jodorowsky’s Dune is a fascinating detour into the mind of one of the most out of the box director’s there is. Like Jodorowsky himself, the film has a lot of great laughs and an even bigger heart.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for each wtf moment Jodorowsky describes

Take a Drink: during each great animated sequence

Do a Shot: for Jodorowsky himself, he deserves the honor

About Matt Conway

I love movies and sports and run on sentences. You can find me at a basketball court, the local theater, or napping on a couch somewhere.

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