Jodorowsky’s DUNE

The coming of age of a small boy on a desert planet, destined to save the universe from a dark and imperial evil.  Before George Lucas, before Star Wars, before the Skywalker family, there was Arakis, there was Paul…there was Jodorowsky’s DUNE!

When it comes to  films, I’m not the biggest fan of documentaries.  There are a few, like GO FAR, that I’ve really loved and occasionally ones that I appreciate seeing – Jiro Dreams of Sushi – but rarely will I go to the theater to see a documentary.  Recently, I spent an evening attending a screening of Jodorowsky’s DUNE the epic story of the film based on Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking science-fantasy tale that was never finished.  I’d heard about it for a long while and knew I needed to see it when it released in the US.

The recent passing of H.R. Giger, the artist who famously designed the Xenomorph for Ridley Scott’s Alien and worked on concept art of the Harkonen homeworld in Jodorowsky’s effort, put seeing this film at the forefront.  The rest was simply to take the puzzle pieces I was aware of surrounding this Dune film and what came after; from Star Wars to Alien, Flash Gordon to Lynch’s Dune, Jodorowsky’s effort touched them all.   As Jodorowski’s efforts to make his version of Dune faltered, the rights to the property were bought by the DeLaurentis family (known for Flash Gordon and Lynch’s Dune).  H.R. Giger went to work with Ridley Scott on Alien and took his concept designs with him for Gedi Prime that heavily influenced creating the alien.  After Alien, Scott attached himself – as director – to what would become Lynch’s Dune before leaving the project after the passing of one of his brothers and directing Blade Runner.  Concept art, costuming, and casting of the earlier effort found it’s way into the production of Flash Gordon, as did Jodorowski’s effort to have the soundtrack of his Dune done by popular rock talent (Pink Floyd and Magma); Flash Gordon was actually the first film to do this and Queen’s theme for the film remains a cult favorite piece of movie music.  A decade after Jodorowsky began his effort, the DeLaurentis Dune film would hire Brian Eno and Toto to score the Lynch film and cast Sting to play Feyd Rautha not unlike Jodorowsky casting McJagger.

In Jodorowsky’s take on Dune, Paul is killed by Feyd and one by one the crowd channels the classic Spartacus by exclaiming “I am Paul”.  He then goes on to make the observation that though his film efforts died a similar death, those that came after – Star Wars, Flash Gordon, and Lynch’s Dune – are quietly whispering “I am Dune”.



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About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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