Jodorowsky Reviews Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ Trailer: ‘Very Well Done’ but ‘Everything Is Predictable’

Zack Sharf
·3 min read

Warner Bros. caused a stir among moviegoers last week with the official trailer debut for Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” the latest film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s legendary science-fiction novel. Alejandro Jodorowsky famously tried and failed to mount a “Dune” movie in the 1970s (his pursuit was chronicled in the 2013 documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”), and he tells France’s Le Point Pop (via Premiere magazine) this week that he wishes for Villeneuve’s “Dune” to be nothing but a “great success.” What did Jodorowsky think of the trailer? His reactions are a bit mixed.

“I saw the trailer. It’s very well done,” Jodorowsky said. “We can see that it is industrial cinema, that there is a lot of money, and that it was very expensive. But if it was very expensive, it must pay in proportion. And that is the problem: There [are] no surprises. The form is identical to what is done everywhere. The lighting, the acting, everything is predictable.”

Jodorowsky continued, “Industrial cinema is incompatible with auteur cinema. For the former, money comes before. For the second, it’s the opposite, whatever the quality of a director, whether my friend Nicolas Winding Refn or Denis Villeneuve. Industrial cinema promotes entertainment, it is a show that is not intended to change humanity or society.”

In an interview with IndieWire at the beginning of August, Jodorowsky remained skeptical that any director could successfully pull off a “Dune” film adaptation. After Jodorowsky failed in the 1970s, David Lynch stepped in to mount a “Dune” adaptation in the 1980s. Lynch’s “Dune” was released in 1984, but the director lost final cut and disliked the theatrical release so much that he lobbied to get his name off it.

“‘Dune’ is a book that’s like Proust. It’s science fiction but it’s very, very literary,” Jodorowsky told IndieWire. “It’s very difficult to find images to put in the film because pictures are optical…The first time they said it was safe to do ‘Dune,’ and [David Lynch] did it, I was ill, because it was my dream. They showed the picture in Paris, and my son said, ‘You need to see the picture.’ I was ill to do that. Ill. And then they start to show the picture, and step by step, I was so happy because it was a shitty picture. I realized, ‘Dune,’ nobody can do it. It’s a legend.”

Warner Bros. is scheduled to open Villeneuve’s “Dune” in theaters December 18.

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