So there’s a new movie coming out. Maybe you saw the trailer for it. Some sci-fi flick called Dune, based on a famous novel. But say you haven’t read it. Well, it just looks like Star Wars except all on that desert planet and no lightsabers. With giant worms, right?
The novel Dune, which predates Star Wars, is one of the most acclaimed sci-fi novels of all time. We tried (and most people say failed) to put it on screen, once with David Lynch in the 80s, and once as a cheap SciFi channel series in 2000. So who knows what this iteration from the maker of Blade Runner 2049 will be like?
One thing is for sure, though. Dune is relevant. It’s the story of a young man at the center of a galactic scramble for power over a single desert planet that has nothing of value except the most prized substance in the universe. But it’s about a lot more than that.
Here’s 8 reasons why Dune is a relevant story:
With debates about climate science never disappearing, the story of an entire planet nearly lifeless teaches us about our relationship to the ecosystem. The planet was terraformed by humans, and the resource they extract has everything to do with the landscape, and vise versa.
Conflict in the Middle East
A bunch of nations converge in a desert region to extract a resources necessary for travel, but have to consider the native population, who are devoutly religious and territorial. Some people want to white them all out, others sympathize with them. The planet is also named…Arrakis. Sound familiar?
The Effects of Narcotics
That valuable resource? It’s actually a drug. People snort it to travel through space, among other things. The main character is introduced to it as a way to perceive his role in the bigger picture, his destiny. But are there any bad side effects? Where do you draw the line between an ability enhancer and a crippling addition?
It’s Game of Thrones in Space
Minus the nudity. And not as many characters to have to keep track of. And instead of dragons, sandworts.
It Combines Every Genre Out There
A little bit of everything, really. It’s a sci-fi tale. It’s a political thriller. Environmental parable. Military epic. Spiritual sojourn. Weird trip.
It’s About Political Corruption
Oh yeah. When is that not relevant, right? Just take for example, the bad guy. He’s this fat redhead who’s full of himself and promotes his incompetent family to positions of power. And that’s just a piece of it.
Wearing a Mask Could Save Your Life
Check out these tribal people. They’re called the Fremen. Their planet is so dry they have to wear specialized jammies to retain their moisture, complete with a mask to capture all the water in their breath. Taking off your mask exposes you to danger. But don’t be afraid. After all, as they say in Dune, “Fear is the mind-killer.”
And Yeah, It’s Like Star Wars, But Not
I love Star Wars as much as the next guy, but Dune runs deeper. Like Augustine said, “The mind commands the body.” The world of Dune may have less species diversity than Star Wars, less planets to visit and no lightsabers, but the philosophical and cultural impact of Dune avoids the pop symbolism of Star Wars and digs into the deep meanings of what it means to have power, to have a sense of place, to become aware of your senses, to be a legend.