The Importance of Dune: Part 1 – The Sleeper Has Awakened, by Tom Luongo

One of the main themes of Dune was the concentration of power, which is certainly relevant today. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Last year I wrote two editorials for the Newsletter in sympathy with Denis Villeneuve’s film, Dune, originally suppose to come out last December. This one was published in the September 2020 issue when the election was the dominant issue of the day. The movie is now out but won’t come to the U.S. until next month and I think it appropriate to publish it now with everything happening in the world today. It’s been edited slightly to bring it up to date.


There are few things I’m more looking forward to than the first of two films by Denis Villeneuve bringing to life Frank Herbert’s classic science-fiction novel Dune.  And it isn’t just because I’m a big fan of the book, which is an intricately-plotted treatise on religion, gender, power and politics, but because its ideas are perfected suited for this period of history.

Because this story, unlike a lot of recent blockbuster films, should scare the pants off our political leaders as they will see themselves onscreen in their various guises.  And that fear may be enough to waken the sleeper, in the parlance of the book, the silent majority now staring at a bleak future post COVID-19.

In the hands of Denis Villeneuve, a film-maker perfectly suited to the material, we could be looking at a movie which becomes a turning point in the culture war.   Villeneuve is one of the few people working today who can marry bold visual storytelling with complex narrative while not browbeating his audience. Watch The Arrival, Sicario or, my favorite, Blade Runner 2049 (see my original thoughts/review here) to get a sense of what we’re in store for.

He reminds me of Ridley Scott at his best, which Scott hasn’t been at for decades.

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