A Comparison of 2021 America to Our Futuristic Science Fiction Movie Timeline

Joel Eisenberg

How close have our sci-fi filmmakers been, really, to predicting our future?

Futuristic Movie TimelineGoogle Images

The first two years of this decade have arguably introduced global change unlike any other equivalent period. Turn on the news and words like “dystopia” and “apocalypse” are no longer relegated to fiction.

This is, then, a uniquely appropriate time to begin this piece, an examination of prescience in one of our most popular entertainment forms: science fiction movies.

It can be argued that there are innumerable science fiction films that belong in the above list and are not, among them: “Mad Max,” The Road Warrior,” and possibly “The Road,” “A Boy and His Dog” and, in a stretch, “The Man Who Fell To Earth” and even “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”

I’m certain there are many more still. Adaptations of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” “Things to Come,” “1984” (any version), “Brave New World” (either version), the “Planet of the Apes” sequels and most recent trilogy, “Blade Runner 2049” and the 2021 remake of “Dune” come to mind, as do a host of 1950s and 1960s classic monster movies.

The above list is incomplete, and the date of release of the last film on the list is 2009 (assuming “Star Trek” as the J.J. Abrams film).

So let’s assume one of two things: 1) the above meme was created somewhere around 2009–2010, or 2) the meme is recent, and allows for a 10+ year gap to speculate on modern times.

I’ll assume the latter, and move forward from there.

We’ll get to as many of the unlisted films as possible in a follow-up piece, but for now will remain with those in the above list. I’ll address all the films in the meme, and score them based on specific prescience to today’s world, along with overall relevance measures (Prescience Score) on a scale of 1–10 based on the world of today, and also — up to “Blade Runner” — the year in which the film took place (as based on the meme).

Though many of the films take place in years far beyond the 2020s, my scores will reflect the films’ modern-day relevancy.

Note too the plots as incorporated below have been studio-approved and considered “official.”

Here we go …

A Clockwork Orange (1971):

“A Clockwork Orange,” the first film on the list, is critically my favorite film of all-time. (I say “critically,” as my weakness for 1977’s “Star Wars” and 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” are its equals in my affections.)

“A Clockwork Orange”Warner Brothers

Plot: In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn’t go as planned.

Prescience: Among the numerous themes in “A Clockwork Orange” are the cost of free will, prison reform, government intervention, state brainwashing, civil disorder, the desensitization of violence and political manipulation.

One year following Donald Trump’s controversial presidency and increasingly tenuous world affairs exacerbated by our current pandemic, many of these themes, and more from the film, will likely become more relevant in the coming years.

Prescience Score: 9/10 for today’s world; 6/10 for 1995

Escape from New York (1981):

John Carpenter’s follow-up to “Halloween” has become a genre classic in the proceeding years, punctuated by Kurt Russell’s iconic turn as Snake Plissken. A long-awaited sequel, “Escape From L.A.,” was released in 1996 to a middling critical and commercial reception.

“Escape From New York”Avco-Embassy Pictures

Plot: In 1997, when the U.S. president crashes into Manhattan, now a giant maximum security prison, a convicted bank robber is sent in to rescue him.

Prescience: Discomforting, for one. New York City is a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland. While we’re not there, thankfully, in 2020 America, the city does have the highest number of tested Covid-19 positive cases in the country, and TV news shots of an empty Times Square are horrific. That aside, the film is an immensely fun ride but still, as Empire Magazine says: This is a product of post-Vietnam/Watergate America, a world of political distrust and widespread anti-establishment ferver.

Prescience Score: 5/10 for today’s world; 2/10 for 1997

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):

One of two Stanley Kubrick classic’s on the list, based in part on Arthur C. Clarke’s 1948 short story, “The Sentinel.”

“2001: A Space Odyssey”United Artists

Plot: After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.

Prescience: Plenty. Technologically, video calls are now pocket-sized and a function of any smartphone. The spaceflight as portrayed was scientifically sound. Sentient computer HAL 9000 has inspired real life counterparts that exist today. Themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology and artificial intelligence abound. Further, the film has had a major impact on generations of filmmakers and other creative artists, many of whom have been directly or indirectly responsible for the look and function of today’s technology.

Prescience Score: 10/10 for today’s world; 6/10 for 2001

Freejack (1992):

Read the plot, below. That’s about all you need to know. Not much here, folks.

“Freejack”Warner Brothers

Plot: Bounty hunters from the future transport a doomed race car driver to New York City in 2009, where his mind will be replaced with that of a dead billionaire.

Prescience: Very little, save for yet another dystopian vision of vague familiar imagery to today’s novel coronavirus era TV news viewers.

Prescience Score: 2/10 for today’s world; 1/10 for 2009

The Postman (1997):

The flag in the below poster, one hopes, does not prove formally prescient. I’d personally just as soon return to the same old for a hundred personal reasons, but time will tell. “The Postman” was based on the critically acclaimed David Brin novel of the same name.

“The Postman”Warner Brothers

Plot: A nameless drifter dons a postman’s uniform and bag of mail as he begins a quest to inspire hope to the survivors living in post-apocalyptic America.

Prescience: Yet another post-apocalyptic world, this one taking place in the year 2013. Surprisingly, though the film was not well-received, the themes from Brin’s book have largely survived, and remain substantive in the film. According to Wikipedia: Sixteen-plus years after unspecified apocalyptic events, starting with the breakdown of society through “hate crimes and racially motivated attacks by a militia-like group” … progressing to war, followed by plagues that collectively left a huge impact on human civilization and erased most technology …

Scary, especially considering the course of today’s Covid-19 pandemic, our divisive politics and upcoming election.

Prescience Score: 8/10 for today’s world (possibly higher for tomorrow’s); 4/10 for 2013

Robocop (1987):

Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop” was a substantial critical and popular hit, that was followed by several sequels, a television series, and a remake.


Plot: In a dystopic and crime-ridden Detroit, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg haunted by submerged memories.

Prescience: And yet another dystopia, this one where crime runs rampant and new police tech is created to fight the scourge. Said by Film School Rejects to be a Christian allegory about the Resurrection told through the guise of science fiction, and an examination of human identity in an age of rapid technological advancement, the film is widely interpreted. Down-to-earth themes include business corruption, civil unrest as a result of political scandals, and economic downturns including vast unemployment, the fractured Detroit tech industry, capitalism …

Science fiction at its most powerful, and metaphorical.

Prescience Score: 9/10 for today’s world, 8/10 for 2015

Back to the Future Part II (1989):

My personal favorite of the trilogy. A hugely-fun, and smart, romp.

“Back to the Future, Part II”Universal

Plot: After visiting 2015, Marty McFly must repeat his visit to 1955 to prevent disastrous changes to 1985…without interfering with his first trip.

Prescience: Well, we cannot yet fly DeLoreans, but we do have hoverboards (that don’t quite float on air but nonetheless as a facsimile they’re not half-bad), sneakers that can tie themselves, an increase in practical robot usage, scanning of fingerprints and eyes (as opposed to doorknobs), bluetooth-type headseats and compter-enhanced eyewear. Otherwise, this is one of those films that’s immensely enjoyable, but anything more read into it in terms of themes is overanalyzing to my mind.

Prescience Score: 7/10 for today’s world (primarily for the tech), and 4/10 for 2015

The Running Man (1987):

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, the film was a moderate critical and commercial hit containing some surprising contemporary relevance.

“The Running Man”Tri-Star

Plot: A wrongly convicted man must try to survive a public execution gauntlet staged as a game show.

Prescience: Steven de Souza, in a podcast interview with Vice Magazine, reinforced the film’s themes of economic collapse and American’s reality television culture craze. The New York Post addressed, in 2019, that the film “correctly predicted … the widening gap between the rich and the poor,” as portrayed by shantytowns for the homeless and skyscrapers for the wealthy.

Prescience Score: 7.5/10 for today’s world; 7/10 for 2017

Rollerball (1975):

A sleeper hit, “Rollerball” has, no pun intended, more on the ball than may be considered at first glance. A remake was released in 2002.

“Rollerball”United Artists

Plot: In a corporate-controlled future, an ultra-violent sport known as Rollerball represents the world, and one of its powerful athletes is out to defy those who want him out of the game.

Prescience: The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the rise of what some once called “human cockfighting” became a recognized, and hugely popular sport, decades after the release of Norman Jewison’s sleeper hit. The comparison I make is apt: No-holds-barred violent sport being no-holds-barred violent sport, something that would not have existed 45 years ago save for the world of speculative fiction. In this case, the sport of Rollerball is an ultra-violent Roller Derby. Sports are corporately-funded, the rich are oblivious to everyone else and celebrity culture is what is most meaningful to the masses. There’s intelligence here to spare. An underrated film, more than simply violent action.

Prescience Score: 7.5/10 for today’s world; 7/10 for 2018

Blade Runner (1982):

Philip K. Dick’s finest hour and an all-time classic. Also my choice for the most egregiously wrong Oscar-vote ever — the special effects for “E.T.” did not deserve the win over “Blade Runner’s” glorious, though dank, mosaic. There are several cuts of the original film; this piece is based on the first, inclusive of Ford’s narration, though I preferred subsequent edits. “Blade Runner 2049” was a critically well-received 2017 sequel that premiered to disappointing box office returns.

“Blade Runner”The Ladd Company

Plot: A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space, and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Prescience: Where do we start? Is Harrison Ford’s Deckard a replicant? Is the human soul forever to be questioned? Do human-like robots exist today? Sure, though the tech is not yet fully there for completely convincing facsimiles. Digital billboards are omnipresent. Climate change is here.We talk to our computers, and corporations engage our lives more than ever before.

Prescience Score: 9/10 for today’s world; 8.5/10 for 2019 (half a point less for the 2020 dystopian comparisons)

Soylent Green (1973):

“Soylent Green is people!” One of the most quoted movie lines throughout my public school education …

Based on Harry Harrison’s 1966 novel, “Make Room! Make Room!”

‘Soylent Green”MGM

Plot: In the world ravaged by the greenhouse effect and overpopulation, an NYPD detective investigates the murder of a big company CEO.

Prescience: From Wikipedia: … a dystopian future of dying oceans and year-round humidity due to the greenhouse effect, resulting in suffering from pollution, poverty, overpopulation, euthanasia, and depleted resources.

“Soylent Green” is no masterpiece by any stretch; for much of its running time it’s a police procedural with a little more on its mind. But the themes as listed are immensely relevant to today’s world.

Prescience Score: 8.5/10 for today’s world; 2022 TBD

Children of Men (2006):

Based on P.D. James’ 1992 novel, “The Children of Men,” the highly-acclaimed film adaptation is largely faithful to its source material.

“Children of Men”Universal

Plot: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.

Prescience: A dystopian thriller with more on its mind than dirty streets and polluted air. Two decades of human infertility have led to a near-global societal collapse, and the remaining functioning government, in the United Kingdom, imposes inhumane immigration laws on refugees who have fled there. The film’s main theme is the dual promise of escape and hope.

In today’s novel coronavirus world, debates are ongoing as to whether our collective isolation, and the ensuing likelihood of an almost paranoid caution, will cause a notable decrease in pregnancies over the coming years.

Prescience Score: 8/10 for today’s world, with strong (and terrifying) potential to increase; 2027 TBD

12 Monkeys (1995):

Inspired by Chris Marker’s 1962 short, “La Jetée.” Read the plot, below. It’s enough.

Followed by a television series.

“12 Monkeys”Universal

Plot: In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

Prescience: “Man-made viruses” have been science fiction fodder for decades. Few are calling Covid-19 “man-made,” but those few are becoming increasingly loud and are largely among the most extreme of political party lines. The film is also, though, about hope following a plague.

Prescience Score: Let’s say 7.5/10 for today’s world, with the hope that this score does not increase; 2028 TBD

Demolition Man (1993):

An entertaining utopian vision renowned primarily for its tech predictions, and not much more.

“Demolition Man”Warner Brothers

Plot: A police officer is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent nemesis who is loose in a non-violent future society.

Prescience: Smartphone-type communication devices, haptic screens, and related technologies. Nothing much heftier than that.

Prescience Score: 5/10 for today’s world, for the tech; 2032 TBD

V For Vendetta (2006):

Based on Alan Moore’s 1988 limited comics series, the film is a stark, dystopian vision loaded with weighty themes.

“V For Vendetta”Warner Brothers

Plot: In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of “V”, plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.

Prescience: Cultural supremacy (Nordic, in this case), religion as cause and reason for fascism, terrorism, anarchy, fear, government oppression … revolution.

A dark and disturbing view that effectively serves as a warning to us all.

Prescience Score: 8/10 for today’s world, higher if we don’t hold ourselves to account; 2038 TBD

Event Horizon (1997):

The Shining in space” may well have been the pitch.

“Event Horizon”Paramount

Plot: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board.

Prescience: Not much. A jump-scare space film with excellent special effects.

Prescience Score: 1/10 for today’s world. Tell me what I’m missing. 2047 TBD.

Minority Report (2002):

One of Philip K. Dick’s finest short stories, as adapted by Steven Spielberg.

“Minority Report”20th Century Fox

Plot: In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Prescience: PreCrime likely will not become realized in our lifetimes, unless psychic precogs are discovered, cherry-picked and hired for their skills. Tongue-in-cheek nature of the comment aside, the film represented a plausible future based on its tech. Comparable to “Blade Runner” in several of its themes, “Minority Report” seemed to critique the Cheney Doctrine’s real-life preemptive strike methodology as it regarded counter-terrorism agencies. The film’s primary theme is philosophical: free will vs. determinism.

Prescience Score: 8/10 for today’s world; 2054 TBD

Total Recall (1990):

Another adapted from Philip K. Dick source material, but a lesser work cinematically than “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report.” Remade in 2012 to a general lack of interest and lackluster critical reception.

“Total Recall”Caralco

Plot: When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real — or does he?

Prescience: Can memories be changed? They can now. The technology is available. Medication is being tested in rats: ZIP, a new drug proposed for human use, is said to lessen the pain of traumatic memories. The film’s prescience is based largely on the philosophical questions it brings forth regarding memory control.

Prescience Score: 7/10 for today’s world, with promise; 2084 TBD

A.I. (2001):

Loosely based on the short story, “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss. Written and directed by Steven Spielberg. “A.I: Artifical Intelligence” was developed for years by Stanley Kubrick, who paused the project based on his belief that computer-generated imagery was not yet advanced enough to create the main character of android-child David, who he thought no human could portray. Haley Joel Osment (“The Sixth Sense”) played David in the finished film.

“A.I”Warner Brothers

Plot: A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become “real” so that he can regain the love of his human mother.

Prescience: Pinocchio with a futuristic twist, the resonance comes primarily from a possible future source towards which it appears we are speeding: Human-like androids with advanced A.I.

Will they love? Will they feel?

Prescience Score: 7/10 for today’s world; 2101 TBD but, I’d venture to guess, quite likely.

Alien (1979):

One of the finest horror films ever released. One of the finest science fiction films ever released. Followed by a series of sequels, and merchandising.

“Alien”20th Century Fox

Plot: After a space merchant vessel receives an unknown transmission as a distress call, one of the crew is attacked by a mysterious life form and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.

Prescience: Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley was a strong female hero in a dual-genre film of the nature that is usually scarce on strong female heroes. “Alien” was no simple scare-fest. It was smart, and cannily portrayed the parasitic nature of man’s greed — man being a synonym for humanity — and both the capabilities and limitations of science, which could not save us from our baser natures.

Prescience Score: 7/10 for today’s world; 2122 TBD

The Black Hole (1979):

A Disney flop, attempting to capitalize on “Star Wars” mania.

“The Black Hole”DIsney

Plot: A research vessel finds a missing ship, commanded by a mysterious scientist, on the edge of a black hole.

Prescience: Science as it was back then, though in 2014 astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson called the movie, “The least scientifically accurate film of all-time.” The film’s ending (which I will not spoil here) has been said to be a religious parable about the void, which I find to be a reach. The trope of blurred distinctions between robots and man are featured, and main character Dr. Rheinhart’s talk about “playing God” and the black hole representing “life undending” while quoting Genesis seems an intentional effort to add weight to a largely weightless affair.

Prescience Score: 4/10 for today’s world; 2130 TBD

Sleeper (1973):

An early Woody Allen satirical hit.

“Sleeper”United Artists

Plot: A nerdish store owner is revived out of cryostasis into a future world to fight an oppressive government.

Prescience: The controversial Woody Allen’s earliest films were zany satires tonally akin to Marx Brothers movies, and not at all as serious as his later product. “Sleeper” has been called by Tor.com “The most intellectual dystopia of all-time.” Themes included an Orwellian, Big Brother-esque future, the truth behind free will (it ain’t free), societal losses based on poor leadership, mind-control, bohemianism, consumerism and more.

Prescience Score: 7/10 for today’s world; 2173 TBD

The Matrix (1999):

Reality vs. invention, followed by two sequels with a third on the way.

“The Matrix”Warner Brothers

Plot: A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Prescience: The most influential science fiction film of recent years, “The Matrix” was a philosophical powerhouse exploring the powerful theme of individual choice and prudence in selecting the real world or an artificial world in which to live. As our technology continues to advance, and virtual reality is increasingly realistic, “The Matrix” has become more of a modern-day reflection of what we can do now to escape our present circumstance.

Prescience Score: 9/10 for today’s world; 2199 TBD

Forbidden Planet (1956):

One of the legendary 1950’s SF classics, said to be loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

“Forbidden Planet”MGM

Plot: A starship crew goes to investigate the silence of a planet’s colony only to find two survivors and a deadly secret that one of them has.

Prescience: Humanity’s threats from within and also through emerging technology. Love and human vulnerability are in abundance here, as are themes related to jealousy, greed and ego. But in terms of relevance, the idis featured prominently, as represented by a subconscious world-killer. The supremacy of technology as something more impressive and stronger than the weakness of the human is equally explored.

Prescience Score: 8/10 for today’s world, accurately representing human nature at its best and worst; 2220 TBD

The Fifth Element (1997):

Colorful. Bizarre and blazingly original.

“The Fifth Element”Columbia

Plot: In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay.

Prescience: It should be noted that director Luc Besson denied in an interview that “The Fifth Element” was a “big theme movie,” and though it may not have been intended there are some issues that stand out. Political corruption appears to be an ongoing concern, and further, the film’s use of background women, and women as characters, has been criticized as contributing to their marginalization in genre product due to their relative silence in the film.

Prescience Score: 5/10 for today’s world … in its portrayal of political corruption; 2263 TBD

Zardoz (1974):

As directed by John Boorman (“Excaliber”), Sean Connery dons one of filmdom’s most … notorious get-ups.

“Zardoz”20th Century Fox

Plot: In the distant future, a savage trained only to kill finds a way into the community of bored immortals that alone preserves humanity’s achievements.

Prescience: Connery’s costuming aside, according to a Google snippet, “The themes of Zardoz are many: the Vortex immortals who can’t reproduce and seek death are an elite that, without death, are unable to savor life. The place of a god in society and the need to create one …

I question where we will be on the other side of the novel coronavirus curve. Will we have a need for new gods, or new religions? Will religion in general gain or decrease in terms of followers? Will we blame a monotheistic God or gods for the Covid-19 pandemic?

Other themes include the need to die to be granted eternal life. And … the film is yet another dystopian vision.

Prescience Score: 6/10 for today’s world based on the need, or lack thereof, of spirituality or religion; 2293 TBD

Star Trek (2009):

The fact that J.J. Abram’s first “Trek” film was such a big commercial and critical hit proved the naysayers wrong. The film, though, did suffer from audience kickback following the release of its first of two sequels, “Star Trek into Darkness.”

“Star Trek”Paramount

Plot: The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful Romulan from the future creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

Prescience: Premature. The film was released 11 years ago and no new inventions or ideas have yet to be fully realized. But they will most assuredly come.

Prescience Score: N/A for both today’s world; TBD for 2387

Logan’s Run (1976):

Based on the novel by George Clayton Johnson and William F. Nolan, the feature adaptation was not well-received, but has developed a cult audience over the years. Two more novels followed, “Logan’s Return” and “Logan’s Search,” as did a television series, comics … and the years-long promise of a pending remake.

“Logan’s Run”MGM

Plot: An idyllic science fiction future has one major drawback: life must end at the age of thirty.

Prescience: Another piece of speculative fiction that may yet prove eerily prescient. In the film, once a person turns 30, they are terminated with the promise of another blissful life cycle. Sandmen keep the order; runners are those who turn 30 and don’t want to die.

In today’s world, many in the U.S. are fearing for their senior relations, as those too sick to survive are being considered expendable and left to die if a choice has to be made. Horrible, and not quite the same, but the expendable nature of human life is something that is becoming more discussed and more uncomfortable by the day.

Prescience Score: 7.5/10 for today’s world, based on the fact that such expendability is even in the national dialogue; TBD for 2500

Idiocracy (2006):

A dystopian comedy.

“Idiocracy”20th Century Fox

Plot: Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.

Prescience: Rampant commercialism, anti-intellectualism, and criticisms of our current considerations of justice and human rights are presently what many of us are looking towards on the other side of the curve.

“Idiocracy” satirizes each, to mixed effect. Reviews were generally fair to good; audiences largely stayed away.

Prescience Score: Not much yet for today’s world, so N/A, but quite possibily a substantial score for 2021; TBD for 2505

Barbarella (1968):

A risqué classic, starring Jane Fonda and directed by Roger Vadim, based on the French comic book series by Jean-Claude Forest.


Plot: Barbarella, an astronaut from the 41st century, sets out to find and stop the evil scientist Durand Durand, whose Positronic Ray threatens to bring evil back into the galaxy.

Prescience: The film’s portrayal of the sexually-charged title character has made it a cult favorite. However, in terms of prescience to our modern world, it’s been highly influential in certain areas of popular culture, such as music (Duran Duran adapted their name from the film’s villain), and cosplay, but not much else.

Prescience Score: 2/10 for our modern world in terms of devices enabling orgasm from non-human means (the film is not any deeper than that); otherwise, this is little more than a romp. TBD for an unknown time period in the 41st Century.

Planet of the Apes (1968):

Based on Pierre Boulle’s French novel, “La Planète des singes,” the film adaptation created a science fiction franchise that continues to this day.

“Planet of the Apes”20th Century Fox

Plot: An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Prescience: There are numerous themes in the film, as detailed in the above article, but in terms of prescience … not yet. There are some some films in the series that have proved relevant to today (again, in the article), but the original is more a thematically-rich parable that gets us to think about our place in the world. Thankfully, we have yet to destroy humanity with a nuclear bomb, apes cannot (yet) speak, and time travel is not here yet.

Prescience Score: N/A for today’s world but the film is a stark warning as to man’s ability to self-destruct if not careful. TBD for 3978.

Dune (1984):

The Frank Herbert novel is one of science fiction’s enduring classics, followed by numerous sequels, several written by Herbert and now continued by his son, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson. A television version premiered on (what is now) SyFy in 2000. A new theatrical version of “Dune” is set to premiere in 2021.


Plot: A Duke’s son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father’s evil nemesis when they assassinate his father and free their desert world from the emperor’s rule.

Prescience: Religion in politics did not go away, and is a strong presence. The exploiting of religion to rally those for a cause, in this case rallying the Fremen (wanderers) to help turn desert planet Arrakis, Imperial Capital of Paul Atreides and his parents, into a lush, green paradise. Human control over ecology is a running theme … Indeed, volumes can be written about the themes of the source material that are relevant to today, but David Lynch’s 1980 film — which we are discussing here — was not well-received by either audiences or critics. Themes got lost, or were truncated entirely.

Read the book first, then watch the film if you have not seen it.

Prescience Score: 8/10 for today’s world; TBD for 10,191

I appreciate the patience in reading this. A quick note: The scores are mine and mine alone, based on nothing but personal opinion. I may well have missed some points, and would love to hear from you about those omissions, and your thoughts in general.

In the meantime, thank you, as ever, for reading.


Empire Magazine, Wikipedia, www.filmschoolrejects.com, The Guardian, New York Post, Vice Magazine, Cinema Crazed, WTVA.com, Tor.com

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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