In the year 1948 George Orwell published the innovative dystopian novel 1984. It was the first dystopian novel to become a major success, and if you haven’t read the story then you should stop reading this article and go read the book. Potential spoilers for the book lie ahead.
For those unfamiliar with the book: the story centres around Winston, a common man who works in the “Ministry of Truth”. A propaganda hub where information is edited and modified, eventually turned into propaganda. In other words, what the government wants the public to know.
The book details a dystopian society where people are under constant surveillance. Truth no longer bears any meaning, and the government controls everything.
It’s considered one of the greatest and most popular dystopian novels of all time. (It was on the New York Best Seller’s list this year).
In 1984 the book was fittingly made into a movie. After reading the book, I figured it’s high time it was remade. It would be relevant, and here’s five reasons why:
1. Surveillance is at an all time high
Similar to the surveillance in the book, we see evidence of surveillance everywhere we look. 1984 was way ahead of it’s time when it came to modern surveillance.
The book talks about how the television monitors were able to view the people on the other side of the screen, meaning the video went both ways. I don’t think we’re quite at the level of surveillance they were in 1984 but we’re not far from it.
Information gathering is also very common today as it was in the book. Winston’s society was filled screens which kept an eye on citizens. It’s described that every room came with the equivalent of a flat screen tv monitor, allowing for no privacy.
2. Ignorance and the Media
The false stories and the twisting of truths is what modern media seems to be doing. It wants a good story, not necessarily the right story. This leads to a lot of misinformation and a lot of mis-informed people.
One of the key points in the book deals with the same idea. They had “ministries” of the government where tasks were carried out. Working at the Ministry of Truth, Winston would edit any news information which made big brother look bad and reissue it to show the government in an always positive light.
With the recent tension of false stories in the media, especially places like Facebook, a movie like 1984 would be right up people’s alley.
3. Dystopian movies are like totally popular
Riding the wave of recent dystopian movies, 1984 would be able to convey a realistic world with relatable problems. Our culture is still caught up in dystopian fiction, for the the sole reason of its relatability.
The fact is, opposed to girls with arrows or kids fighting each other, we would get to watch one of the most realistic dystopian stories. I know I was deeply impressed by how relevant the book was in my time and it was made over half a decade ago!
4. We’re fighting an unknown enemy
One of the main points in 1984 is how “Peace is War”. The society Winston lives in is at constant war with nations citizens have heard about but remain largely a mystery. They hear of the enemies their country are fighting, but they never see what the people are really like.
The government is able to stir a hatred in people for an enemy which remains mostly unknown. All the citizens know of the countries they are fighting against is they are in the right and their enemies are in the wrong.
Sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it? Our nations fight enemies overseas we’ve never seen, and most of the information we have regarding our ‘enemies’ is what the government tells us.
This point of the movie would hopefully challenge people in the way they think.
5. Perfect wake up call to the public
Back when Orwell published the book, he wanted to warn people about the dangerous road modern societies were heading down. His aim was to challenge the way people live and encourage them to fight for their liberties.
The movie would have the same goal. It would be a chance to reach a massive audience with the wake-up call they need to hear. The ending of the book is frightening and chilling, and the ending of the movie should be the same way. I think 1984 is one of the most important movies someone could watch living in modern society.
Like all good dystopian novels, 1984 would be able to present a challenge to how we live. It would help us reexamine our personal freedoms and community freedoms, but most importantly teach us how to cherish both.
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