Long before Star Trek, long before Star Wars, long before Game of Thrones, there was Dune.

Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel created a multi-faceted universe, complex characters and a rich plot that influenced a generation of readers. The Hugo and Nebula award-winner has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide and is often cited as the greatest and most influential science-fiction novel of all time. Culturally, it brought environmental and ecological issues to the forefront on college campuses and inspired numerous novels, music, games, comic books, a film and two TV miniseries.

The most recent attempt to tackle Dune is Denis Villeneuve’s movie of the same name. Delayed a year by the pandemic, it is in theatres now.

Death Trap

In the far-distant future, the known universe is ruled by Emperor Shaddam IV of House Corrino, backed up by the Sardaukar, his feared shock troops. Power is divided among various major and minor Houses, of which the most important are House Atreides and House Harkonnen, bitter rivals.The key to interstellar travel in the empire lies with “spice,” the incredibly rare and expensive substance that alone makes stellar navigation possible, while also providing increased lifespan and mental capabilities. Spice is only available, however, on the planet Arrakis, also known as Dune, a desert planet sparsely populated by the fierce warriors known as Fremen, and sandworms—fearsome and colossal creatures.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the fate of the galaxy.

Cruelly occupied and despoiled for decades by House Harkonnen,the emperor has granted Arrakis to House Atreides, ruled by Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac). Seeing the potential as well as the peril, Leto takes control of the spice-mining operations, bringing his advisors as well as his son and heir, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), along with Paul’s mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). But Paul has prophetic visions of the planet and of a mysterious girl of the desert (Zendaya).

Far from guaranteeing the future of House Atreides, Arrakis is an intricate death trap. With the connivance of the emperor—and a bitter betrayal—Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) unleashes a massive assault that decimates House Atreides’ toehold on Arrakis.

“This is an extermination,” Paul says. “They’re picking off my family one by one.”

Duke Leto is assassinated, and Paul and Lady Jessica barely escape the Harkonnen trap, fleeing to the deep desert and the uncertain assistance of the Fremen. But will they find the support and shelter they need to fight back against their Harkonnen enemies?

Viewers will only know the fate of Paul and his mother when the planned sequel, which roughly covers the second part of the novel, is released.

“I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” Denis told Vanity Fair magazine. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”

Real-Life Purposes

At first glance, moviegoers may spot similarities between Paul’s odyssey and the Christmas story. Paul and his mother escape to the desert to save themselves from the Harkonnen death squads and their Sardaukar allies, just as Mary and Joseph, with the newborn baby Jesus in tow, escaped to the Egyptian desert once the parents were warned that their child had been marked for death.

And one of the reasons Paul escapes death in the first place is that his coming had been prophesied to the Fremen by the Bene Gesserit, an ancient and powerful sisterhood whose agents had planted such stories throughout the galaxy.

But whereas these tales were hearsay and rumour, Jesus’ coming had been foretold centuries earlier—and not through word-of-mouth.

The Old Testament contains numerous passages that predict Jesus’ coming in startling clarity—47 of them, to be exact. To give just one example, Jesus’ Crucifixion was foretold in Psalm 22:16-18 a thousand years before His death, long before such a Roman method of execution was even practised!

More specifically, the Bible includes prophesies that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2), would be born of a virgin (see Isaiah 7:14), would spend a season in Egypt (see Hosea 11:1) and that a massacre of children would occur in Jesus’ place of birth (see Jeremiah 31:15).

Collectively, they were all proof of Jesus’ divinity. And as Jesus went about His ministry, He knew that He was fulfilling these prophecies and, therefore, used this knowledgeto confirm His claims of being the Son of God in the flesh.

As we enjoy the fictional Dune, it’s important to remember the real-life purpose of God. Whereas Paul was trying to free Dune from the evil occupiers of that planet, Jesus Christ waged a battle to free all of us from sin. This gift of life can never be forgotten as we prepare yet again to celebrate in the coming months the birth of Jesus.

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On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, Concerned said:

Still seems strange to see movie reviews on the Salvationist website, despite the efforts to draw the analogy and add the message at the end of the review. In the Army I grew up in going to the movies was considered worldly.....sinful. "If Jesus came back tonight, would you want him to find you at the movies?" Times change and society changes,I guess. Of course, not always for the better.

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