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A perfect time for Fahrenheit 451 remakes; HBO’s version falls short

Enlarge / Do you get it? It’s the temperature at which a book burns. (credit: Michael Gibson / HBO)

Warning: This post contains minor spoilers for HBO’s Fahrenheit 451.

Media and entertainment have been stripped of thought and reduced to quick dopamine hits. Societal norms—whether that means popular thought or preferred means of communication—have been siloed in order to eventually be streamlined. And ever-present government surveillance watches over all of it, ensuring any resistance or counter-initiatives get ignored, eventually squashed, and ultimately presented to the public as another flawless victory.

No, technically that doesn’t describe America 2018. But the world of HBO’s new Fahrenheit 451 film adaptation (debuting this Saturday, May 19) doesn’t look unrecognizable. Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel has become a staple in grade school English curriculums for its futuristic yet timeless portrayal of things like government overreach, censorship, and the importance of diverse culture and thought. So adding details like ever-present interactive screens or bot voice assistants to both the real world and this fictional one only heightens this story’s inherent sense of relevance.

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