I recently watched the remake of the Ray Bradbury classic “Fahrenheit 451” and, unlike some remakes, this one was spot on. It was updated to reflect the influence of social media and the control it has on society today. It still paid homage to the original, including the original movie, while bringing it into the modern world.
The casting of Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon was brilliant. They were a perfect foil for the other, each one with their own demons and secrets. I loved how Shannon (as Beatty) spends his nights at home, writing down his own thoughts on tissue paper with an illegal pen, burning them at dawn. At the same time, Jordan’s Montag kept a collection of relics including a Blockbuster videotape of the movie “Taxi Driver” in his bathroom vent.
All under the watchful eye of Yuixi, a futuristic version of Alexa which scares the Hell out of me. The movie talks about the influence of social media, bringing back memories of Mark Zuckerberg and his testimony about Facebook controlling what people see. Everything they do is broadcast live with emoji’s littering the screen from the millions of viewers. The movie showed us the future we are heading to in our social media driven world.
Then there’s the books. I found it interesting that the only three books available to people is the Holy Bible, Moby Dick, and To The Lighthouse. The rest? As the firemen teach the little kids… Burn them! It’s sad to see all the classics burn like this. It’s a testament to the staying power of literature that’s represented in these books. That’s why I love this book, this movie, this story… Ray Bradbury wrote a classic that stands the test of time.
The ending may have changed in this newest adaptation, but the story stayed true. When you erase literature, you erase history. Beatty talked about this when he showed Montag a copy of Huck Finn, how it offended black people so they burned it, erased it. That’s the bigger meaning of this story. You may not like what was written before, but you can’t erase it completely. To do that would wipe away the history as to why it was written and lessons we can learn from it.
Fahrenheit 451 remains to be a classic, in any form. It should be a required read for every child in school today just for the fact that it will show them the right way and the wrong way when it comes to books and history. We have to teach them the right way, otherwise the story Fahrenheit 451 will go from being a fantasy to being a reality. Remember that next time you toss a book aside.
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.