Thursday, April 5, 2012

Atlas Shrugged

Finding a fair and impartial juror for this film has to be impossible. Only someone too young to want to watch it will be innocent of the weighty prejudices that come with reading even some of Rand's books and essays and having at least one extended argument with someone at a coffee shop over the viability of her theories. So, as a movie I think this is disposable. There's very little in her books that demands reenactment. "We The Living" is a better epic romance, "The Fountainhead" is easier to follow with fewer players, "Anthem" says the same thing "Celebrate the Ego" but it does so with fewer words. Why not make Anthem a movie? Don't ask me how Harry Potter and Hunger Games and Twilight garner billions of dollars for budgets while Atlas Shrugged seemed to have been put together with Final Cut and popcorn revenue. I think an objective investor would see this as a bad investment because no one wants to sit down and be lectured to about principles. The story line is way too transparent and underneath is Rand's pro-capitalism philosophy shining through in all its unglamorous mess. I love her books but this movie was a bit painful to sit through. I realize a book as popular as Atlas Shrugged demands a movie adaptation but because the subject matter is so heady then being so blunt is not going to work. As a screenwriter, I puzzled for years over how this could be successfully adapted. Many many screenwriters tried to adapt this book for over 50 years and in the end they just transcribed it note for note. I don't think that does the book justice because it doesn't romanticize the book's theme: "the role of man's mind in existence" maybe in 50 years a screenwriter will get some creative license with this book and celebrate it properly. Furthermore, personal computers didn't exist in 1957 but everyone in the movie has them, and cell phones. Don't you think John Galt would target telcom moguls and Dell executives before bankers? Oh, wait, the telcom industry exists because of govt. (druids and moochers) funded defense spending. Ooops.

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