Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Invictus

"Atlas Shrugged" Movie

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

EC, the money speech was at the party for Jim Taggart/Cheryl Brooks wedding. It is in Part II of the novel. (I had the same reaction you did--and someone had to remind me. It's the most common complaint about the movie that proceeds from misremembering the book.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admit I made that mistake as well. My wife and I caught the screening in Toronto (finally!). It was a fairly well-polished low-budget film. I think the writing could've been better, as some of the dialogue seemed stiff - but maybe that was the actors' problem. Overall it was good, not terrible, and if any non-fans ever watch it, they might be interested in reading the book and the rest of Rand's work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DVD and Blu-ray are being recalled......

On the back of the film's retail DVD and Blu-ray the movie’s synopsis contradictorily states “AYN RAND’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life...”

(Santa Monica), November 11, 2011 - Atlas Productions LLC announced today its plan to replace more than 100,000 title sheets appearing on the Atlas Shrugged Part 1 DVD and Blu-ray versions sold through major retail outlets. These retail versions were packaged with an inaccurate synopsis of Atlas Shrugged. Not affected were the “Special Edition” versions sold online at AtlasShruggedMovie.com.

Source Here

Edited by feltini

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL!! I just got home, having purchased the Blu-Ray. (I will be buying a DVD as a gift, and would have done so today but the store was fresh out except for ones on hold.) Sure enough mine has the mistake you mentioned! Might become a collector's item some day.

Edit: this probably means it will be more than the week the salesclerk guessed, before the copy I have reserved actually arrives.

Edited by Steve D'Ippolito

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Par for the course.

Whoever made the mistake I am sure that in this instance, it wasn't Aglialoro and company--the packaging is totally new, not looking anything like their artwork promoting the theatrical release. I understand they got a major distributor to do the DVD/Blu Ray release. No doubt some individuals who do artwork and copy for many, many movies for a living did completely original cover art and cover copy... and the likelihood that any of them are Objectivists is vanishingly small.

This is akin to a phenomenon authors have to deal with a lot--cover art that has nothing to do with the contents of the book. AS got off lightly with this flub.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No doubt some individuals who do artwork and copy for many, many movies for a living did completely original cover art and cover copy...

Yes, now that you mention it, I bet you're right.

If the movie had been ah-ma-zing, I probably would have assumed in the other direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DVD and Blu-ray are being recalled......

On the back of the film's retail DVD and Blu-ray the movie’s synopsis contradictorily states “AYN RAND’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life...”

Source Here

This actually made it to the CBC and the CBC's Facebook feed (along with the typical comments about how bad the book is). Bad news for anything right of center is good news for the CBC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, finally watched the whole movie last night. It was, in my opinion, awful... but not as awful as I thought it was going to be from all the extended length clips and previews I'd seen. The fact is that in every single facet of this movie what I am left with is "could have been worse, but could have been good and should have been great.

Potential mild spoilers

Casting:

Dagny was more acceptable than I had been led to believe by the previews.

Rearden was truly bad. It seemed to me as though the actor just couldn't understand the character and therefore couldn't play him.

(aside) the way they played the early relationship between Dagny & Rearden deviated so far from the book as to change the entire nature of the story and was disruptive to the charcter arc.

James Taggart: never would have pictured him this way but the actor did ok with what he had to work with

Frisco: all I can say about the casting of this role is *what...the...fuck..." I also found the way he kept sniffing Dagny pretty dang creepy.

The director as John Galt: no, just NO. Even though he is only shown in shadows the body type Rand describes is too important a part of the character to have a bulky black haired guy with really bad posture playing him.

Lillian Rearden: again, what were they thinking? Lillian was supposed to be a great beauty-much more beautiful in fact than Dagny. When she first appeared on screen my wife commented that it was curious that they dressed up a female impersonator as Sandra Bernhart to play Reardon's wife. Lillian's physical beauty was integral to the characterisation of Rearden early on- it said so much about who he was coming up in the world. Not a good change.

Hugh Akston: Hard to tell if this was the way the director had the actor play it or if the actor is a spastic mongoloid but I again I must say ..no..just NO. Also, the way they changed up the story in this area was unnecessary, made no sense and was just plain insulting.

The sex scene: I have the feeling the way they played with was well intentioned and meant to be a bit of a balm against the way Rand is usually vilified for the kind of rough sex scenes she often wrote for her characters. However again- you can't change these parts of Dagny & Rearden's relationship without changing too much of the overall story.

The music: hamfisted

The whole package? The tone and production values, the ill-concieved stilted dialogue- it all reminded me of those movies the religious right puts out- those "Left Behind" movies if you're familiar. The whole thing screamed to me of cynics behind the scenes deciding amongst themselves that fans of Rand are cultish enough to ignore all the glaring amateurishness of this mess simply because it is Atlas Shrugged.

I know that my opening statement may have led one to believe that the particulars of my assessment would be less hostile and damning having already said "could have been worse". The reason for that is pretty obvious- when one is expecting a kick to the groin and gets a slap in the face instead one can't help to be a little grateful.

I didn't see anything at all in this movie to admire but the things that were bad generally could have been done even worse if someone had really put their mind to it.

Note on Edit: it was pointed out to me that I used an incorrect spelling of Readen's name. Edited to correct for the sake of continuity.

Edited by SapereAude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spoilers for AS the novel here:

Some fairly legitimate criticisms actually. In _many_ cases these complaints could be positively addressed by doing the right things in Part II (e.g., Akston's bizarre behavior could be part of an act he is putting on as part of the strike; likewise d'Anconia's grunginess.)

Given that they come from a fan of Atlas Shrugged, the criticisms would have more credibility if you had spelled "Rearden" correctly.

The best complaint I've heard, actually is that Dagny _should not_ have (implicitly) offered to sleep with Francisco for the loan. d'Anconia (Jsu Garcia) on the other hand played this counterfactual scene (I say "counterfactual" because it wasn't in the novel and rightly so--of course the whole novel is counterfactual,,,) quite properly... resisting GREAT temptation for the sake of the strike. It is what he would have done, I think, in the novel, if AR had flubbed Dagny's characterization that way. Ironic that his most true-to-the-character acting should be in a scene that was false to Dagny and Atlas Shrugged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're correct about the misspelling of Rearden for which I apologise. I've been reading a lot about the movie online trying to wrap my head about what I saw and the spellings are all over the place. The one which I saw most frequently stuck in my head, had I given it more thought I would have caught it instead of just typing what I saw as the spelling right before writing this.

However, I do take some exception to the tone of your correction- as though the entirety of one's point is lost if a statement has a typo in it.

I know some Objectivists who enjoyed the movie will feel somewhat insulted, taking it personally that I'm ripping apart a movie they enjoyed based on a book they love. Perhaps this is a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

Case in point: I watched the movie with my wife last night. She enjoyed the book AS and thinks that Rand's philosophy is for the most part correct although too hard to apply whereas I identify as an Objectivist completely. She liked the movie, I hated it.

When I asked her why she liked it despite agreeing with me about many of the faults I was irritated with she said that had she not seen and enjoyed the book she would have found the movie unwatchable but during the course of the movie she was often reminded of the book's intent during the scenes and so her mind just kind of superimposed what she wanted to see over what was actually on the screen. I have no such capacity unfortunately.

I read AS fairly recently and I think I recall Dagny vaguely implying that she might sleep with FdA for the loan. Certainly not the straight out come on that is in the movie. But then again, having changed so much and modernised so much it makes some amount of sense that she'd be more forward about that as well.

Then again- I was rereading AS at the same time I was rereading Gone With The Wind. Perhaps I have the sex for loan scene mixed up with the one between O'Hara and Butler. :glare:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some fairly legitimate criticisms actually. In _many_ cases these complaints could be positively addressed by doing the right things in Part II (e.g., Akston's bizarre behavior could be part of an act he is putting on as part of the strike; likewise d'Anconia's grunginess.)

My problems with these issues don't come from Akston's behavior or FdA's "grunginess" so much as the change to the stories that the behaviors and facts surrounding them represent.

Akston is characterised in AS at the diner as being anonymously working as a cook/owner at a hamburger stand. But the place was still a reflection of his inner greatness. Remeber how spotless Rand described the place as being? It was basically put forth as the Socratic ideal of a hamburger stand. He worked alone and was as ultra-competent as a burger flipper as he was in his pre-strike job. It was a preview glimpse into Galt's Gulch- that the great people of the world, stripped of their true purpose and occupations would be just as great in menial jobs- because their greatness comes from within. The diner was messy and tacky looking, the whole point of the scene was lost. That he wasn't working alone and anonymously also stripped much of the meaning away, for me at least.

As to Frisco's "grunginess"- that wasn't what bothered me about him. In fact, the way the character looked and dressed was probably the least offensive thing about it for me. It was more a feeling of wrongness in the overall picture of the character than one of specific jarring traits (again, aside from the creepy sniffing). You know the impression you get when an actor is playing a character that they just can't comprehend? That the intelligence, drive and motivations of the character are just too far over their heads? For me the actor looked the part just fine- it was that he looked and acted like a puppet while doing it.

Overall, for me the movie just lacked any soul. You don't have to agree with your character's beliefs and motivations as an actor to play a part. But you at least have to be able to grasp the concepts. My impression was that these actors were not capable of understanding the fundementalt concepts at play in these characters.

Odd to note- I found the actors playing the villians much more convincing than the heroes. Odd, but perhaps not surprising.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My apologies for going overboard on that. The only explanation I can offer is that one of my pet peeves is the alleged fan who gushes about "Ann Rand" and her characters "Taggert," "Gault," "Reardon," and "Rourke." (Oddly, I don't think I've ever seen d'Anconia's name butchered.) Of course the asshats out there who have never read the book but participate in the slime campaigns can butcher all they want and it will just make their stupidity more apparent. (You know the slime campaigns: Rand approved of Hickman, Rand used drugs, Rand collected Social Security and Medicaid.... there's a place out there somewhere telling all the mushbrains to put those comments on any comment thread they can find.)

I just watched the commentary track... and looked forward to the commentary explaining why they did NOT portray Rearden's guilt-driven disgust with himself the morning after. (To me that's philosophically FAR more important than whether or not the sex was rough, since it brings up in yet another way the problem that Rearden is having, giving his sanction to his enemies.) I forgot to mention that criticism earlier, and I think if there was _exactly one_ thing I could change about the movie, that would be it. Anyhow... they claim they chose not to do it that way because it would have stopped the pacing in its tracks. (Bull! Like that long morning after on the patio scene and wilderness shots they showed instead, kept up the pace....)

If there were TWO things I could change... The Mysterious Stranger With No Neck came to Wyatt's house just a bit too early; I'd have reordered things a bit to make it clear that Wyatt "gave up" after the directives that Mouch so loudly announced.

If there were Three--Galt's voiceover and Ellis Wyatt's phone message at the very end gave away WAY too much to the first time viewer/reader.

Four--add two flashbacks... Dagny and Francisco as lovers (with Francisco not looking and acting like a schlub), and the scene where Francisco struggles with his decision to go on strike, while lying in bed with Dagny. This is important stuff, but it wouldn't be seriously too late to do this in Part II, perhaps as Dagny is continuing to work the mystery of why everyone of any worth is disappearing, she can consider the case of Francisco.. who didn't disappear but seems to have become valueless.

Again I don't consider d'Anconia and Akston's demeanor, appearance, behavior, whatever in the outside world fatal changes... this is now a visual medium and the viewer is supposed to wonder why great men are no longer carrying burdens... and the best way to suggest it _visually_ is to show them as unkempt slackers, regardless of the way it's described in the non-visual book where a lot of exposition can take place. (Would Akston have been better done in a spotless diner, cooking a hamburger for Dagny, and the conversation occurring more as in the book? Yes, I think so... but it's not a _gigantic_ flaw.)

If they act/behave this way _in the valley_ in Part III, yeah, that's an irretrievable screwing of the pooch.

One thing that came through in the commentary was that the producers talked a lot about Objectivism... but it was subtly off point. They discussed a lot of "why should these people produce when they are going to get punished" and "we should thank these people for what they've done to make us more productive" and even brought up the example of the inventor of the motor deserving to be a trillionaire if he can reduce energy costs to the equivalent of four cents a gallon. They then point out that the inventor would be vilified for being rich rather than thanked for cutting the cost of energy. They got a lot right. But they danced around the forthright _egoism_ that is properly the justification for capitalism.

Edited by Steve D'Ippolito

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to Frisco's "grunginess"- that wasn't what bothered me about him. In fact, the way the character looked and dressed was probably the least offensive thing about it for me. It was more a feeling of wrongness in the overall picture of the character than one of specific jarring traits (again, aside from the creepy sniffing). You know the impression you get when an actor is playing a character that they just can't comprehend?

You do understand, don't you, that in the first part of the novel, Francisco is trying to give the world the impression that he is an irresponsible playboy? Do you understand that we the viewers are supposed to believe, as Dagny does, that he is contemptible? At the time in the novel which is covered by the film Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the "overall picture of the character" is not supposed to be a positive or pleasant one.

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've watched the movie twice now in the last week or so and the movie is NOT horrible. It could just be a lot better. If you want to watch a horrible movie just search for movies that are usually well reviewed by "critics" and were not released on huge scales. I've accidentally watched those types of movies before and they are generally just unwatchable and boring.

Things in AS the movie are changed or missing so the movie isn't great. They could of mostly fixed this by making the movie about an hour longer. Why they didn't is beyond me.

Some of the acting does suck, but who cares? I've rarely seen a movie in my entire life where I've thought all the actors were good. But the movie's themselves are usually decent to good regardless. When you watch Transformer's 3 do you say the movie sucks because of the acting is poor and the plot doesn't always make sense. No you say the movie was awesome because of the action and CGI.

I'm not going to go into all the objections that have been raised, except I disagree that the actor that played Rearden did a bad job. He made the character almost Bond-like which was cool.

Dagny's actress was a little unbelievable if you know how she was supposed to act in general, however the scene where she tell's the union boss to get out of her office then explains that she would never force a man to do anything is just awesome.

I too, thought it was weird that Francisco was so unkempt, but this doesn't matter much as long as he plays the part close to correctly in other parts to the movie.

James Taggart was not what I was expecting, and contrary to most Wyatt was to me.

None of these things matter though, what matters and what makes the movie good is seeing Rearden Metal gleaming in a close approximation to real life.

It matters to see the first run of The John Galt Line flying along at hundreds of miles per hour on Rearden Metal crossing a bridge of radically new and superior design.

It matters to see Wyatt destroy his life's work rather than leave it to the looters.

All these things are highly emotional and accurate renderings, and these are the things that matter and make the movie very good.

Edited by EC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You do understand, don't you, that in the first part of the novel, Francisco is trying to give the world the impression that he is an irresponsible playboy? Do you understand that we the viewers are supposed to believe, as Dagny does, that he is contemptible? At the time in the novel which is covered by the film Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the "overall picture of the character" is not supposed to be a positive or pleasant one.

J

Yes, Jonathan, I do understand all that. However for my tastes the way it was portrayed was lame, trite, tedious and facile.

I also understand that the character of FdA was not supposed to be acting as himself during that part of AS however I don't find the director skilled enough to direct any actor to play any part of FdA's personality (real or feigned) much less one of a group of D-listers seen here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You do understand, don't you, that in the first part of the novel, Francisco is trying to give the world the impression that he is an irresponsible playboy? Do you understand that we the viewers are supposed to believe, as Dagny does, that he is contemptible? At the time in the novel which is covered by the film Atlas Shrugged Part 1, the "overall picture of the character" is not supposed to be a positive or pleasant one.

J

This is not fully accurate.

It is true that on the page 56 of Atlas Shrugged part I (based on the 50th Anniversary Edition), Francisco is introduced to us as "the richest man and the most spectacularly worthless playboy on earth". However, as fast as only 30 pages later in the Chapter V of Part I: The Climax of the D'Anconias Rand is already showing us that there is more to Francisco than meets the eye.

Rand takes us back to their childhood. Francisco is being characterized, from a very young age, as a man of ability; a man of competence - both mentally and physically. He is brilliant, unusually philosophically mature, displays immaculate work ethics, and acts with an amazing determination in everything he attempts. As bright as he is, he is also not afraid of hard physical work or effort.

Two quotes (out of similar many) taken from Chapter V of Part I:

quote 1:

"The d'Anconia heirs had been men of unusual ability, but none of them could match what Francisco d'Anconia promissed to become. It was as if the centruries had sifted the family's qualities through a fine mesh, had discarded the irrelevant, the inconsequential, the weak, and had let nothing through except pure talent; as if chance, for once, had achieved an entity devoid of the accidental."

quote 2:

"I can do it," he said [Francisco], when he was building his elevator, clinging to the side of a cliff, driving metal wedges into rock, his arms moving with an expert's rhythm, drops of blood slipping, unnoticed, from under a bandage of his wrist."

At the same time:

quote 3:

"there is no boasting in his manner and consciousness, no thought of comparison. His attitude was not " I can do it better than you," but simply: " I can do it." What he meant by doing was doing superlatively." (end quote).

He is always positive and benevolent. If he uses mockery - it always supports his values. He directs it at the irrational but never at the good and never at strangers.

So, in Part I of the novel the reader already knows, just like Dagny, that Francisco changed (and rather recently) from the amazing in every way possible to "the most spectacularly worthless playboy on earth". The reader, just like Dagny, does not yet know why.

-------------------------

What defines the character of Francisco, what makes him so intriguing especially when he is loosing his fortune and acting like a playboy, is his benevolent universe premise. Francisco, in my opinion, is the first thing which makes the reader solidify the realization that there is something very special about this novel.

He is a man of unbreached, true self esteem - the reader senses that from him even when he is acting like a worthless playboy.

This is why things about him do not add up (if it was just the fact that he changed... there would be nothing special about it...people change... would have been tragic but not particularly special).

On a surface he is approaching worthless (spiritually and financially) and yet.. he is (gasp) happy and not in the crazy person, irrational, "he is loosing it" way. Amazingly, the reader senses authenticity in him: he is grounded, he is certain. This is why the reader is drawn to this character ( it is not because he is a freak of nature in terms of perfection!!!).

The movie AS Part I failed to project any of that about Francisco. It is a major failure (and sadly one of many). This is a major failure because it has to do with the morality side of Atlas Shrugged which is the most essential aspect of it. At the very core, Atlas is not a political novel; it is not a love story; it is a morality tale. I did not see that in the movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When you watch Transformer's 3 do you say the movie sucks because of the acting is poor and the plot doesn't always make sense. No you say the movie was awesome because of the action and CGI.

Unless of course you do not go to the movies primarily to see [ often OTT ] action scenes and CGI and instead want to see a good story in conjuction with a plot that does not make your eyes roll. With actors that actually play the character in a beleivable fashion , without making it harder to accept whats going on. These preferences describes me and probably a lot of other people reading this thread, for what it is worth.

If I want good action scenes and CGI, I will go play a video game. Im not paying between 12-20 ($NZ) to see some [ I grant probably amazing looking] CGI wizardry kind of tied together by bad writing / acting that pisses me off. If I go to the movies, I want a good story, preferably something reasonably well executed ( that does not constantly make me irrirated) with a theme I can agree with. But I will settle with something well executed. Something that is not just robots punching each other , with something about something thrown in at the last minute so it seems the movie is about something ( I am alluding to T1, which I have no seen in ages and I have not really seen T3), but something which is not really well integrated into the movie.

Though why you would go to see a movie like Transformers 3 if that was the case, eludes me. However, I have not seen T3, so maybe it is a lot more than CGI and action scenes? I seriously doubt that though...I would almost be willing to say that based solely on the fact it is a Micheal Bay movie.

Edited by Prometheus98876

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched part 1 and loved it. I think they made a great decision to place it in 2016. Well done. They made the best of the book I can imagine. I recommend it to all my friends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What possibly good reason is there to place it in 2016, when it is meant to be a "timeless" peice according to Ayn Rand? I guess the movie is not obligated to stick to this, but why change it? Seems it is better not to. By setting in 2016 it seems it would lose some of the important "hey, this stuff could happen to at any stage in history [ any point in time in which trains as in the book were possible anyway], not just in 2016".

Though in all fairness, the reasonably intelligent viewer should be able to make this connection anyway. Still, not everyone is going to do this..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...