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Dennis Hardin

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Everything posted by Dennis Hardin

  1. I have now seen the film five times, and each time I have found it to be a thrilling attempt to bring Ayn Rand's ideas to the screen. There is so much about the film that is good that I hesitate to offer any criticism. I like the script, I like the fact that the shadowy, phantom-like figure of John Galt appears several times throughout the film, and, most of all, I love the fact that the producers decided to make a profoundly philosophical movie. It would have been so easy to focus on the superficial aspects of the plot and ignore the philosophical undertones of independent thinking and rational self-interest. The producers deserve enormous credit for that. The question has been asked: "Would Ayn Rand have liked this movie?" Sadly, I think the answer is no, and for one simple reason: the protagonists in the film do not come even close to the heroic dimensions of the characters portrayed in the novel. Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart is the lone exception. Schilling is the primary reason this film is as good as it is. She is, quite simply, fantastic in the role of Dagny Taggart. She is so good, in fact, that she makes her male counterparts look ordinary by comparison. This is true for all of the primary male characters including Rearden, Francisco and John Galt. It is also true of minor characters such as Hugh Akston and Owen Kellog, both of whom were miserably miscast. It is no easy task to bring genuine, dazzling heroism to the silver screen. Considering how fast Atlas Part One was thrown together, it is certainly no surprise that it failed in this specific regard. Despite that fact, it is undeniable that this was a crucial aspect of Ayn Rand's novel. And it is equally undeniable that the film is truly disappointing in this area. Ever notice the way Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery walk through a scene? The sense of animal magnetism, charisma, power and self-confidence they exude through their physical mannerisms – especially the way they walk – is incomparable. To make Ayn Rand's heroes real on the screen would have required actors with a bearing and confidence similar to that of an Eastwood or Connery, and they are a rare find. Grant Bowler makes a convincing effort, but he is simply not tall or austere enough to make you believe that he is Hank Rearden. (The funky hairstyle didn’t help.) Similarly, Galt does not carry himself like a man in total control of his world. He neither moves, walks, nor speaks like John Galt. And Francisco comes across as much more like Don Diego de la Vega then Zorro. It is hard to imagine him standing with a cape flowing behind him in the wind. It is difficult to say whether this oversight is due to bad direction or the failure on the part of the producers to understand its importance. It is, nonetheless, a glaring oversight. And, for that reason, an objective observer has to acknowledge that the film has that one fundamental flaw.
  2. The film makers did a horrible job of promoting their film. Many people make spur-of-the-moment decisions about what movie to see. They have some free time, they decide to see a flick and they pick up a newspaper to see what's on. That's why studios spend so much money on week-end newspaper ads designed to grab your attention. So what was Aglialoro's strategy for getting folks to choose his film over the so-called 'major releases'? Here's what he did in Los Angeles: Forego any newspaper ad whatsoever in the LA Times last week-end. And then he complains that attendance fell off from the first week-end. What a shock. There was a small ad for the film in the LA Times on opening week-end. Nothing on the second week-end. Zero. Not a peep. How were people supposed to know the film was out there? As far as I can tell, there was almost zero promotion after week one. Online movie info sites like Yahoo didn't even mention Atlas Part One on their 'Also in theatres' list. All the responsibility for getting the word out fell to the people who made the film. The producers needed to do whatever they could to keep the movie in the public eye--and they did a miserable, pathetic job.
  3. Is the movie having an impact? This morning, number one on the “trending now” list (reflecting the most popular searches) on Yahoo’s homepage is currently Ayn Rand.
  4. Regarding point one above, here is what Trump said: Apparently this is the viewpoint you consider "irrational, reactionary and undiplomatic." Whether it happens to be reactionary or undiplomatic could not matter less to me. But how is it "irrational?" What is irrational about insisting that a country we helped to rid itself of a brutal, dictatorial regime pay us back with oil?
  5. “I found myself questioning everything I ever assumed that I knew.” That’s actor Grant Bowler (Hank Rearden) being interviewed at the premiere of Atlas Shrugged Part One, on how he was personally affected by his role in the film. And that’s how this movie is going to impact a huge portion of its audience, many of whom will then proceed to read the novel. That’s the potential power of a grand scale cinematic production. The door has been opened to a whole new audience who otherwise would never have read Ayn Rand. We are going to reap the benefits of this for years to come. I would love to hear someone explain how this is going to “damage” Objectivism.
  6. I think Grant Bowler did an excellent job of acting, but I'm not sure he was well cast. It's no fault of his, but his face just did not quite capture the look of an industrial genius. He did a great job with his lines, and the scenes where his image was reflected in the glass as he watched his metal being poured were very effective. There was good chemistry between Bowler and Schilling throughout the film. You could read the growing passion in Dagny's eyes. But I always envisioned Rearden as being tall, and Bowler appeared to be either the same height or shorter than Schilling. Some have criticized Ayn Rand's choice of Clint Eastwood for the part of Rearden. Not me. I think he would have been perfect even as recently as ten years ago. This is not a big deal for me. I'm just trying to explain why I thought Schilling was perfect and Bowler maybe a little less so.
  7. During an appearance on John Stossel's FOX show last week to promote the release of Atlas Shrugged, Aglialoro stated that the suggestion of making part three a musical was basically just "marketing spin," so I think we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.
  8. **Mod Note: Merged Topic. Originally "Box Office Success for Atlas Shrugged Part One: Taylor Schilling is Dagny Taggart" -Dante** Box Office: Tea Party-Fueled “Atlas Shrugged” Makes Respectable Debut Atlas Shrugged Part One averaged $5608 per theatre, surpassing the per theatre gross of Robert Redford’s The Conspirator ($5500), although Redford’s film was on twice as many screens (707 vs 299). Atlas producer Harmon Kaslow is hoping to open the film on as many as a 1000 screens within the next few weeks. The film performed well despite being panned by the critics—not to mention some Objectivists. Through her brilliant, dazzling performance as Dagny Taggart, Taylor Schilling may be doing more for the spread of Objectivism than anyone since Ayn Rand herself. And Objectivists who sincerely want to spread their philosophy should be doing everything they can to encourage as many people as possible to go and see her. Hank Rearden demanded an answer of Dr. Potter of the State Science Institute: "Is Rearden metal good or not?" I would ask the Objectivist critics of this movie: "Is Taylor Schilling good or not?" Whatever flaws some may have seen in the movie pale in comparison with her riveting portrayal of Ayn Rand's heroine. Objectivists need to seize this opportunity.
  9. From Yahoo Movies: The Critics Shrugged, the Searches Soared And from Yahoo News: Quoting Ayn Rand on Capital Hill The second link isn't directly related to the movie, but I found it fascinating.
  10. I attended the movie for the second time last night in Torrance, Ca. The theatre was filled and there was enthusiastic applause afterward. Can it be true that some people do not want the film to be successful? That is mind-boggling! If it was a terrible film, I could understand discouraging people. But most of those who see it think it is a pretty good film, and a lot of them--including me--think it is magnificent! The remarkable thing about the philosophical element is that the film is anything but preachy. It weaves the philosophical ideas artfully into the story line, and makes the viewer think about what the explanation might be for the events that are unfolding. Take the scene between Francisco d'Anconia and Rearden at the party, as one brilliant example. Francisco: "You’re working for your own sake, not theirs." Rearden: "They know it." F: "Oh yes, they know it. But they don't think you do. And the aim of all their efforts is to keep you from knowing it." R: "Why should I care what they think?" F: "Because it's a battle in which one must make one's stand clear." R: "A battle? What battle? I hold the whip hand. I don't fight the disarmed." F: "Are they? They have a weapon against you. It's their only weapon, but it's a terrible one. Ask yourself what it is, sometime." And then Rearden asks Francisco why he is telling him this. Francisco: "Let us say – to give you the words you need, for the time when you'll need them." This is, in essence, the dialogue from page 148 in the novel, but it perfectly sums up much of what has occurred to that point—the destructiveness wrought by alleged altruism--and leads the viewer to wonder about what Francisco might mean. Of course, to really discover what's going on, the viewer will either need to wait for parts two and three or read the book. I'm betting a lot of them are going to go buy the book. And what better outcome could we hope for?
  11. I thoroughly agree with this. We need to do everything we can to promote the film. It is the least we can do. I suspect that many people in the movie industry are surprised by how well the film is doing. On Yahoo, they list movies that are "also in theatres" on their movie page. Atlas Shrugged did not even show up on the list yeaterday. Today, it is listed number three. So far, Yahoo Users give the film an A-. You can go to Yahoo and add your own rating. And your own review. Here is mine: Dagny Taggart Will Rock Your World
  12. I did try to look at it from that angle, and I honestly believe the movie will inspire many, many people to read the book. They are not going to want to wait for parts two and three to see what happens. It is that well done.
  13. From Ebert's review: This is just factually incorrect. Ebert needs to have his eyes checked (among other things).
  14. I didn't want to go into specifics last night because I had to get to sleep. I also have only a few minutes to add this brief note today. But I will say that I thought it was very well done. Taylor Schilling was outstanding and really carries the film. For the most part, even the computer graphic imaging was superb (with one minor exception). But what really floored me was the underlying philosophical message, repeated in numerous scenes--the evils of altruism, of living for the sake of others. Those who say that the film lacked that implicit philosophical element must have slept through half the scenes. I will write a longer review over the week-end.
  15. I was initially very skeptical that the film would be good, based on the hasty shooting schedule and the fact that so many elements seemed to have been thrown together at the last minute. Well, I just returned from the midnight showing of the film--the first showing in Los Angeles--and I am pleased to report that I was as wrong as I could be. The film is spectacular. Unbelievably good. Much more philosophical than superficial or purely political. And very respectful of the source material. Kudos and humble apologies to everyone involved with this project. It may not be a perfect film adaptation, but it is a lot closer to perfection than I would have thought possible.
  16. I would love to be there. I hope someone took a videocamera to the reception and red carpet premiere. It's so rare to have a public Objectivist event of this importance. I imagine it would be like a dramatic party scene from the novel made real. Imagine going to a party and meeting the celluloid personages of Dagny, Francisco and Rearden. It truly would be a once-in-a-lifetime event.
  17. The good news is that the long wait is finally over and we can see it first hand for ourselves. This reviewer says this, that reviewer says that. Blah-blah-blah ad nauseum. I understand there is a fancy premiere in New York tonight. I will be attending tonight's midnight screening in Torrance, Ca. To heck with sleep. I have waited long enough.
  18. I was initially impressed by some of Donald Trump’s views on war and foreign policy. He takes a pre-WW II perspective: to the victor go the spoils. He recently expressed these “radical” views on The O’Reilly Factor: But is that enough to justify supporting him? Objectivist Jonathan Hoenig apparently doesn’t think so: Donald Trump is No Capitalist
  19. I cannot help but question whether someone who describes Atlas Shrugged--surely one of the most inspirational novels ever written--as "nightmarish" ever actually read the book.
  20. Yes, context is important. I agree that we should not extend benevolence to those we know to be evil, malevolent or destructive. However, to presume that others are unworthy of benevolence would be equally unjust. We should give others the benefit of the doubt until we have reason to think otherwise. Quoting David Kelley: ""It is the virtue of seeking opportunities for trade by treating others with the basic respect they deserve as potential sources of value.""
  21. Bound volumes of The Objectivist Newsletter are available from The Ayn Rand Bookstore. Used copies are also available at a discount from Amazon.
  22. The Reason essay on the Atlas Shrugged movie is written by Brian Doherty, Senior Editor and libertarian author of Radicals for Capitalism. He says he's been a fan of Ayn Rand since his late teens. Now that's interesting. Here's how he introduces the discussion of Ayn Rand in his book: That was written by a fan of Ayn Rand? I never would have guessed. Here is how this “fan” describes Atlas Shrugged in his book: With fans like this, Rand did not really need detractors. The article seems to drive home the point that the movie is a poor vehicle for the philosophy. That may well be true, but how the heck would Doherty know?
  23. In addition to working directly with Ayn Rand on We, The Living, Duncan Scott is the prime mover behind The Objectivist History Project. Although I don't know that he has ever expounded on his own views, he is obviously very familiar with the philosophy of Objectivism, and his actions clearly indicate that one of his goals is to use his skill as a filmmaker to spread her ideas.
  24. Los Angeles area members may be interested to know that the AMC Rolling Hills theatre in Torrance, CA is offering a special midnight showing of Atlas Shrugged Part One on Thursday, April 14.
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