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Atlas Shrugged Movie: A Roman Copy of a Greek

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Uhh...primary difference, of course, being that the American Revolution was an actual historical event that had some events inherently fitted to expression in cinematic form. I take Atlas Shrugged for what it is...a novel in which the characters espouse a philosophy that I find admirable. I see no way to make that into an interesting movie.

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I see no way to make [Atlas Shrugged] into an interesting movie.

"...it was going to be a thriller, a love story, with the underpinnings of a man who wanted to turn off the motor of the world and to restart it again. But it was going to be a thriller and have a lot of suspense, and be a terrific love story....". Albert Ruddy, producer of the "Godfather" series and "Million Dollar Baby", quoted in "Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand".

Atlas -- like We the Living and Fountainhead -- has a surfeit of material for any good film-maker. The problem will always be what scenes, action and sub-plots to cut, because there is just so much. I've never understood people who read Rand's fiction and get just philosophical propaganda. Yuck! how boring that must be.

Edited by softwareNerd
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See, this is exactly why I don't want to see it. If the philosophy is what makes it valuable, then I'd say the filmmakers didn't do their job as filmmakers. If I want the philosophical message, I'll reread the book or watch a series of lectures. I can't imagine watching a movie for the sole purpose of it's philosophy...I need some entertainment value.

I personally found it very entertaining. It was exhilarating at points to see Dagny and Hank brought to life on the screen, and some of the scenes were truly powerful (particularly the John Galt Line and the Rearden Metal bridge).

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The Variety magazine panned the film but based on the film, not any dislike for Rand or the politics of free market. He actually seemed to have some appreciation for the material but took umbrage with the way it is done.

I think one could find it hard to argue this point:

"A monument of American literature is shaved down to a spindly toothpick of a movie in "Atlas Shrugged," a project that reportedly once caught the eye of Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway and Clint Eastwood. Part one of a trilogy that may never see completion, this hasty, low-budget adaptation would have Ayn Rand spinning in her grave, considering how it violates the author's philosophy by allowing opportunists to exploit another's creative achievement -- in this case, hers. Targeting roughly 200 screens, pic goes out hitched to a grassroots marketing campaign, hoping to break-even via by-popular-demand bookings and potential Tea Party support. "

Emphasis mine.

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Then go see the movie! I attended the premier last night in Times Square and left the theater exhilarated.

John Link

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?

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I saw the movie last night, and again today. Last night, I thought it was just alright to goodish, and today I thought it was great. I think a lot of the difference in my interpretation was that yesterday the theater was packed full and hot, and today it seemed like the AC worked better and I had room to spread out a bit and really relax when watching it. Go figure.

I think the acting was quite good all around, though the Rearden family deserves commendation for pretty much nailing it on every single point. Schilling's presentation of Dagny was really good I thought, though not quite as spot-on as the portrayal of Rearden. My only nits to pick are the "missing" slides (I thought a report overheard on the news would have been better), and the scenes with Galt weren't great (I didn't like them at all first time through, thought they were fairly good second time through). Overall, I thought it was a very good portrayal of Part One of the novel.

I think I am going to try to see it with a friend of mine who has never read the book, to see what they think. I also went with a few Objectivist(ish) friends of mine last night, and they thought it was alright (as I did, last night). I think being physically more comfortable, and not being hyper-tense about the movie, made the experience far more enjoyable. I'm interested in seeing what the response of non-Objectivist, non-Rand-haters is.

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Atlas Shrugged Movie Report: April 17, 2011

The other number I was watching closely was its performance on Saturday compared to Friday–because I knew that the bulk of Objectivists were seeing it on Friday. It performed almost as strongly on Saturday as it did on Friday–which is a good sign...

How was the movie received by Objectivists? I conducted a poll of my Facebook friends asking them to rate the movie as wither Excellent (5 stars), Good (4 stars), Average (3 stars), Poor (2 stars) or Awful (1 star). 28 people voted so far and you can see the poll results on my Facebook wall here. If you have trouble viewing the poll results or voting in the poll because you are not my Facebook friend, you are welcome to send me a Facebook friend request. You will also be able to see my frequent updates about Atlas Shrugged Movie as they are posted on Facebook. Please add you own vote in the poll.

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“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.

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A couple more reviews by Objectivists. One from the Freespace blog, and another from Literatrix.

.. I was prepared for it to be bad, and it wasn’t quite bad—but it wasn’t quite good, either. The reason wasn’t the acting—...

No, the fault in the movie lies in the screenplay,...

Ironically, Atlas errs by trying to be too much like the book. By trying to include too much, the movie necessarily distorts, squeezes things out, waters them down...

... you end up with a movie that really ought to be calledScenes from Atlas Shrugged.

...horrible mishandling of any development of suspense or immersion. ...

...Now, if you're a fan of Atlas Shrugged for the political commentary and don't know or care much about the esthetic issues here, you may actually enjoy this movie. (The theater I went to was packed, and people APPLAUDED at the end. ARGH.) There are plenty of one-liners and references in there to make you feel you're among friends and that this is a movie for "your kind of people" and invite you to feel a warm glow of belonging. But if you're actually looking to be drawn into another world, a world of stark conflicts, heroism, love, hate, reason, drama, and romance, you will be seriously disappointed. I certainly was.

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Atlas Shrugged Movie and Ayn Rand Polls (Over 350+ answers and counting...)

How many stars do you give to the Atlas Shrugged Movie?

Vote now! Over 150+ answers already!

What is your Most Favorite thing about the Atlas Shrugged Movie?

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What is your Least Favorite thing about the Atlas Shrugged Movie?

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What is your favorite book by Ayn Rand and Why?

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What single idea of Ayn Rand has had the maximum impact on your life?

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