Richard Gleaves has seen the first ten minutes of the Atlas Shrugged movie and lived to tell about it. (See also this.)
At the moment, my main hope for this movie is that it will be successful enough to prompt someone else to remake it. But well see.
You hope this project succeeds merely so somebody else will get the funding to do it right? Not exactly a ringing endorsement…
Well, here’s the thing: despite Rand’s pronouncements on the sovereign value of plot (something I’ve grumped about here), what’s crucial to the success of her novels is not so much plot as overall ambience — her creation of a certain kind of stylised world. From the review it sounds to me as though the movie is remaining fairly faithful to the plot but jettisoning the ambiance in favour of a more naturalistic approach. Unlike Rand I have no brief against naturalism per se — but it’s a bad fit for Atlas Shrugged. By analogy: we wouldn’t want Hamlet to sound like Stanley Kowalski, any more than we’d want Stanley Kowalski to sound like Hamlet.
I agree. A bunch of Randroid Ubermenschen acting like regular people inside an Ayn Rand plot, instead of acting like they had sticks up their asses, would have the same jarring effect as (to borrow a phrase from P.J. O’Rourke) a pyramid of human skulls in Peoria.
I think I see what you mean, but did Atlas Shrugged really create “ambience”? The parts I seem most able to remember are mostly plot and character-oriented (e.g. Rearden’s relationship with his wife, Galt’s speech, Francisco D’anconia and his dashing demeanor and piracy on the high seas, etc). Maybe the closest thing I can think of to ambience is the feeling of decay and corruption contrasted with Galt’s Gulch (which feels if anything like something Scrooge McDuck would live in with the dollar sign everywhere).
To me the ambience is one of the most memorable features of the book. The following four paintings by Edward Hopper capture something of it:
(That’s as far as descriptions go — I think Rand’s descriptive passages are the most underrated aspect of her work — but I also had in mind, e.g., dialogue.)
Unless they include a plotline where Shia Laboeuf and the heroic u.s. military battle massive, transforming space robots, I will not watch this flick. Fortunately, most new movies contain such scenes, so I’m sure this one will be no different.
So “ambience” means, “it looks like the 1940’s.”
While I do love movies that embrace the ambience of a particular era like Sky Captain and the World of Tommrow, I think that a simliar stylistic touch would date the movie. I am also fine with naturalism for this movie if it makes the charcthers sound like stylized “real” people instead of idealogical robots.
But isn’t there a sense in which the movie has to be dated? Trains play an even less central role in our economy than they did when Rand wrote, so it would feel odd, I think, to tell a story apparently set in our time (or 2016) in which they’d become thoroughly important. And Rand’s own vision for the book seems likely to have involved the depiction of something like her own time.
Maybe these are just rationalizations for the fact that I love Hopper.
Extra! Extra! Chartier loves Hoppe! Leftists finally concede!
The hilarity of reporter errors. My silly brain is thinking of this as well:
The article says the movie explains why the airline industry has collapsed. But in any case I think the film should be done as an alternate reality — kind of like the animated Batman series that mixed 1940s touches with 1990s touches.
Cool! I almost saw the original.
I guess some of you have not heard of the new government boondoggle in high-speed rail.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) recently voted to begin construction on the inaugural stretch of a state-wide rail system…etc.
I suspect that this film is being produced merely to hold onto the rights to Atlas Shrugged.
Filming started two days before a deadline to start production, after which, the rights would have reverted back to Ayn Rand’s estate.
The relatively small $5 million budget hints at this as well.
This is not unusual in the movie business. In the 90’s there was a Fantastic Four movie made on a slim budget that never got released. Bootlegs of the film reportedly got out and word is it was quite terrible. It is widely presumed that it was done to preserve the rights to the franchise.
Similarly, 20th Century Fox will continue to produce X-Men films, and Sony Pictures will do so for Spider-Man films, on a regular basis to preserve the rights to the franchises, lest rights revert back to Marvel Comics, who now have their own movie studio.
You need not suspect Shawn, the financier Aglialoro said in the linked interview they were filming to satisfy the expiration of the movie rights. He also said they tried for the last 15 years to get a major studio to pick it up but none of them would commit to it.
On a side note, I remember seeing John Aglialoro during ESPN’s coverage of the 2004 U.S. Poker Championship (which Aglialoro ended up winning). During an interview, Aglialoro mentioned that he was CEO of a company that makes exercise equipment. He then launched into a brief monologue about how proud he was to be a CEO, since CEOs are the “producers of the world”, or something to that effect. I remember thinking to myself, “This guy sounds like a character out of an Ayn Rand novel.” Turns out I wasn’t too far off, I guess.
Yeah it seems like a huge division between the way you view economics is embodied in the question “Who are the producers?” If you ask socialists, the workers are the producers and the capitalists merely “give permission” for various things to be used in certain ways. If you ask Ayn Rand, well you get Hank Rearden and John Galt. 🙂