Friday, February 11, 2011

Atlas Might Shrug

This is mildly bothersome. Atlas Shrugged really does not lend itself to the big screen. It is a wonderful book, but it is a book driven by its philosophical underpinnings rather than the characters. Indeed, when Rand set out to write the book, the goal was to show how the looters in this country are the truly despicable people, not the productive members of society. This was done in a simple way: remove the "evil rich people" from society and see how long society keeps running. Answer: not long. I'm not an Objectivist, but it did continue me down the path towards libertarianism. An audience incapable of reading a book isn't going to respond well towards of a movie based on a book like this. It would be like turning Notes From Underground into a movie; there just isn't enough action to hold a modern audience's attention. Maybe the mystery of who John Galt is will help?

If they wanted to make a Rand book into a movie (something I wouldn't recommend, period), the best bet would probably be The Fountainhead. That book was more character driven rather than as an analysis of a whole system. Toohey is a great evil character. Atlas Shrugged has many despicable people but nobody who can really stand out as the antagonist. Of course, people would not understand the fairly infamous scene between Roark and Dominique, but that is their problem.

This book will not win any converts, so I do hope the producers did not have that as their goal. Hopefully it makes a great visual accompaniment for current fans of the book. I like the look from the trailer, anyway.

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