Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Atlas Shrugged being made into a movie

When I first started this blog last summer, I made a list of all the topics I could choose from. In no time at all I created a large list (most I brainstormed when I was bored at work). As I started writing this blog, many of those ideas got pushed aside as more timely topics emerged. One topic I was particularly excited about was my Ayn Rand post. Written on my scrap of paper, it reads, "Atlas Shrugged will never be made into a movie." Now when I wrote that I felt I had all the time in the world to wait. Now, I find that not only is the movie in development, but it's set to be released in April. Imagine my surprise. But now the question is, should it be made into a movie?

Such a lame poster.

There was always talk of it being made, but 40 years of development hell ensured that any rumors about it being made were nothing but rumors. Last I heard, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were suppose to be making the movie. Every Rand fan now sighs in relief that Brangelina are not involved in it. But who is involved? Like the Left Behind series, the popular yet hard to market book has been adapted by unknowns.

The only name I recognize is Jon Polito.

Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism and Rand herself have always been controversial. Her philosophy may empower some people, but it also has the capability of enabling total dickheads in their dickhead ways. Some see it as a breath of fresh air, others see it as nothing but an excuse for selfishness and greed. Whenever met with opposition, real Rand fans argue that those who never read Atlas Shrugged cannot judge it. The thing of it is, Atlas Shrugged is more than a thousand pages with size eight font. Being such a mammoth undertaking, it is completely impenetrable to anyone not already fanatical about the lady.

It's not a novel it's a 1,300 page straw-man argument.

Such impenetrability makes it hard to debate the book. That's what makes a movie so important to the Objectivist's cause. Now, through the power of cinema, even those who never open the tome can use buzz words like "moochers" and "looters" and ask that stupid freaking question, "Who is John Galt?" A question that is being found more and more at Tea Party rallies, like some kind of retarded war cry. It's a nonsensical catchphrase for the Fox News watcher who drapes themselves with the Gadsden Flag and talks to you about anchor-babies.

I want to punch whoever left the apostrophe out of that damn flag.

I admit, I never really had any respect for Rand. I thought of her as a childish windbag. Growing up in Russia, her family's fortune was destroyed by the revolution. Now I can understand why she wouldn't be a fan of communism after all of that. But to go and invent a whole philosophy that stands for everything communism is against is almost laughable. She doesn't like a world where everyone shares, so she creates the most selfish thought process around. I call it "Family Ties Syndrome," although Rand could never be as likable as Michael J. Fox.

I would not want to hang out with her.

Here's why I have no respect for the new Atlas Shrugged movie. The fact of the matter is, it's trying to hard. Just look at the poster, cluttered with ham-fisted imagery but never really amounting to anything. Even the release date, April 15, is trying too hard. April 15 is, of course, Tax Day and both Rand's novel and every ass that calls themselves an Objectivist are anti-income tax. The production company, Strike Productions, is also lacking subtlety, being named after Atlas Shrugged's working title. I don't respect this film because it isn't even a film. It's a statement. The only reason it is being made is so they can say they finally made an Atlas Shrugged movie.

But the question still remains whether the movie should be made in the first place. Even spread across a whole trilogy, there is no way to fit that dense piece of wood pulp onto the screen. The real Rand fans will only be insulted by what's been left out. The fact that the movie is probably not going to be widely released will only add to the fans and pundits venom. They want to be able to say that "This is the movie Hollywood doesn't want you to see." The truth is the movie nobody should see. Any justice done to Rand cannot be achieved by director Paul Johansson, who is mostly known for acting in One Tree Hill.

He was also in a Highlander television series.

From 1995-2007, authors Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins wrote the massively popular Left Behind series, made up of 16 books about rapture and the people left behind to battle the Anti-Christ. While it may have been a popular book series, no studio really wanted to commit themselves to a religious story that enormous. That didn't really stop Kirk Cameron and Cloud Ten Productions, a Christian movie studio in Canada. Cameron, Growing Pains star turned devote Christian, starred in the main role. The books were condensed into a trilogy. A video game was even made.

This movie poster screams badass.

At this point I'd normally recognize the true Rand fans and cry for their favorite book being boiled down to a manipulative, partisan catchphrase. But Rand's words have always been used for people's own selfish desires, that's why they were written by the wind-bag in the first place. I also mention the Left Behind series because, like the Left Behind series, Atlas Shrugged will be turned into a direct-to-DVD quality, astroturfed roadshow. The completion of the trilogy won't nearly get the press that the first installment is, because people don't care about the story. They just like the idea of the story.

I found John Galt, you can stop asking about him now.

And even though I don't respect Rand, I don't think her magnum opus deserves to be mistreated in such a way. Is this really the perfect time to unleash Rand's ideas on the world? Maybe the tropes are as outdated as the trains that the book depend on. The whole production is just so very shallow that it can in no way to do the book justice, which is a crime to real fans of the work. It is just being made to validate "Who is John Galt" signs. And while some fans hope that the movie will get people to read the book, I don't see it. Atlas Shrugged is famous, if you have no desire to read it yet then a movie won't change your mind. You'll just be able to watch the movie instead.

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