4.24.2011

Atlas Will Shrug

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours."  -Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)


I actually first heard this quote on an episode of One Tree Hill. I wrote it on my closet door and asked for Atlas Shrugged for Christmas. I couldn't put it down. I even passed it on to my boyfriend and as soon as he finished we ran to Borders to pick up The Fountainhead and all of Ayn Rand's other political, religious, and philosophical publishings. Ayn Rand uses fiction to convey real ideas and problems through ingenious writing. Its not always easy to understand politics unless you yourself are in that situation; Rand puts you there. She points out the overlooked absurdities and introduces John Galt as our deliverance. So who is John Galt? 


Well, that's the question I saw on an Atlas Shrugged: Part 1's movie poster, simply push-pinned on the wall of Coffeebean. I was ecstatic. And even though I had to put off my attendance until after Coachella, it was on my mind the entire time. It wasn't even so much that my favorite book was being made into a movie, but it was that people were actually going to see this movie and hopefully, in return, they would receive the same message as the actual text. I knew I would be happy just because others would be exposed and enjoying these ideas.


However the movie didn't quite convey my expectations. First of all, the director and John Galt is Dan from One Tree Hill...whenever I heard his voice I thought he was going to murder someone. However the coincidence in show connections was a little exciting (to me at least.) Anyways, the movie probably starts at 150 pages into the text, which leaves unread movie viewers a little overwhelmed and confused by the plot. I would recommend you see this movie with someone who has read the book. It IS a lot of material that had to be condensed and I do applaud them for doing well with their time, but I would've preferred for it all to be there. There also isn't enough character introduction or situational context. The actors are not the best in their field and deliver their lines with a stale tone, completely void of the passionate voices you read in the book. There also isn't much development between the characters, leaving viewers unable to make connections and really understand the complexities in their decisions. And the thing that irked me the most was definitely that they set the movie in year 2016. I can see they were trying to connect with today's current economic situation as it tends to condemn those currently sustaining our country, but it just didn't work for me. 


After all this, the plot did still touched on the most important ideals of Ayn Rand and it is still just as important that they are introduced to perhaps a different audience than the book itself. There was definitely a sense of sympathy for Rearden and Dagny; I know everyone will feel that. Their situations are the most important to be understood if any effect is expected to be made on viewers. 


But needless to say, the movie was low budget. I know how badly anyone who has read this book would love to see it as a movie and I think the eagerness took priority over getting it just right. Then again, maybe it was just my own high level of anticipation that left me disappointed by this adaptation. I had these characters perfected in my mind and their feelings come across so real in the text. I think most of the positive reviews for this movie are simply the ecstatic readers, like myself, who can't wait to connect images with words--regardless of what they might actually be. I can't say I'm unhappy the movie was made, but I hope its sales are enough to better fund Part 2 and make it as stunning as it really is. I heard others in the theater stating their enjoyment of the film and if they love it, well, that's the best start. I have confidence Paul Johansson will be able to bring the second and third installments out of the rubble. Besides, I've trusted him for many episodes of One Tree Hill already! (Maybe that doesn't really speak to his credibility for a lot of you? But remember he's directing, not writing!) Anyone who would choose to make this movie must know of its importance, so I trust he has the same intentions I would.


This book will shake foundations. It deserves to made to the highest standards of quality. That being said, you will not like this book if you have very liberal foundations. Atlas Shrugged speaks of individualism and the right for those who work to earn. It's not meant to offend, it's meant to intrigue thought. I think anyone who reads this book will feel the human qualities of a political spectrum and I hope it can give everyone the chance to consider an open-mind when taking a stand for anything. These characters are real in Atlas Shrugged's very first pages and its their struggle to mend the world that promotes accomplishment understanding. 


Seriously, READ IT!