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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Reasons to See Atlas Shrugged, The Movie Part 1

Some people who read Atlas Shrugged come away with the illusion that Objectivists, Individualists are all a bunch of cold fish, unfeeling automatons with no soul. I had not realized this for quite a while after I'd read the book the first time. I got my first clue while walking through a Houston Airport, to get to my gate and being stopped by a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche who told me I was an animal. I didn't dignify the outburst with anything more than a smirk, but the moment stuck with me.

I've been accused of many things, some accurate, some not so much, but the one thing that always comes up with people displeased with me is "unemotional". That one will cause me to laugh out loud. Guaranteed belly laugh.

I imagine that it is because I don't knee jerk every reaction, try to keep a cool head and think clearly whenever I am presented with a problem. It is rare for me to argue while I am angry. I argue, I just don't do it with my heart on my sleeve. I think most people who know me would be shocked to find I have a heart to hang on my sleeve. Of course, everyone who reads this blog knows I can rant, but even that is done with thought, trying to use reason and logic to tease out anything that floats across my mental transom.

Off all people least likely to hide under a sheet with a camera, crying over someone we don't even know, Objectivists are the least likely suspects.

When you read the book Atlas Shrugged, the dialogue can be dry, and in some of the speeches, downright eye-crossingly boring. I don't think I've ever ready John Galt's speech without falling asleep a few times. Rand wrote that way and it sold books. I think it is because to people who embrace Objectivism we understand the subtext. Not only do we understand it, while reading it we're rolling in it like a cat in catnip. So, to us it sings and reverberates loudly within our minds and we rejoice.

I waited some 30 years for a movie to be made from the book. In some ways I was nearly relieved because I would rather have a decent movie made, rather than some Hollywood rendition of what they think it should have been. And as an aside to the Hollywood Elite, if you don't like the story, don't buy the rights and change it. I personally know a couple of authors that will never sell the rights to their books based on what's been done with other stories.

However, I wanted very much to see the characters in the book, in whom I have put so much thought and emotional investment, come to life. Mostly because I wanted to see the embodiment of Francisco d'Anconia. He has some of the best lines in the book and I enjoy his spirit of Puckishness. I also wanted to see Hank Rearden in action.

I was not disappointed in the movie. Not one bit. To see people speaking and being as my ideal of heroic man was a serious thrill for me. To hear Rand's dialogue spoken with such inflection gave me some deeper understanding of the characters. However there is one character that it appears I am not more likely to understand better. Eddie Willers. In the book I could never understand why Dagny didn't take him with her. I couldn't understand the end with the frozen train and Eddie left out in the wilderness with those who had embraced the goodies of Liberalism and left with no donors, could find no way to survive and thus wandered around in gangs, stealing and thuggery were their jobs.

In the movie he is still this cipher that seems almost unnecessary in the story, and thus I cannot figure out why she left him in.

So anyway, go see Atlas Shrugged the movie, even if you haven't read the book. Last weekend it opened here in Waco, finally and will probably close soon with the summer block busters coming out. I've already started looking for pre-order on DVD. The producers are determined to finish the project with parts 2 and 3. I honestly believe that this story is just as epic and wonderful as Lord of the Rings and as deserving of that kind of audience.

Go and listen to what is being said and look at what is happening. Realize that the book was published in 1957 after 12 years of writing. She was a prophetess.

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