Monday, April 11th, 2011

What Movie Would You Drive 2 Hours to See?

It’s been pointed out to me that next week Atlas Shrugged — the movie — is being released (April 15).

How serendipitous! (Or not, really…)

I had no idea a movie was in the making (but I generally don’t follow that stuff anyway – so, please, cut me a break 🙂 ).

There will be limited showings, so, I hope there’s one in my neck of the woods — or close by. I’ll define “close” as within a 2-hour one-way drive. I’d like to see it ASAP since I’ve finished the book so recently.

(My take on the book, in case you missed it.)

Apparently, the book is so long, that the movie needs to be produced in three parts. Only part 1 is available next week. You can see the trailer, which I’ve plugged in below, as well as several scenes from the movie at the official web site. There are also two spankin’ movie posters on the site.

I love the “Who is John Galt?” poster. I’m going to hang it here in my office.

Here’s the trailer:

So: what movie would you drive two hours to see?

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged Predicted the Now?

Atlas ShruggedAtlas Shrugged   has been on my “to read” list for a long time, and I finally finished it.

I “read” it via audio book — the 25th Anniversary Edition — which contained a long introduction about Ayn Rand and her process. I found it fascinating.

She journaled obsessively about the story before beginning to write, and filled hundreds of pages with information about the characters and how they felt, what they did and why they acted in certain ways and more. She determined precisely how she would portray a character and listed ways to show this to readers.

The book is a hefty tome, and the audio version was over 63 hours of listening. There were times I wanted to just pull the plug, but I persevered, and I’m glad I did.

Atlas Shrugged is the story of Dagny Taggert, who fights to save Taggert Transcontinental Railroad from failing as the US falls into a downward economic spiral. Bad economics are caused by government intrusion into industry and the economy.

The government passes the Preservation of Livelihood Law, which limits the production of any one company to the output of another; as well as the Fair Share Law, making it possible for anyone who wants its “fair share” of a commodity to simply file the paperwork and get in line, regardless if they can pay for it or not.

Big Business is essentially forced to pay for the privilege of being in business. And if obeying the laws creates a negative profit flow, they can’t close up shop: because there’s another law that states that a business must remain open and continue to employ all its workers.

[Spoiler Alert]

This government intrusion spurs John Galt, an inventor who creates a motor which would revolutionize the world, to destroy the motor and withdrawal from society. He creates a home in a Colorado valley which he hides with the help of another invention, and one-by-one invites other industrialists to join him. Their disappearance signals the end of the US economy and the death of many who no longer have the support of the industrialists.

[End Spoiler]

Rand’s writing in Atlas Shrugged can only be called ‘philosophical.” She employs rhetoric every chance she gets, which accounts for the length of the story. In fact, there is a radio speech at the end of the book, made by John Galt which lasted over two hours of my listening time.

(I never wanted to fast-forward something so much in my life!)

Part of me can’t help but feel that what Rand describes is what’s happening now in the U.S. Did she predict this present turmoil?

But that’s the nature of a philosophical work: the questions asked are timeless and thought-provoking.

I’ll go a step further and opine that Rand was writing alternate-future (rather than alternate-history), pushing the What if?  boundaries as far as they could go. Let’s hope her fiction never comes to pass.

*Photo above is courtesy of Flickr Commons/Fibonacci Blue