DVD Review: Atlas Shrugged


So the new DVD for Atlas Shrugged came out last night, so instead of watching the St. Louis Blues resoundingly defeat the Chicago Wolves (at least, I think they must have looked like a minor league team), I watched it. I was a little sad I missed it in the theaters, you know.

Some were disappointed, but I was not; I realize that the entirety of the book could not fit easily into a film, no matter how many parts they split it into. Galt’s speech alone runs three hours by itself. So if you’re that keen on absolute textual integrity, as so many OBJECTIVISTS probably are, yeah, you’re disappointed. Also, the characters won’t look exactly like you imagined them. Worse, they won’t look exactly like Ayn Rand (PBUH) incarnated them.

But the themes are there. The main plot points, as I recall them (it’s been almost ten years since I read it, prolly). The plot moves along and the dialog is more punchy than what Ayn herself wrote. So if you’re an objectivist apostate, like me, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’re not already an Ayn Rand fan, perhaps you’ll find something of a story where increased government intrusion into private industry results in disaster that leads to increased government intrusion into private industry (rinse, blather, repeat).

But because those are the main themes and the businesspeople are unapologetically the good guys, I wonder if this sort of story can resonate with audiences. The theatrical return were disappointing, if I recall. Maybe the DVD and online sales will prove lucrative. I expect so. It looks like Part II is a go. Good.

But here are a couple nitpicks I had:

  • In one of the radio/television cuts in the “How Bad Things Are” montage, they mention gas is over $37.50 a gallon. And then Dagny Taggert, protagonist, and Hank Rearden, industrialist and hence protagonist, drive from Colorado to Wisconsin and back. Maybe that’s to show how rich they are, but the economics of it don’t add up.
  • When Dagny and Rearden consummate their relationship, it’s a tender, PG-13 love scene. Come on, a tender love scene in an Ayn Rand novel means they use open hands. Admit it, when you read Ayn Rand depicting the mating ritual of homo sapiens, you imagine it something like this:

Still, a worthy way to spend an hour and a half. Makes me want to cue up my videocassette of The Fountainhead which trumps Atlas Shrugged because, well let me put it syllogistically:

  1. Gary Cooper
  2. Patricia Neal
  3. QED

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