Monday, April 23, 2012

I Finally Watched Atlas Shrugged, Part I

... and I liked it, despite itself.

It's a pretty lousy movie - the lead actress is stiff and the dialog has the unrecoverable flaw that it was written by Ayn Rand. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Finally, a novel and intriguing drama. Finally, something new.

Hollywood is stale beyond belief. My son jokes that modern crime dramas like CSI feature semen in every crime scene. It's everywhere - on bed sheets, couches, floors, walls, light sockets, electrical outlets and ceiling fans. Crime scene semen is de rigueur these days. So are rich, white villains who are associated with big business. No plot is ever driven by someone trying to make a big business thrive. Sure, we get stories about kids running Facebook or similar webby companies, but there aren't any adult business movies, despite it being a rich vein of drama to mine. Atlas Shrugged is a mediocre movie that was fun to watch because it just doesn't have any competition.

I hope there's a part II to it on the way. I can't wait to see the final scene from the book played out on the screen.


tim eisele said...

This is a bit related to something that occurred to me several years ago while reading a Perry Rhodan novel. In this particular one, Rhodan was creating a secret organization to help him secretly take over effective control of the Earth, and ultimately parlay this into conquering the galaxy. So far so common, except that he's the *hero*, and he was presented as having good motives for everything he did. But in most novels, and pretty much *all* movies, somebody like Rhodan would be the *villain*.

Most stories have the "heros" trying to *stop* somebody from doing something. Whether it's Frodo throwing the Ring into Mount Doom to stop Sauron, or any of hundreds of police procedurals/Holmes ripoffs where they're trying to find out what somebody is doing and arrest them, it's always a negative thing of trying to prevent something from happening, or keep something from continuing, or smash something before it can be used. Anybody who is actually trying to positively accomplish something almost always gets framed as a villain.

This really should change if movies are to be kept interesting. There are hundreds of new and exciting ways to build something or make something happen, but smashing up one thing after another that some other person is trying to create just ends up having kind of a dreary sameness after a while.

I suppose this is why my sympathies are generally more with a mad scientist, than with his "heroic" nemesis. And why I liked Hank Scorpio.

Shane Atwell said...

The dialog wasn't written by Rand. Hers was ten times better than what was used in the movie.

K T Cat said...

Shane, Rand's dialog was ghastly. Nothing could be ten times worse than that. When single characters talk for paragraph after paragraph without interruption, you wonder if everyone else has just left the room trying to get away from the droning sound of their voice.

I was at a dinner party recently where someone did that. I wanted to kill myself. In the book it happens all the time. Fortunately, I could flip past the blathering.

K T Cat said...

Tim, you make a good point. There's drama in creation as much as in destruction. Lillies of the Field is all about creation and is a wonderful movie.

And Hank Scorpio is the kind of guy we can all get behind!

Rose said...

Yep, it's stiff, and yep, we enjoyed it! And to this day, those who hadn't read the book keep remarking on the similarities between now and then. To which we say, "Yep, we been tellin' ya!"

(The scene with the wife and the necklace were the worst part, imo)

Shane Atwell said...

She's talking to you, the reader, in those dialogs, and if you couldn't understand them, your loss. Its a device used by many great authors, Dostoyevski and Victor Hugo to mention two.

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