Saturday, November 19, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

Went to see it at a friend's house. Friend had a VERY nice home theater with a huge screen and room shaking audio. Comfy movie theater style seats, popcorn, it competes well with the Jax Jr.
The movie can be reviewed on several levels. I never read the Ayn Rand book upon which it is based. The plot held together and was coherent to a non-book-reader. That's better than Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, which cut so much and moved so fast that if you had not read the book you were lost.
The plot has a Colorado railroad tycoon rebuilding a worn out branch line to current standards. She orders new rail made of a supermaterial from another industrialist. There is a lot of nice photography showing giant tracklaying machines pulling up rotten wood ties and rusty rail and plunking down fresh new concrete ties, shiny rail, and replacing bridges. Naturally the lady railroad tycoon and the supermaterial industrialist form a romantic attachment. Thruout the movie we see key employees disappearing from both firms. After each disappearance someone will ask "Who is John Galt". We never do learn who John Galt is. We also see a lot of idle rich going to parties, and a lot of political scumbags passing New Dealish share-the-wealth legislation, and union scumbags attempting to scuttle progress both on the rails and back at the supermaterial foundry. This could become a rail fan's movie, a lot of nice closeups of huge trains barreling along.
The movie carries a lot of ideological freight. The friend who showed it did it as a Tea Party activity. The original anti new deal slant of the book is still there in the movie. In fact the whole movie has a new deal/great depression look-and-feel about it.
Viewed just as a movie, leaving out the ideological stuff and the Ayn Rand tie in, it's an OK but not great movie. The plot lacks conviction and has too many Tom Swift science fiction elements, the characters are cardboard (although pretty or handsome). The photography is good, lots of great scenery, gritty urban decay, lush office interiors. Most reviewers panned it, but you have to suspect that the movie's political points rubbed lefty movie reviewers the wrong way.

No comments: