To quote Ellsworth Monkton Toohey in The Fountainhead,
“…we did not have the man to originate the idea.”
And until a couple years ago, we didn’t.
It was the early or mid 2000s when Atlas Shrugged appeared with a page on imdb.com. First it was Brangelina, rumoured, then established, then not there, then rumoured again as Dagny and John. The status stayed “in development” for quite some time, then the role of John was taken up with some 57 year old. (not anything like the book) Then it faded again. Then I think Angelina disappeared and Charlize Theron popped in there. Then more silence and no cast listing. And when pretty much everybody had decided that it truly could not be done, we’re about a year out from the theater with a full cast and then the official site appeared and photos started coming and then Facebook and Twitter campaigning and this past Friday 4/15 I sat in a theatre with probably 50 other people and watched Part 1 of the novel.
Would I agree to watch a 60hr unabridged miniseries? Hell yeah! But the movie industry doesn’t work like that and such a thing would have to be on Showtime or some other paid channel because we couldn’t tolerate mainstream TV with a plague of commercial interruptions, preemptions and other ratings killers. So they did it in a way that worked. The book’s in 3 parts, do it one part at a time. The bigger name actors are a lot more demanding and tend to shift attention from the story. I think if they’d fumbled through with Angelina and Brad, it might have a larger initial draw of people but people would be coming for reasons that might detract from the book and its message.
There are bits that are straight out of the novel. There are other scenes that were modified for flow. The film goes along at a good pace for 1.5 hrs. The editing is well done. Other than one bit of dialogue at the end I did not detect any plotholes. And even the line was okay being there just not expected at this point in the story. There were a few actors who weren’t exactly as Ayn Rand described their characters but I wasn’t expecting that. They did an excellent job of picking the actors. There were a couple I’ve seen play weasley characters in other films and on television and I thought they were a good fit. Overall I thought it was an excellent film and the best possible tribute to a story that has captivated readers for more than 50 years. This is one I’ll probably go see a few more times before it goes to DVD.