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Viewers Shrugged

By Alyssa Rosenberg on February 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm

"Viewers Shrugged"

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Well, someone’s finally gone and made a movie out of Atlas Shrugged–or at least half a movie.  At last, we are at a point in American culture where a critical mass of people can ignore the fact that 1) Ayn Rand probably would loathe them and 2) she died on welfare, evidently a parasite of the sort that she so loathed.  This despite the fact that her Number One Fanboi basically admitted that his and her ideas about market regulation were wrong.  Ideas die hard.

But that’s enough of me renouncing the fact that I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead twice, in my younger days, and editorializing about reality.  What can we tell from this trailer?  For one, the John Galt line is going to be a CGI high-speed passenger train, presumably since a new freight line in modern days (the apparent setting) wouldn’t go anywhere.  For another, the movie is sumptuously shot.  They are doing a lot right with the tailoring and colors in the menswear, and these lavish party scenes are gorgeous.  But while I can’t recall specific lines from the book, based on how flat and unrealistic the dialog in the trailer is, the screenwriters used a lot of Rand’s own lines.

But do you know what I’m getting tired of?  Casting overweight people as characters with moral failings.  It’s a cheap shortcut, and these filmmakers are using it in spades.  Dagny and Hank and Midas and the heroes are all gaunt and angular.  Skinny people, along with miracle inventions that solve intractable engineering problems, make the world go round.

In closing: I hope Johnny Depp plays Ragnar Danneskjold.  And I hope he does it in his Jack Sparrow costume.

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