Thursday, April 28, 2011
Let me start by saying I have not seen (nor am I ever likely to see) John Aglialoro's new flick, Atlas Shrugged (Part I), which he intended to be the first installment of a trilogy of films dedicated to Ayn Rand's eponymous novel.
Sorry, John, but I've already read the book.
Right-wingers everywhere have been licking their chops in anticipation of this production. Remember how Tolkien geeks (I admit, I was one of them) piteously anticipated Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series? It's like that, only worse.
Because, unlike Tolkien fans who were enthused and excited about seeing lifelong heroes brought to life with cinematic wizardry, Ayn Rand fans seemed to imagine that rendering Atlas Shrugged for the big screen would make the Rand philosophy, Objectivism, accessible to the masses. It is as if they somehow hoped that the movie might bring the Light of Truth to the hoi polloi, that it might usher in a bold new world where self-love is the only real love.
(Objectivism, of course, holds that the profit motive, the motive of attaining personal gain, is the only truly virtuous motive. According to Rand and her disciples, altruism, charity, and even love are sabotaging notions that diminish the individual.)
Well, too bad, so sad, Objectivists. After a respectable limited-release opening weekend, when emotionally-stunted Tea Party patriots rushed out to see it, the film's revenues dropped drastically. In its second weekend the film grossed a mere $900,000, even though the number of screens showing the film expanded to over 400. That is nearly a 50% fall off. And as box office numbers go, that spells "flop."
Having suffered through all 1000+ pages of Rand's monstrous magnum opus some 20 years ago, I can't say I'm surprised at the muted response to the film. I found the book to be repulsive and horrifying. It is a cold, nonsensical diatribe, delivered with an embarrassingly naive conviction. I find it difficult to believe that Objectivism can have much appeal to anyone who has ever --oh, I don't know --loved another human being, for example.
One right-wing blogger, who apparently drove an hour and a half to get his dose of Ayn Rand goodness, afterward urged his readers to go see the film or, if it was not showing near them, to call local theaters and demand that it be shown. He closed with an unintentionally hilarious plea, urging action from fellow Objectivists because, after all, "...it's not just for you."
Er --Mr. Rightwing Freak, crack open that book and have another look. I'm not sure you got it.