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Atlas Dug Or Atlas Ugh?

18 April 2011 @ 15:27

I have never, in all my years of being a film junkie, seen such heated disagreement, by people whose opinions I respect, over a movie.  The Missus and I are planning to see Atlas Shrugged Part I in a few weeks with another couple, but I don’t know whether to be prepared for a satisfying experience or to have a few cocktails beforehand to ease the severity of the cringing.

Sadly, I can’t turn to my friend, Admiral Of The Afghan Seas Smitty, for advice because he disqualifies himself with this statement:

…I’m not going to catch this or any sequel soon. Still haven’t seen Lord of the Rings, for that matter.

Truth be told, he does have some very interesting and perspective things to say about Ayn Rand as a thinker, but ‘haven’t seen’ The Lord Of The Rings!  Haven’t bothered to watch the greatest depiction of the battle between Good and Evil!  That film is an inspiration for all of us who are fighting to restore our freedoms and liberties.  It would seem that our good friend is out to sea [probably with Sissypuss — hey, as Sinatra used to say: ‘Whatever gets you through the night’].

The Admiral does, however, provide a useful service in linking to filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger’s review.  It is quite brutal, as this highlight will show:

Also, there is a love scene that is so cliched and lacking in imagination that I nearly walked out. Here. Is. Awesome-O. He. Is. Mounting. Her. Pan. Camera. Diagonally. That. Will. Make. It. Awesome-O.

Everything in the film was shot as boringly as possible, as unemotionally as possible, for that extra “Ayn Rand Robot Feel.” Which made Dagny Taggert’s scream at the end even more cringe-worthy. And the shot of the burning oil fields became bathetic, as opposed to operatic.

Ouch, but it is well-worth a read.  The man does know what it takes to make a good film.

The Lonely Conservative and her husband liked it:

I guess if you’re looking for some blockbuster with with all sorts of special effects and big name actors you may be disappointed. But if you’re a believer in capitalism looking for a little entertainment, knowing your hard earned dollars are helping to spread a free market message, then I would recommend the movie….

I think the expectations you walk in with are a key to whether or not you will enjoy it.  The filmmakers screwed up in not getting the most out of what relatively little money they had to make it: twenty million dollars.  The Godfather was not made on a big budget and it is one of the most beautifully filmed and wonderfully scripted movies ever made.  Francis Ford Coppola took the negative of having to work within conditions not necessarily conducive to the creative process and turned an adverse situation into a positive one through creative tricks and will.  In this age of inexpensive digital software, there is no reason why a filmmaker cannot achieve much that was denied in the past because of cost [look at what Ladd does].

TLC links to Dame Maggie’s review of Atlas Shrugged Part I over at Maggie’s Notebook:  Here and her husband like it as well and you can read the whole thing by clicking here.  He’s an interesting tidbit:

Graham Beckel, the brother of Democrat Bob Beckel, the ridiculously partisan strategist on Hannity far too often, plays Ellis Wyatt, the owner of an oil company. He says, as a conservative in Hollywood he is shunned – no one speaks to him. He said the job offers stopped when he also began appearing on Hannity. What a shame. It’s Hollywood’s loss. The guy is very good.

You would think his blowhard brother could pull a few strings for the guy with Chris Dodd.  The Good Beckel, by the way, is one of our best character actors [see: Barbarians At The Gate].

Donald Douglas approaches his review in a rewarding way: he looks at parallels in America today, with a particular focus on California.  The pictures of the closed businesses are depressing as Hell.  A highlight:

I haven’t had a chance to update with more pictures over the last couple of weeks, and not for lack of material. That said, there’s indeed some robust sectors of the economy, especially entertainment and high tech. But overall California’s economy is stagnating, and it’s not going to improve as long as Democrat-socialists continue to sabotage the business climate with high taxes to fund out-of-control spending.

Sounds like something out of a movie, or something.

Well done, Prof.

As a film aficionado [sic], I would see this film no matter what.  Heck, Mrs. Belvedere and I enjoy watching bad movies from the 1970’s for a laugh.  Normally, we would wait for it to be available on cable or OnDemand, but we’re looking forward to an evening out with that couple I’ve mentioned.  And, besides, we’re planning on having cocktails afterwards and the great thing about those is that they can be used to celebrate a triumph and help melt away one’s sorrows.

Title: Atlas Holding Golden Obama Symbol

  1. 18 April 2011 @ 17:46 17:46

    The sex scene was awful. Pathetic, especially if you “know” about Dagny and Hank. Having said that, I would not have been embarrassed to be there with my 30-ish son. That is a good thing, and the fact that the scene was shot incorrectly, may qualify as the only one incorrectly shot. Besides, there was no sexual tension between the two, but loads of it in the book. There just wasn’t time.

    About the budget, while the Godfather was THE epic of perfection of anytime, Atas had to deal with a lot of scenery, with amazing train and rail shots. Considering everything, you did get the feeling that the trains were simply awesome, not to mention Rearden Metal.

    It is far from my favorite movie, but it is a very good movie and the message is the whole thing…the big thing, in my opinion. It’s a lesson in how Lobbyists are destroying this country.

    Bob, thank you for the lovely link!

  2. bobbelvedere permalink*
    18 April 2011 @ 18:43 18:43

    You’re quite welcome, Dame Maggie, and thanks for the additional thoughts on the film.

  3. 18 April 2011 @ 19:02 19:02

    I had the pleasure of seeing the movie on Saturday and enjoyed it very much. I actually haven’t read the book yet but I can’t wait to read the book after seeing the movie. The same thing happened to me after viewing the The Lord of the Rings movie where I ended up reading the books after seeing The Fellowship of the Ring movie. I enjoyed reading them immensely. Those books helped bring me back to reading, and able to enjoy reading. For some reason seeing certain movies first, then reading the book works for me. I think it helps me to be able to visualize the characters more easily.

  4. 19 April 2011 @ 00:53 00:53

    Go. You’ll enjoy it. While I respect that FilmLadd laid his cards on the table regarding his personal backstory with the production, I can’t help but feel that nevertheless he let it color his perceptions of the movie.


    As an immediate example, I thought the vivid landscape shots he scorned contrasted effectively with the tableaux of a decayed and crumbling society, and the construction scenes of the John Galt Line being driven across the wilderness formed a powerful visual arc that brought out the energy and grandeur and ultimate sense of accomplishment of this act of entrepreneurial creation.

    End Spoiler

    OTOH, I just spent the weekend shooting greenscreen for giant space tentacles chasing a hot meter maid, so YMMV.

  5. bobbelvedere permalink*
    20 April 2011 @ 18:51 18:51

    Tere: I’ve often been inspired to pick up a particular book in the same way.

    Richard: Do I get to see a rough cut????

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