Darwin's Theories Blog

New Theories for a New Time

Atlas Shrugged; The Movie

Atlas Shrugged is a 1957 novel by Ayn Rand that has had far more influence than its critics would like to admit. It is also a very long and quite abstract novel; some would wonder whether such a book can be made into a movie successfully. However, all I've seen indicates that they have in fact done so. I haven't seen the movie yet as it has not yet made an appearance in any of the small cities near me nor in Toronto, but there are several trailers on the movie site, and several people I respect have reviewed it favorably. And it is - in spite of no help from mainline Hollywood - selling well. If you are a fan of the original book, do not expect it to mesh exactly with your imagination's vision of the scenery, as it is set in our near future (2016, when the current rising oil price moves people back to railroads from less fuel-efficient vehicles), rather than in Rand's near-future post-1957. People in the movie have cell phones, drive modern-looking cars, and the John Galt Line train bears a remarkable resemblence to the modern Bombardier/Alstom Acela trains, rather than the FP-9 locomotive I imagined when I read the novel. But setting a movie in the present does not detract from its watchability. The first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, written in 1953, was released as a movie in 2006, vaguely set in our present despite the fact that its story arc lays the groundwork for Bond's character in all the "later" Bond films made from the 1960s to the present. You have to suspend some disbelief to watch any movie (with the possible, and I emphasize that word, exception of documentaries). Relax, watch and enjoy - then consider.