By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com
The Atlas Shrugged Trailer … Shrug
They said it couldn’t be done. And maybe it shouldn’t have been.
It’s taken over 50 years for Ayn Rand’s seminal, 1,000+ page work, Atlas Shrugged, to get adapted for the big screen. I’ve lost count of how many writers, directors, big-name stars, and studios have been attached at various points to this mammoth project. Angelina Jolie. Not Angelina Jolie. Randall Wallace (whose script culled the novel down to a 2 1/2 hour film and was supposed to be not bad). Lionsgate. Not Lionsgate. Vadim Perelman. Not Vadim Perelman. Miniseries. No, not a miniseries! One movie. No, wait, three movies! You practically need a spreadsheet to keep track.
Look, I am not one to beat down anyone for trying their best to make a film independently, as producer John Aglialoro has been trying to do with Atlas Shrugged for over 15 years. That’s tenacity, people.
And I am not going to get on a soapbox about Objectivism, which, as it happens, I know a few things about because there was a time, many years ago before I became an Evil Socialist Liberal, when I identified with much of Rand’s philosophy. I met my ex on an Objectivist discussion board, so in a way I guess you could say I owe my four younger children to Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged.
And I know that it’s not really fair to judge a movie solely by its trailer, and that good movies have wretched trailers, and vice versa. However … okay, you’re just going to have to go watch this trailer for yourself. Go ahead, now. No, really, it’s okay. But maybe brace yourself a bit.
Back? Okay. Now maybe it’s just me, but I never fully appreciated just how atrociously bad Ayn Rand’s ear for realistic dialogue was until I heard it expressed in this trailer. Maybe part of it is the direction and the delivery, but sweet Mother Mary! What is with all the yelling, and the laughably earnest line delivery, and the dude who looks like he’s trying to channel Philip Seymour Hoffman but doing it badly?
I get that to a large extent their hands were likely tied on the dialogue. The Ayn Rand Institute and Leonard Peikoff (who sold rights to the novel to Aglialoro) probably had all kinds of stipulations in there about not changing Rand’s language and having to pull dialogue directly from the book. And if they had changed it up too much, the Objectivist fan base for the film would have had a conniption. They take their Rand very seriously.
I’ll reserve complete judgment until I watch the entire film. Maybe it all comes together really well, and it will be as moving and emotional and artistic as a film based on an Objectivist novel can possibly be (have you ever heard Objectivist poetry? I have. I wish I hadn’t.). But good Lord. This is just part one, there are two more parts slated … I just hope the last film isn’t three hours of John Galt’s big speech and nothing else, because that? Would be excruciating.
If you’re interested, by the bye, you can read about what it took to get the film made over here.