As we put fingers to keyboard, the cinematic release of the conclusion to Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, is less than 10 hours away. To most people, this probably qualifies as a non-event. The first film cost only $20 million to make, was shown in fewer than 300 theaters domestically, and earned back a paltry figure of less than $5 million, an anemic performance by any measuring stick.
With the sequel set to show in over a thousand theaters, there’s a chance it will make at least somewhat of a bigger splash than part one, but we shall see. The problem the film ran into the first time around was that – adapted from Ayn Rand’s magnum opus and applauding the themes of individual responsibility and capitalism – leftist leaning Hollywood didn’t want to have anything to do with the flick, so it was left to struggle along with a low budget and narrow distribution.
One thing is for sure; those people you see standing in line to see this movie tomorrow, regardless of whether it’s actually any good or not, are swanky folks indeed. And if you need a primer on what the whole deal is about, here’s a snatch and grab from Wikipedia:
“Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States, Rand’s fourth and last novel, it was also her longest, and the one she considered to be her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. Atlas Shrugged includes elements of romance, mystery, and science fiction, and it contains Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction.
The book explores a dogmatic dystopian United States where many of society's most productive citizens refuse to be exploited by increasing taxation and government regulations and go on strike. The refusal evokes the imagery of what would happen if the mythological Atlas refused to continue to hold up the world. They are led by John Galt. Galt describes the strike as “stopping the motor of the world” by withdrawing the minds that drive society's growth and productivity. In their efforts, these people “of the mind” hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where every person is a slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society. The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry.
The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is “the role of man's mind in existence”. The book explores a number of philosophical themes that Rand would subsequently develop into the philosophy of Objectivism. It advocates the core tenets of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism and expresses her concept of human achievement. In doing so, it expresses many facets of Rand's philosophy, such as the advocacy of reason, individualism, capitalism, and the failures of government coercion.”
Reason, individualism, capitalism, creativity, and a failure of government coercion. Swanky themes indeed if you ask us. (Top image: Flickr | Elvert Barnes)
The Jake Swank Team