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Atlas Shrugged

I went to see Atlas Shrugged with Elle Saturday night. It had it's flaws, but overall it was an excellent movie. I'm glad they didn't have the budget for big name actors. There was talk for a while of Angelina Jolie playing Dagny Taggart, and she probably would have been pretty good, especially since a lot of people think Ms. Taggart is a bit more sultry than Taylor Schilling. But if they could have afforded her, I would have looked at the screen and seen Angelina Jolie, not Dagny Taggart.

The cast in general was pretty good. Grant Bowler was excellent as Hank Rearden. He looked exactly like the Hank Rearden I pictured when I read the book. Rebecca Wisocky as his wife Lillian was also good, giving the best portrayal of a bitch since Mary Tyler  Moore in ordinary people. Graham Beckel was also good playing Ellis Wyatt, arguably turning in the best performance in the movie. Rand has been criticized for making her characters emotionless automaton's, but Beckel's Wyatt was the complete opposite of that. He was a man who could show anger and could enjoy a good time and the company of good friends.

The movie only covered the first third of the book. John Galt was handled differently...you actually saw him approaching people and inviting them to disappear. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I liked the way the book introduced him slowly, initially as an employee of Taggart Transcontinental, and only later  revealing his true identity.

Much of the movie dealt with Dagny Taggarts decision to use Rearden metal in her rails, and the obstacles she faced from the National Science Board. That's a fictitious organization, but there are plenty like it in the world today. Their repeated (incorrect) claims that Rearden Metal was unsafe reminded me a lot of the global warming alarmism we hear today. They were an excellent example of Post Normal Science in action.

There was some excellent cinematography, especially of The John Galt Line going across bridges made from Rearden Metal. These scenes very nicely dovetailed with the  points described in the paragraph above. After all the "experts" said Rearden Metal was unsafe, Rearden and Taggart felt perfectly comfortable on a Rearden Metal bridge hundreds of feet in the air.

As I said, the movie only covered the first third of the book. It ended with Wyatt's torch being ignited. Those who have read the book know what I am talking about, and I won't spoil it for those who haven't. Suffice to say it was powerful and exhiliarating. I applauded, and not from a desire to be supportive. I really felt it.
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