Regular readers know that although I was a big fan of Ayn Rand when I was younger, my philosophy of life has gone off on quite a dramatic tangent since then. (Click on the "Ayn Rand" category link at the bottom of this post if you want to read my critiques of her ideas and the movement they spawned, Objectivism.) Even so, I still have a certain sentimental or nostalgic affection for Rand's novels, and I think her message of individualism and self-reliance, though overstated, does provide a useful counterpoint to the ever-encroaching nanny state.
That's why, when I heard that her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged was being made into a relatively low-budget ($5 million) movie on a rushed production schedule, I was disappointed. It seemed to me that such a big book, which still matters a great deal to so many people, deserved better treatment.
Admittedly, the movie in production is Part One of a planned trilogy, so it covers only the first part of the book. Still, with a no-name cast, a TV director, limited production values, an untested screenwriter, and a neophyte producer, the film sounded like a long shot at best.
Well, now there's a trailer on YouTube, and I have to say ... it looks pretty darn good! Much better than I expected, certainly.
Of course, you can't tell too much about the finished product from a brief advertisement, but it's just possible that the filmmakers have found a way to convert Rand's somewhat dated and heavy-handed story into a slick, contemporary drama with thriller overtones. They may even have found a way to make the railroad industry seem dynamic and relevant to today's audience.
Will the finished film be any good? It's too soon to tell, but I'm suddenly a lot more interested in this ambitious and interesting project.
Incidentally, the movie is scheduled for theatrical release on April 15. Hmm, I wonder how they came up with that date ...
The official movie website is here.