An Open Letter to the Atlas Shrugged 3 Kickstarter

Categories: Film and TV

Dear Dedicated Filmmakers,

I want to start off by telling you that I really do admire what you're trying to do. No really. I know that I'm speaking here in the pixels of what you consider a liberal rag, but I swear to you that I legitimately love Ayn Rand's novel. I've read it a dozen times, and it still draws me in every time.

When I heard that you were trying to make a movie about it, I felt the exact same way I did when I heard that Watchmen was finally coming to the big screen, or Lord of the Rings. I was elated, but very cautious. How on Earth can you turn works of that scope into films?

I don't know, and to judge by the first two films neither do you, but hey, I'm really, really proud of you guys for trying. It's an accomplishment to say that you did it. Now I'm hearing that the final chapter, Who is John Galt? (Aside: Why are these not Non-Contradiction, Either-Or, and A is A?), is being partially crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and as Houston Press' regular Kickstarter correspondent I must weigh in.

Please stop.

See also: 10 Best Ayn Rand Tributes on Etsy

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High as my hopes are for these films, they have been financial disasters, and I'm sorry, but a liberal Hollywood elite has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they failed. They've failed because you have completely misunderstood everything that made the novel great.

Yes, the book is held up as a Libertarian Bible and is a major influence on any number of conservative thinkers. You rightfully claim in your Kickstarter that the book is second only to The Bible in the number of Americans it has inspired... though according to the Library of Congress it is a distant second. That's fine, but what the hell is the book actually about?

I'll tell you... it's about a woman who learns to stand, and to let go of harmful influences that weigh her down from achieving her true potential. Everything else, the rhetoric, the Objectivism, the anti-government ranting, is just a backdrop for that most basic and tested of literary tropes.

That was Rand's genius as a novelist, you understand? That she could take things that nobody cared about and make them mean something because they meant something to characters that we could identify with. Dagny Taggart is a supremely talented and intelligent woman. The whole world stands in her way because of her gender, because of her views, and because she most of all refuses to even pretend to assimilate. Everyone but the most misogynistic of d-bags can get behind that. There may be no more American protagonist in the history of literature.

Piece continues on next page.


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26 comments
scrantonpa
scrantonpa

Jefff, I look forward to your review of AS III  -- after you watch it, of course. 

richrob47
richrob47

Thank you for trying to be fair. You sound like you think Atlas Shrugged is just a love story about the life of Dagny Taggert. As if Titanic was a love story about Jack and Rose with a silly boat sinking in the background. Atlas Shrugged is about much much more. Throughout the film we see the dangers of oppressive government regulation, the damage done by out of control government agencies, the difficulty in running a business with uneducated unmotivated workers and warnings about how we are heading down this path. I see room for improvement when it comes to making ASIII but I see nothing that would suggest they give up. 

davidp070
davidp070

Ayn Rand teaches the world that self-centered, narcissistic anarchist bullshit is to be worshiped.

If I had to single out a solitary writer for causing the mess we have now with the Tea Retards trying to hold the country hostage, it'd be her.

dbhalling
dbhalling

Thanks for mentioning property rights in your article.  You are ignoring the fact that the movies have introduced thousands to the novel "Atlas Shrugged."  As of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign is almost 99% funded with 22 days left to go.  Thanks, in part, to your negative press, people understand the importance of backing a project such as this.  


SteveBuckstein
SteveBuckstein

Jef, if I hadn't read "Atlas" I might find your analysis compelling. But I have, and millions of others have read it also. I doubt more than a handful, when asked, would come to your conclusion about what story Rand was telling.  

The first two films may not do the story justice, as you argue, but that doesn't make a case for not trying again, or not trying to partially fund it through Kickstarter. 

You may have made a case for looking at "Atlas" in an additional light, but you did nothing to diminish the light that it was meant to shine, and continues to shine on the relationship between the individual and the state.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@scrantonpa That's Pete's gig. He gets the big boy theatre reviews. I'll have to watch it on Netflix like the other two. 

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@richrob47 The financial failure of the first two isn't a reason to not do a third? I mean, isn't NOT learning that your virtues are skewed what the bad guys do?

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@dbhalling I highly doubt anyone has been led to the novel from the movies. The novel is a seminal work of literature that has never been out of print for half a century. The movies will be forgotten by the end of the next election cycle, save as a footnote.

wrededarren
wrededarren

@dbhalling >>>You are ignoring the fact that the movies have introduced thousands to the novel "Atlas Shrugged."

And you are ignoring the fact that the lousiness of the two movies has also dissuaded thousands of others from reading the novel. A knowledgeable moviegoer who is appalled at the crudeness of the screenwriting and directing in Parts I and II is scarcely going to run to Amazon.com to buy the novel. Additionally, his negative word-of-mouth advertising to friends and colleagues will certainly not suggest to them that, though they'll hate the movie, they'll probably love the novel, so run right out and buy it.

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@SteveBuckstein So... the first two films fail, but it'll totally work the third time if we just keep trying the same thing? Seriously, did you READ the book? Your comment sounds like a piece Jame Taggart dialogue. 

richrob47
richrob47

The book Atlas Shrugged has enjoyed a strong audience for 56 years. It is more relevent today than it ever was. These producers are trying to bring that message to the screen. If financial failure is the barometer then shut down The New York Times, MSNBC....

dbhalling
dbhalling

@JefWithOneF 

here is one "anyone"-

"I was lead to the book by the movie, but I'm the type that searches for answers and that's where my journey led me...I'm so glad I'm not just one who goes along to get along....always in a fog. Why would you waste your time writing an article about something so unworthy that it will be "forgotten by the next election cycle"? And has it occurred to you that getting the messages of Atlas Shrugged to as many as possible IS the profit of making the movies? Because you never know when a mind will open. "
Read more at http://www.galtsgulchonline.com/posts/c93ba5/countdown-to-our-goal#4jup5RIVWysQSHpV.99

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@wrededarren @dbhalling Thank you. I do encourage everyone to read the book. It's good, and it's an important piece of American art. The movies, though, are worthless dreck that have all the subtlety of a freshman trying to unhook a bra.

SteveBuckstein
SteveBuckstein

@JefWithOneF @SteveBuckstein Jef, I didn't predict that the third film will "totally work." I hope it will...there's a big difference. 

 Plus, I didn't put any of my own money into the first two firms, but have contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for the third film. With my investment luck, that may just do the trick...LOL

JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@richrob47 Because not continuing down a road of self-indulgent ruin is the whole message of the book. 

richrob47
richrob47

Excellent point. Some things are worth more than profits. I found this book late in life. It was the first film,ASI, that made me want to go buy the book. I now wish I had found it years ago.

richrob47
richrob47

The third installment is going to be made. I'm not sure why that bothers some people???

dbhalling
dbhalling

@JefWithOneF  

lol I actually love the metaphor-however, the girl always undid her own bra for me

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