So, Atlas Shrugged (Part 1 of what is sure to be the most interminable trilogy, ever) has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As the faithful Randites tell it though, this is just the slander of parasites, who do not recognize the film’s greater qualities. Or it may have something to do with the fact that it’s a poorly made movie, adapted from one of the most notoriously wooden and badly written novels of the 20th century. Or it could be the fact that this movie just demands too much of a mass audience. It’s designated heroes are corrupt Corporate CEOs whining about how no one recognizes their geniuses while the designated villains are everyone else, including the nameless masses, derided as parasites who are fit for nothing but being squashed by the giant brains of capitalist enterprise. And all of the drama is wrapped up in CEO speak about trains and metallurgy. Exciting.
While it is possible to make dry subject matter exciting, this isn’t the way to do it. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin made lawyers and code geeks fucking riveting stuff in The Social Network. But then, they’re David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin. And while the hero of The Social Network may have been saddled with near-aspergers level of social awkwardness, no one tried to portray this crippling flaw as a heroic virtue. Ultimately, that’s the flaw of Atlas Shrugged. The book and the movie it’s based on is an attempt to wrap a sociopathic philosophy in a thin melodrama starring protagonists who are petulant rich douche bags in the mold of the same class of people who are currently trying to end Western Civilization with their abhorrent greed and narcissism. A thousand Aaron Sorkins and a million David Finchers couldn’t make that movie fly and the producers of Atlas Shrugged didn’t even try, instead settling for the production values of a cash strapped after school special.
With any luck, the producers will be so incensed by the dismissal of their genius by us parasites, they’ll go Galt and spare us the rest of the trilogy.