Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Ayn Rand movies

As promised yesterday, I'm here writing about the movies I was watching. Since both are movies based on Ayn Rand books, most of the post may not make sense unless you have read the books.

The first one: Atlas Shrugged- Part 2. It has a pathetic rating on IMDB and is said to be worse than Part 1, but I had to watch it still, didn't I? Surprisingly, I liked Part 2 much better than Part 1. As an independent movie, it's not even average (bad graphics is one reason). As a movie that explains Objectivism, just so-so. But as a movie that somehow showed characters close enough to what I had imagined them, it was pretty awesome.

For part 1, I had thought that the characters didn't have what you imagined them to from the book. And the whole idea of setting this movie in the future seemed stupid. But in part 2, there were some points where I thought it was a good idea. You relate more to the characters because they live similar lives and speak similar language (like using tablets and saying 'asap'). But I didn't like Dagny in Part 2- she was too emotional, didn't have the right amount of confidence AND showed too much cleavage. In fact, what's with all the women in the movie? An inordinate amount of cleavage, even for a Hollywood movie. Maybe somebody thought this abstract philosophy stuff puts people off, so lets make it up with some low necks. Honestly, it made the movie a little weird-looking.
Anyway, I liked most of the other characters- James Taggart (who I think makes a good Peter Keating), Ken Dannager, Lilian, Cheryl. I was not completely happy with Fransisco, but there was one moment in the movie when he said "Isn't money the root of all evil? I have decided to stop being evil" and it made me laugh. For that moment alone, I think he wasn't a bad choice at all. But I LOVED the guy who played Rearden. He was awesome! Just the right amount of sarcasm in his smile, just the right level of confidence and laughter in his voice and perfect expressions in his eyes. And for him alone, I'd say I love the movie.
There was one thing I noticed about the movie that was minor but irked me still. When Dagny waits outside Ken Dannager's office, she thinks that she COULD open the door, but she doesn't and she notes that all that's stopping her is 'civilization'. I love that moment in the book. In the movie she actually pushes the door open, and that bothered me a lot- not because they weren't true to the book, but because that one action betrays the rest of Dagny's character so much.

Anyway, I still love the movie for Rearden alone.


After that, I saw 'Fountainhead'. It's a black and white movie and the screenplay was by Rand herself, so I thought she would stick to the book. To my surprise, she didn't. While there are no character breaches in this one, the plot is changed a great deal. Some of it might have been for length, but it appears to me that when the movie was made, they couldn't show an engaged woman being someone else's lover or getting a divorce etc. Which messes up the plot badly. I could also see the difference in acting styles (compared to now). Maybe it was that but I wasn't too impressed by any of the actors- least by Roark.

And it led me to think about how interpretations and imagination change with time- what Rand saw in her own novel is not good enough for me today! I also realized how changes in movies (compared to the respective books) sometimes annoy me. It may be because I have imagined something and what they make is not as good as what's in my head. Or maybe I hate the parts where I feel the changes don't fit the essence of the plot or characters. (Like Dumbledore shouting out incantations and waving his wand too much. So so un-Dumbledoreof him!)

The other thing is that because I have read these books, my mind fills in the info for everything that's not in the movie. Which means I have no idea whether people who haven't read the book got it or not. And that makes me a poor judge of the movie. 


But well, I'd rather read the book and imagine the story first before I see it. So, its a minor loss I will have to take I guess..

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