This is an important book: one of the most important ever written, never mind the dismissive braying of the left-wing intelligentsia. One indication of its importance is of course the current political and especially economic situation, which Rand was (amongst other things) trying to warn against, and which looks as though it will get even worse. For many people too, this book was a major motivational turning point in their lives, and some quite wealthy individuals can owe part if not all of their fortune to the inspiration they got reading sections of Atlas Shrugged. For many it's a confirmation and validation of their deeply held beliefs which are too often urinated upon in the wanton egalitarianism of today's PC world. Rand always knew her philosophy would only appeal to a minority, but from THAT minority come the movers and shakers of the world.
The last point is the source of my disappointment. A New Zealand filmmaker, through his love of a series of fantasy books, spent years getting the movie rights and approaching studios until one finally succumbed and gave him almost unlimited funds to make not one but three films. The rest, as they say, is history. Based on such a major work as Atlas Shrugged, this series of films should have a budget that reflects that, ESPECIALLY given the nature of the subject and that so many well-known entrepreneurs quote it as a major influence. This is further endorsed when you consider the filmmaker rushed in and started to hustle because his 20-year option was almost up and that most of the cast in effect worked for nothing, having to abandon the project when their other shooting schedules conflicted with filming the second part.
Among the things I didn't like in it were:
D'Anconia appears too soon; The childhoods of the characters isn't addressed, so the relationships of Eddie, Dagny and Francisco isn't properly understood; One of the people Dagny quotes as missing was a an irresponsible timeserver in the book whose absence she certainly wouldn't have missed; Midas Mulligan appears right away; Galt's another one who appears far too early (I liked the way she did it in the book, with Willers unwittingly giving vital information to an anonymous worker); Ellis Wyatt is frankly too old and boozy - I got the impression from the book of an intense, fiercely disciplined YOUNG man; Reardon's lack of guilt over his relationship with Dagny takes away a vital dynamic of the story; As for the discovery of the engine and the subsequent interviews to discover its secret, it was poorly done; The reason for the failure of Twentieth Century Motors was revealed too soon and too undramatically: To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability should be trumpeted from the rooftops as the major flaw in society; The film is too short. I feel with a huge budget and 3-4 hours to tell the atory in, alot of this could have been avoided.
Sure, it's an interesting afternoon's viewing (on Channel 5, the eventual home of most movies with similar budgets), but this book deserves so much more.