Ayn Rand Institute’s Yaron Brook on the Atlas Shrugged Movie

Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute discusses the Atlas Shrugged movie and the message of the novel. Notable comments: “Basically sticks to the story of the book…I went into the movie with low expectations…a lot of the movie is mediocre…characterization is not really fleshed out…complexity of Rearden character is missing…” and “When many of us read the book it changed our lives…it changed the way we thought about the world. I don’t believe anyone will walk into this movie…  and walk out of it … and say my life has been changed.”

What all the fuss in Wisconsin was about…

From Restrictions on Public-Employee Unions in Wisconsin Become Law (WSJ):

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law Friday eliminating most collective-bargaining rights for the state’s public employees, while boosting how much they will pay for their benefits and making it tougher for public unions to retain members.

[..] Under the law, unions said it will be more difficult for them to retain members. The new law requires that 51% of all eligible workers—including those who don’t vote—approve a union, which means unions can win a majority of votes cast, but still be barred from representing workers. Previously unions had to win a majority of votes cast. The state also will stop collecting dues automatically as soon as contracts end. Peter Davis, general counsel of the Wisconsin Employee Relations Committee, the state agency that oversees union elections, said he didn’t believe any other state requires unions to win a majority of eligible voters.

[…] Many union members object to the tougher election requirements. “Annual certification is just a complete tactic to bust the unions,” said Chris Fons, a 45-year-old high school teacher from Milwaukee. Mr. Walker defended the changes in union elections. “It really puts the onus on saying if the union wants to provide value they have to prove it,” he said. “If people believe it then they’ll come out and vote.”

Under the previous system state workers were forced to pay money to unions that they did not approve of. In fact, in the 28 non-right-to-work states, unions had negotiated provisions that forced government employees to pay union dues — or get fired.

Atlas Shrugged Adaption “Competent” and “Credible” according to TOS Review

The Objective Standard (TOS) reviews Part 1 of the Atlas Shrugged Movie Adaption.

The review praises the acting of  Taylor Schilling (Dagny) and Grant Bowler (Rearden) for executing their parts near perfectly, while pointing out that:

…Each plot point is there, as is much of Rand’s dialogue sans most of the overt expressions of her philosophic viewpoint, which first-time director Paul Johansson does his best to illustrate instead through the actions of the characters and the events of the plot. For the most part, the script stays true to the novel while updating it in ways that do not blunt the power of Rand’s theme—no small feat.

The review summarizes that “Atlas Shrugged: Part I is not the novel and it does not pretend to be,” but that:

…It is a fairly competently made, credible adaptation of one of the most complex novels ever written. Even with its flaws, the film is enjoyable and has wonderful moments, including some in which it captures the power of the novel—such as the party during which Dagny gets the Rearden Metal bracelet, the scene during which Hank hands over his ore mine to Paul Larkin, and the already mentioned scene during which Dagny and Hank discover the motor. Fans of Ayn Rand’s masterpiece likely will enjoy these scenes in particular and appreciate the movie generally. Those unfamiliar with the story will probably enjoy the movie as well and may find their curiosity sufficiently piqued to read the book. If so, they will be even more richly rewarded. All in all, Atlas Shrugged: Part I will be a satisfactory journey for many viewers and could help increase awareness of Rand’s work.

Read the full review here.