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Subject: Atlas Shrugged -- at an Anime con? rss

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Michael Hopcroft
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I am attending an anime-centered convention this weekend, but some things are very odd. The oddest part is that there is no anime whatsoever on the video room schedule after the first morning. Instead we get things like Rifftraxed movies, documentaries, and the first two parts of the recent film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.

Now I happened to peer into the viewing room when it was screened and there was not one single viewer there. Whoever programmed it must have realized nobody would really want to see it in a setting like that. So what did he hope to accomplish? Was he trying to promote Objectivsm or to mock it?

If he did in fact want to mock the Atlas Shrugged trilogy (and they are very mockable movies) he could have done it as a Misting program item. I've run those things at conventions before -- show a movie and encourage people in the audience to make wisecracks about it. Maybe he thought that would happen spontaneously. But since nothing was specified on that front, nothing happened and six hours of video room time was wasted.
 
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William Boykin
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Watched the first one of those in the theater, actually.

It was AW.......FUL. I mean, just bad.

A big part of it is that the writers were terrified of actually CHANGING anything Rand wrote in order to make it more palatable on the big screen, so you get goofiness like TRAINS being the key chokepoint of the US economy- which might have been true back in 1950 but certainly isn't true today. If the writers had been willing to take some liberties with the specifics of Rand's book in order to better stay true to the spirit of the book for a modern audience, it MIGHT have been less of a train wreck. My thought when I saw it was that it should have been the computer industry- instead of trains, maybe a new architecture for telecommunications, or a new system for compressing data and encoding that the government wants a piece of. But a new metal for train tracks? Come on!

Oh, and they needed an actual budget for actors. But that would have meant giving them better lines, which they didn't do anyway. Terrible, terrible script.

Darilian
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Boaty McBoatface
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
I am attending an anime-centered convention this weekend, but some things are very odd. The oddest part is that there is no anime whatsoever on the video room schedule after the first morning. Instead we get things like Rifftraxed movies, documentaries, and the first two parts of the recent film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.

Now I happened to peer into the viewing room when it was screened and there was not one single viewer there. Whoever programmed it must have realized nobody would really want to see it in a setting like that. So what did he hope to accomplish? Was he trying to promote Objectivsm or to mock it?

If he did in fact want to mock the Atlas Shrugged trilogy (and they are very mockable movies) he could have done it as a Misting program item. I've run those things at conventions before -- show a movie and encourage people in the audience to make wisecracks about it. Maybe he thought that would happen spontaneously. But since nothing was specified on that front, nothing happened and six hours of video room time was wasted.
Given that Artless Shrugged is not alone in this convention I suspect it more a case of someone who wanted to really run a film convention.
 
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Josh
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
I am attending an anime-centered convention this weekend, but some things are very odd. The oddest part is that there is no anime whatsoever on the video room schedule after the first morning. Instead we get things like Rifftraxed movies, documentaries, and the first two parts of the recent film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.

Now I happened to peer into the viewing room when it was screened and there was not one single viewer there. Whoever programmed it must have realized nobody would really want to see it in a setting like that. So what did he hope to accomplish? Was he trying to promote Objectivsm or to mock it?

If he did in fact want to mock the Atlas Shrugged trilogy (and they are very mockable movies) he could have done it as a Misting program item. I've run those things at conventions before -- show a movie and encourage people in the audience to make wisecracks about it. Maybe he thought that would happen spontaneously. But since nothing was specified on that front, nothing happened and six hours of video room time was wasted.


Possibly the con was poorly organized and didn't get permission for enough anime time to fill the slots? Also you could well be right it was meant as a joke and just fell flat.
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Michael Hopcroft
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Darilian wrote:
Watched the first one of those in the theater, actually.

It was AW.......FUL. I mean, just bad.

A big part of it is that the writers were terrified of actually CHANGING anything Rand wrote in order to make it more palatable on the big screen, so you get goofiness like TRAINS being the key chokepoint of the US economy- which might have been true back in 1950 but certainly isn't true today. If the writers had been willing to take some liberties with the specifics of Rand's book in order to better stay true to the spirit of the book for a modern audience, it MIGHT have been less of a train wreck. My thought when I saw it was that it should have been the computer industry- instead of trains, maybe a new architecture for telecommunications, or a new system for compressing data and encoding that the government wants a piece of. But a new metal for train tracks? Come on!

Oh, and they needed an actual budget for actors. But that would have meant giving them better lines, which they didn't do anyway. Terrible, terrible script.

Darilian


Sounds like even for 1950 Rand had a bad grasp of technology. Even if you could find a material that is for some reason more efficient to make railroad tracks out of than steel (and that does the job better), do you really want to rip out thousands of miles of existing track to replace it? And where would the money be in doing that -- jacking up cargo and passenger rates to justify the expenditure? By 1950 railroads went pretty much everywhere railroads needed to go.

It would make just about as much sense as reconstructing the entire Interstate Highway System in a year.

Of course, Atlas Shrugged is a manifesto disguised as a novel and Rand didn't care about niceties like characterization and narrative coherence. She actually said that John Galt was a "perfected' man at the beginning of the novel and remained so until the end. This doesn't make him especially interesting, does it?
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William Boykin
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Yah , but in her defense, trains were still kinda 'hi tech' in the immediate post War period. People didn't cross the country by plane, they did it by train. Train travel between states was a lot more common than any other form of travel, before the creation of the interstate highways under Eisenhower. And I always felt that Dagny was the real protagonist of the book, not John Galt. Galt's just a plot device.

But as you say, Atlas Shrugged is less of a novel than a polemic. Which is why I was surprised to see ardent fans of the book not take the essential liberties needed to make the polemic come across better. Other than some loosely veiled attacks at the Obama administration, there was nothing in the movie that made it feel like it was especially of our modern age at all.

Darilian
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Mike Stiles
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Shadrach wrote:
Michael Hopcroft wrote:
I am attending an anime-centered convention this weekend, but some things are very odd. The oddest part is that there is no anime whatsoever on the video room schedule after the first morning. Instead we get things like Rifftraxed movies, documentaries, and the first two parts of the recent film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.

Now I happened to peer into the viewing room when it was screened and there was not one single viewer there. Whoever programmed it must have realized nobody would really want to see it in a setting like that. So what did he hope to accomplish? Was he trying to promote Objectivsm or to mock it?

If he did in fact want to mock the Atlas Shrugged trilogy (and they are very mockable movies) he could have done it as a Misting program item. I've run those things at conventions before -- show a movie and encourage people in the audience to make wisecracks about it. Maybe he thought that would happen spontaneously. But since nothing was specified on that front, nothing happened and six hours of video room time was wasted.


Possibly the con was poorly organized and didn't get permission for enough anime time to fill the slots? Also you could well be right it was meant as a joke and just fell flat.


That seems likely to me, the person running the movie room didn't have enough stuff to fill the space (I don't know much about rights management at cons), and just threw something crazy in.
 
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Michael Hopcroft
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Darilian wrote:
Yah , but in her defense, trains were still kinda 'hi tech' in the immediate post War period. People didn't cross the country by plane, they did it by train. Train travel between states was a lot more common than any other form of travel, before the creation of the interstate highways under Eisenhower. And I always felt that Dagny was the real protagonist of the book, not John Galt. Galt's just a plot device.


Ironic that the Objectivists are resisting tooth and nail any hint of innovation in passenger or commuter rail.

Rail is still a very efficient way to move cargo, of course. Depending on how much you're shipping it can still be a lot more effective than long-haul trucks. It's just that all the glamour is in air travel -- which is very much more resource-consuming than rail and much less pleasant to be a passenger on to boot. And a lot of trips you really don't need to fly for when rail is available -- Portland to Seattle, for example, is a really silly trip to make by plane.

Darilian wrote:
But as you say, Atlas Shrugged is less of a novel than a polemic. Which is why I was surprised to see ardent fans of the book not take the essential liberties needed to make the polemic come across better. Other than some loosely veiled attacks at the Obama administration, there was nothing in the movie that made it feel like it was especially of our modern age at all.



what I'm wondering is who paid to make these movies and why. It can't have been for the money, because they had virtually no box office penetration. And horrible movies are not going to make Objectivism more attractive to the unbelievers any more than a movie like Expelled would spawn a new generation of creationists or that people would abandon Christianity in droves because of The God Who Wasn't There. And it is also telling that each of the three films in the trilogy had a completely different cast.
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William Boykin
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Yah , but in her defense, trains were still kinda 'hi tech' in the immediate post War period. People didn't cross the country by plane, they did it by train. Train travel between states was a lot more common than any other form of travel, before the creation of the interstate highways under Eisenhower. And I always felt that Dagny was the real protagonist of the book, not John Galt. Galt's just a plot device.


Ironic that the Objectivists are resisting tooth and nail any hint of innovation in passenger or commuter rail.

Rail is still a very efficient way to move cargo, of course. Depending on how much you're shipping it can still be a lot more effective than long-haul trucks. It's just that all the glamour is in air travel -- which is very much more resource-consuming than rail and much less pleasant to be a passenger on to boot. And a lot of trips you really don't need to fly for when rail is available -- Portland to Seattle, for example, is a really silly trip to make by plane.

Darilian wrote:
But as you say, Atlas Shrugged is less of a novel than a polemic. Which is why I was surprised to see ardent fans of the book not take the essential liberties needed to make the polemic come across better. Other than some loosely veiled attacks at the Obama administration, there was nothing in the movie that made it feel like it was especially of our modern age at all.



what I'm wondering is who paid to make these movies and why. It can't have been for the money, because they had virtually no box office penetration. And horrible movies are not going to make Objectivism more attractive to the unbelievers any more than a movie like Expelled would spawn a new generation of creationists or that people would abandon Christianity in droves because of The God Who Wasn't There. And it is also telling that each of the three films in the trilogy had a completely different cast.


Basically, the producers were up against a time limit on the movie rights- they literally started filming only days before the movie rights would have otherwise expired. So it was 'shoot what we've got now' sort of attitude. I guess they hoped they'd raise more money for the subsequent movies, but from what I've heard, the first one is the best of the trilogy.

Darilian
 
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Michael Hopcroft
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Darilian wrote:

Basically, the producers were up against a time limit on the movie rights- they literally started filming only days before the movie rights would have otherwise expired. So it was 'shoot what we've got now' sort of attitude. I guess they hoped they'd raise more money for the subsequent movies, but from what I've heard, the first one is the best of the trilogy.

Darilian


Which may be why even fewer watched the second and third parts than the first part. Which would be some feat of cinematic futility.

Did the Left Behind series actually convince anyone to convert to Fundamentalist Christianity? Or did the reaction of the non-faithful mutate from indifference to utter disgust as the novels dragged on and God behaved like more an more of a d***?
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Andy Beaton
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Found a loose connection between Atlas Shrugged and fandom at Kung Fu Monkey (http://kfmonkey.blogspot.ca/2009/03/ephemera-2009-7.html)

Quote:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
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Tom McVey
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Possibly the organizers got the rights to screen it at the con for a low fee. Fills the bill, and maybe made one or more of the organizers happy ideologically.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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Michael Hopcroft wrote:
Darilian wrote:

Basically, the producers were up against a time limit on the movie rights- they literally started filming only days before the movie rights would have otherwise expired. So it was 'shoot what we've got now' sort of attitude. I guess they hoped they'd raise more money for the subsequent movies, but from what I've heard, the first one is the best of the trilogy.

Darilian


Which may be why even fewer watched the second and third parts than the first part. Which would be some feat of cinematic futility.

Did the Left Behind series actually convince anyone to convert to Fundamentalist Christianity? Or did the reaction of the non-faithful mutate from indifference to utter disgust as the novels dragged on and God behaved like more an more of a d***?
Does anyone except the true believers (and those who just want to take the piss) ever watch this stuff?

But I suppose if Atlas is man, then yes he did shrug.
 
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Ah, groups of nerds badmouthing other groups of nerds that they consider lesser than they are.
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hibikir wrote:
Ah, groups of nerds badmouthing other groups of nerds that they consider lesser than they are.

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Tom McVey
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hibikir wrote:
Ah, groups of nerds badmouthing other groups of nerds that they consider lesser than they are.


But our nerd toys are better than their nerd toys!
 
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Next they'll be trying to sell you non-comic-related toys and advertise non-comic-adapted movies at your local comic-con. It's like people don't know how to color inside the lines anymore.
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Michael Hopcroft
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Alaren wrote:
Next they'll be trying to sell you non-comic-related toys and advertise non-comic-adapted movies at your local comic-con. It's like people don't know how to color inside the lines anymore.


That I would not mind particularly. Although lately the anime cons I've been to have sold very little in the way of actual anime screening as everything is streaming now.

The truth is that there is very little reason for cons to have video rooms anymore. Most of the video "action" at a fan-run anime con these days is the action that involves fan-made videos, or "AMVx" (Anime Music Video), like this one. (I'm not embedding it as it's mildly NSFW, largely due to references to fan-made porn.)

The Internet age has been great for many people in anime fandom. The presence and popularity of services like Crunchyroll has virtually eliminated the need for piracy (although piracy still happens, it's not as prevalent as it was even three years ago). Shows are even coming out on mainstream services like Hulu that would have been almost unimaginable to see release here a few years ago.

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