Atlas Shrugged will continue

Statue of Atlas, that became the cover illustration for Atlas Shrugged. Is the Third Option a variation on this theme?
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The new Atlas Shrugged franchise will continue. The next installment will come next year—during the election campaign.

Almost canceled

Producer John Aglialoro, head of Strike Productions (now renamed Atlas Productions), first said that he was literally going on strike. He said this to Rebecca Keegan of The Los Angeles Times after Atlas Shrugged, Part One did so poorly at the box office.

But over the summer, several investors came forward, investors who want the show to go on. So Atlas Shrugged, Part Two will appear after all. Producer Harmon Kaslow said that his company already has a rough-draft script and will start shooting early next year. (He also hinted that he has fired Director Paul Johansson. CNAV believes that Johansson did fine as a director—but should let someone else play the mystery interloper who tells people to quit and vanish.)

Atlas Shrugged ahead of its time

The US Constitution. In Atlas Shrugged, the government has trashed it.

The US Constitution. (Do the villains in Atlas Shrugged trash it?) Photo: National Archives of the United States

The poor showing happened because Aglialoro and his team premiered Atlas Shrugged, Part One to a limited engagement. He also opened on April 15, 2011—Tax Day. The problem: several Tea Party events also took place on that day. (One of them was the first-ever New Jersey Tea Party Convention, where CNAV announced its launch.) So those most likely to see the film, had other plans.

Atlas Shrugged, Part One did poorly for another reason. Like the novel that formed its basis, it was ahead of its time. For example, it opens with scenes of people marching through the streets, carrying signs saying, “CAPITALISM DOESN’T WORK.” No one could have predicted that such an outrageous scene would ever play out in real life. It did—as a movement called Occupy Wall Street—six months later.

In other respects, Atlas Shrugged, Part One portrays the current government in an unflattering manner. Worse, it suggests that those now in charge will radically change the Constitution. According to this movie:

  1. They will abolish Congress. A unicameral Legislature will replace it, and will move, not with “all deliberate speed,” but simply with speed.
  2. This Legislature will then set up a regulatory agency with the power to tax. (And not only that, but to lay a punitive tax on the exports of a single State. That violates Article I, Section 9, Clause 5 of the Constitution.)
  3. This agency will also forbid a business to move from one State to another.

Again, no one would have thought that even the Obama administration would do any of these things. They forget that Obama’s signature law, the health care reform bill, does violate Article I, Section 9, Clause 5. (It also violates the Constitution in 18 other ways.) Furthermore, the National Labor Relations Board did tell the Boeing Group that they may not build a new aircraft plant in another State. That State, South Carolina, is a “Right to Work” State.

The only thing that the Democrats have not done is to replace Congress. But few can deny that Obama would like nothing better than to abolish the House of Representatives. (Republicans, with Tea Party help, took it over in 2010.) As to the Senate, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has already used his “nuclear option.” He would, if he could, abolish the filibuster. Moreover, the membership of that new Legislature (about 120 members) suggests that it gives States unequal suffrage. So Article V is out the window. (Perhaps Mr. Obama, here named Mr. Thompson, called a runaway Constitutional convention.)

Missing the point

Bitter pills to swallow. No wonder the critics hated the show. But the reviews suggest that the critics don’t even understand the Constitution themselves. They missed these changes completely. And much else besides.

Roger Ebert is the prize example. His review shows that he simply did not pay attention. For example:

But you’re thinking, railroads? Yes, although airplanes exist in this future, trains are where it’s at. When I was 6, my Aunt Martha brought me to Chicago to attend the great Railroad Fair of 1948, at which the nation’s rail companies celebrated the wonders that were on the way. They didn’t quite foresee mass air transportation. “Atlas Shrugged” seems to buy into the fair’s glowing vision of the future of trains. Rarely, perhaps never, has television news covered the laying of new railroad track with the breathless urgency of the news channels shown in this movie.

Had Mr. Ebert paid attention, he would have known that mass air transport, in this dystopian America, is now obsolete. The scenes of junk crushers demolishing airliners made no impression on him. Neither did the lines about “the Middle East…implod[ing],” or the cutoff of all oil imports.

The simple lack of fuel explains something else that Mr. Ebert missed. Today the United States Navy owns the Atlantic, just as the Roman Navy owned the Mediterranean. (They called it Mare Nostrum, “Our Sea.”) In Atlas Shrugged, the Navy can’t protect “relief cargoes” from piratical seizure.

A flawed home video release

CNAV must discuss one part of the story, if only to dismiss it as of no lasting consequence. The first Blu-Ray and DVD copies of Atlas Shrugged, Part One came with a badly flawed blurb:

Ayn Rand’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life…

Courage, yes. Self-sacrifice? No. So Atlas Productions had to recall and replace 100,000 copies. CNAV obtained its copy early, before outraged customers discovered the mistake.

The next movie

Atlas Shrugged, Part Two will likely follow Part II of the original novel. So it will begin at the cathedral-like State Science Institute and end with an aerial chase over the Rocky Mountains. Though actually, the producers have a choice:

  1. End in a cliffhanger.
  2. End with Dagny Taggart at last finding Atlantis and then deciding, with tearing regret, to leave it.

Kaslow described the air chase. He did not describe another scene that the director might have to allude to only in Eddie Willers’ lines. In that scene, the terror of the Atlantic lays on a shore bombardment. That should really make the mainstream critics squeal like pigs.

More to the point: Part Two will screen for review during Convention season, and release to the public in October. Thus Part Two will become a campaign issue.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

2 Responses to Atlas Shrugged will continue

  1. What are all 19 ways that ObamaCare violates the constitution? You say, “They forget that Obama’s signature law, the health care reform bill, does violate Article I, Section 9, Clause 5. (It also violates the Constitution in 18 other ways.)”

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      You can read this article and find out. Start with the inconvenient fact that it originated in the Senate, not the House. And what about the Ready Reserve Corps, that gets weapons training and has a four-year appropriation? That’s two violations right there: it’s an army getting an appropriation for more than two years, and it’s an army sent into a spot in US territory perhaps to enforce a civilian law, namely ObamaCare, and that violates the Posse Comitatus Act. Then there’s the matter of our medical records being subject to unwarranted search and seizure. Shall I really go on? Read that article, follow back some of its links, and you’ll see.

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