Audience Shrugged

Tweet summary – Felt cheated when saw Atlas Shrugged on celluloid. Apart from poor production quality and this blogpost there is nothing more to write about.

Raise your hand if you desired a film based on your fav book. Ok, now that you have made a fool of yourself by raising your hand while staring at the screen, you may come back to what you were doing with it. But irrespective of whether you raised the hand, it’s hard to disagree with Netflix’s print ad on nyc metro “Books made good movies”. Or at least, that’s what I thought.
But a question before I get to the case on hand, why turn books into movies? Apart from the obvious lack of good scripts? An author wants the movie to move to the next level, reach a wider audience, and obviously get some money. A reader on the other hand wants to take part in the hype, to acknowledge/honor the author, to show others what an intriguing book they have missed, to see an interpretation on the silver screen or for that matter on the hdtv or larger than life imax.

But time and again since moving pictures started talking, book adoptions rarely did justice to either the author or readers (and in most cases did little good to the producers). The non-reader audience might like it (well they even like a mindless action movie in which cars turn into robots), but it is hard to please the ‘book fan base’ – Exhibit A. Godfather. And as for the author – they are rarely involved in script writing – Exhibit B – Girl with dragon tattoo. One plausible reason being that film makers do it for a very archaic reason – money. That explains why Tom Hanks would compress a thrilling Da Vinci Code in 2hrs. Or sometimes the director’s lack of imagination is stunted by their cerebral capacities.

Now coming to the case on hand – “Atlas Shrugged” – a book which failed to live up on the screen. Most idealists, capitalists, pragmatists (and other similar ‘ists) swear by Ayn Rand’s heavy-weight, small font HBO mini-series script. Ok, not swear, but at least appreciate. So the other day I got excited when Netflix threw this movie on my suggested list. With all its good intention, the only thing it offered was a bad adoption. Apart from other things, it lacks improvisation. Even an MBA knows that a story needs to be improvised according to the situation. And if you want to cater to the book readers – either give them spectacular visuals (read A Life of Pi) or add more drama (aka this) or an interesting take on climax (aka this). Rather, the makers has a dull drama in two parts. Disappointing. I had to watch cars turning into robots part-2 to get over it.

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