Around 15 years after reading Atlas Shrugged for the first time, the moment I was waiting for arrived: the movie came out. If you missed it, there’s a good reason. Unlike big-budget flicks, this $10 million “effort” opened in only 299 theaters, with the prayer hope outside shot that word of mouth among the
philosopher’s novelist’s propagandist’s writer’s followers would cause demand to surge and lead to the sort of financial success that would make Ayn Rand proud.
In a movie about trains, of course, there was a travel angle, as high-powered business folks zipped across the country to investigate the root of all evil and find ways to protect themselves from “looters” (i.e., government and people looking for handouts). And since the book ultimately points toward Colorado, as the rest of the movies in the planned trilogy will, the travel angle becomes even stronger.
Let’s look at five travel moments from the recently released film; some are good for a chuckle:
1. The airlines failed: okay, setting the movie in 2016 meant that there would be certain challenges, as rail transportation would have to be made a viable long-haul alternative to air transportation. Using an oil crisis based on Middle East instability was a clever way to go about this. To have a bit of fun, I’d have used poor service and operations as the driver for airline collapse. It’s at least as realistic as blaming an inconceivably severe spike in oil prices. And, the “Objectivists” working the flick could have taken pot shots at unions, bailouts and a paucity of ambition.
2. Dare to get lucky: if you can make a train go 250 miles per hour, you deserve a little “rail-high club” action. And if you built the bridge that made it possible, you’re first in line. It really is that simple. The sex scene that followed the train travel moment on the recently renamed John Galt Line shows that (a) some people are proud to reward personal achievement and (b) sex between two stiff and awkward people will be, well, stiff and awkward.
3. Road trips can be fun: of course, they really should have a purpose, such as dashing off to Wisconsin to look for a space-age engine. Nothing beats driving there from Wyoming to check out an abandoned factory, even if the time does pass faster on the big screen than it would in reality. When you get back to Wyoming, after the return trip, nothing tops a meal prepared by a former philosophy professor who has “dropped out.”
4. Remember you reading material: I’m still shocked that Dagny Taggart, the flick’s protagonist, stepped off a train and picked up a newspaper. I know, right? Are they still going to be around in 2016? I guess the prospect of finding a newspaper five years from now is about as realistic as doing so after a long train ride (though, in fairness, she only schlepped from New York to Philadelphia).
5. The best destination in the world: in half a decade, you’ll only want to go to Colorado, it seems. Well, you won’t want to go there if you’re lazy, stupid or more interested in political results than cash in the bank.
SPOILER: Atlantis is in Colorado, so leave your dive gear at home.
[photo via World’s Biggest Writing]