I mentioned in my Atlas Shrugged movie review that while I’d purchased the book some years ago, that I’d never gotten around to reading it.
Well, I’ve now finished Part I of the book, the part that matches the movie. And I can say now that the movie does a pretty good job of following the book. There’s a lot of backstory left out, but that’s hardly surprising. The most significant of these is the tangled history between Dagny and Francisco d'Anconia (a character I neglected to mention in my review). This is barely hinted at in the book.
One of the things I found interesting in both the book and the movie is how much the characters, both protagonist and antagonist, seem to be almost caricatures. They seem to be cardboard representations of the worst things that both sides say about them. Jim Traggart for example, is far more worried about social justice than his own company. While Dagny and Hank are described often as not caring about anything, something they freely admit and agree with.
However, the book gives all of these characters more depth as the story moves forward. In the movie, they still seem two dimensional, with the possible exception of our two heroes.
I have two minor criticisms of the book. One, the movie does a better job with the thriller/suspense side of things, making you wonder early on if there’s something sinister behind the disappearance of the real movers and shakers. The second criticism I have deals with Rand’s verbosity. I know I can drone on and on and on at time. Read some of my old posts if you don’t believe me. But I swear she must have been paid by the word. There are whole pages that consist of just one or two paragraphs, that say absolutely nothing.
In spite of these two things, I am looking forward to moving on to Part II. I have enjoyed it immensely so far.