This weekend marked the opener for Atlas Shrugged Part I. You’re probably not surprised to learn that several crazy libertarians and me attended the movie Friday. So here are my thoughts on it.
Before I begin I should state that I went into this movie fairly blind. I’ve never actually made it all the way through the book Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand’s writing style doesn’t appeal greatly to me as she’s too verbose with descriptions of scenes. With fiction I prefer to fill in most of the blanks myself but I’ve always liked the base story of Atlas Shrugged (thanks Wikipedia for your wonderful plot summaries). Likewise due to the budget and the fact the movie was based off of a book who’s story appealed to my economic and political senses I figured it would be abysmal. Needless to say I don’t have much faith in movie producers making a product that reflects kindly upon my political beliefs.
Overall I thought the movie was pretty good. Obviously the main draw for me was the actual story itself. Part I covered most of what I had read of the book so I feel somewhat qualified to make a statement on how well the movie followed its source material. This movie is pretty faithful to Ayn Rand’s magnum opus. Much of the dialog is ripped straight from the book and the characters weren’t changed in any real dramatic ways. A quick thumbnail explanation about how trains became such popular modes of transportation was tossed in as to adopt the movie to our time but that was the only really major changed that jumped out at me.
Speaking of faithful to the books let me talk about the actors. None of the actors in Atlas Shrugged are well known although I recognized some of them from television shows. The actors portray almost completely one dimensional characters. What I mean to say is the actors stayed very true to the source material as Atlas Shrugged appeared to be composed entirely of single dimensional characters which isn’t surprising considering the story and Ayn Rand’s beliefs in life.
I found this movie certainly had a “made for T.V.” feel to it. The budget combined with the selected actors are probably the cause of this but that’s not really a hit against the movie itself. What I will hit it with is the fact the movie also had a very rushed feeling to it. It felt to me as thought several scenes should have been re-shot but the director decided against it which I’m attributing to time constraints without really knowing for sure. Either way this movie isn’t going to win any prestigious movie awards (which is fine by me since most movies that do I find to be rubbish anyway).
When all was said and done I have to say I found the movie enjoyable. This is entirely due to the story itself which I’m guessing is going to be the main draw for most people. If you really enjoy the story found in Atlas Shrugged I feel there will be much for you to enjoy in this movie and it is certainly worth a watch. If you hated the book and Ayn Rand you’re going to hate this movie so don’t bother wasting your money. On the Christopher Burg scale of arbitrary movie rating I give this movie a libertarian rating. If you’re a libertarian you’ll probably find much to like about this movie while a statist is going to have nothing but rage issues as the movie proceeds to demonstrate why you’re ideas suck.
I’m going to close by stating I hope this movie does well enough for parts II and III to be made. The budget seems to be low enough where this is a possibility but I’m unsure if enough momentum will be continue to exist past opening weekend to make enough money for two more parts. The theater was packed Friday night but that was mostly the hardcore Rand fans. I’m doubting anybody else will really enjoy this movie so it’s almost solely up to them to fund this endeavor.