591 of 637 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2011
This movie is being continuously slammed by critics and for obvious reasons. It's not because the movie is bad, quite the contrary, but because the movie has a strong message of being both "politically & economically conservative" and Hollywood producers despise that message.
Thus, Hollywood wouldn't go near this project. This movie was not hugely promoted and the movie actually had to be financed by many political groups just to have it made [but on a shoe-string budget of only $15 million - a lot less than would go into any other Hollywood epic] and it only has grossed around $3 million because it is not in very many cinemas. Hopefull, enough money willbe raised to make Parts II and III to complete the story.
This movie was destined to be "box office poison" but I hope it gets better reception when it comes to DVD. I will not give away any of the plot here or talk about specific characters. This review is to explain the concept of this movie, which was a wonderful adaptation of the novel it's based on.
"Atlas Shrugged - Part I" is also misunderstood by many people who trash it. It is based on author/philospher Ayn Rand's sprawling 1957 epic novel "Atlas Shrugged" which is divided into 3 parts. This movie covers only the first part of that novel [336 pages out of 1168 pages] and so viewers must understand that this is not a complete story like, for example, the 3 "Lord of the Rings" movies. Although there were 3 "Lord of the Rings" movies, each movie covered an entire book/story. The same can be said about the Episodes 1,2, and 3 of "Star Wars" because although they were divided into so-called "episodes," each episode actually told a completed story. With this movie, that is not the case.
Therefore, this movie should be commended for that original concept alone. One has seen this concept in television via the miniseries but never in the cinema and, ironically, NBC was the only network that thought of adapting Atlas Shrugged for a tv miniseries in the 1970s [they had Godfather producer Albert Ruddy at the helm] but decided not to go ahead with it because of its unpopular subject matter.
So why all of the negative fuss about this movie?
Basically because of its premise: In the near future [2016 - 2017], the U.S. economy is a huge disaster due to financial mis-management by big national government [what else is new?] but the govt. covers its hide by blaming big business and they begin to "put the squeeze" to business people by passing laws prohibiting them to prosper greatly and improve the economy in order to fool the public into thinking big govt. is solving the problem when in fact big govt. is the problem.
So, these productive members of society [whom "Atlas" - the Greek God who held the world on his shoulders - symbolizes] decide to show the manipulated public that big govt. is the real enemy of the public instead of themselves. They do this in a very creative and efficient way; they "go on strike"[Atlas shrugs and the world collapses into destruction] by closing their businesses and leaving public life. Where do they go? They are led by a mysterious man named John Galt to a place called "Atlantis" where they can live among and be allowed to be productive members of society without any govt. infringement. There is govt. there but only a much smaller necessary govt. that does not thrive on deceiving and manipulating the public for its own monetary gain while society suffers. What happens to society when it's deprived of its productive members and only has the U.S. govt. to rely on? Society gets 100 times worse than it already is. That's what Atlas Shrugged is all about.
This may be difficult for someone to grasp who is not familiar with neither the book nor the economic philosophy promoted here. It is a novel / movie of "Fiction" so people who slam the movie for being ridiculous must remember that this book promotes an economic Utopian society and does not focus on realism.
This concept cannot be shown in a 2-hour movie so fans await Part II [which will cover pages 337-697] and Part III [which will cover the final part of the book; pages 698-1168].
Don't expect action scenes. This movie is 100% politically economic and consists mostly of business meetings, media and govt. manipulation, betrayal, and mystery.
This movie is not for everyone. It will attract "Objectivists" - people who follow author Ayn Rand's philosophy and peope who favor conservative economic methods [ala Milton Friedman] and a smaller federal government.
This movie will repel any government workers [from public school teachers in local government to congress members], union organizers, and bleeding-hearts who believe the only way to get rid of povery is to always subsidize poor people with taxpayers' money so they have no incentive to work and be productive members of society.
Personally, I am not an "objectivist" because I believe in God, I don't believe that selfishness is a virtue, and I believe that some minor taxation is necessary in order for a complex society to properly function. However, this doesn't prevent me from enjoying the works of Ayn Rand, enjoying her conversations regarding her own philosophy of "objectivism," or recognizing that "Atlas Shrugged - Part I" is a wonderful and significant movie with important economic, political, and social messages just like the wonderful novel it is based upon.
566 of 618 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2011
Being a big fan of Ayn Rand's great novel Atlas Shrugged, I expect a less-than-stellar movie version of the book. Happily, I was very pleased with the first installment of the film.
With the length and scope of the story, it requires either an incredibly long movie or a division into different parts, which they decided to do here. While I've heard plenty about the overall low budget of the film, it is still very well done and they spent some good money on CGI effects for the John Galt Line. Taylor Schilling is actually very good as Dagny Taggart - she projects the high-end efficiency and passion of the character, and she is appropriately sexy as well. Grant Bowler as Hank Reardon turns out to be a decent choice as well.
Bottom line, though: I brought along my 16-year-old daughter to see the film, and I expected her to find it "boring" or otherwise uninteresting. Big surprise, though: she loved it! She likes the story and was very drawn to the character of Dagny Taggart. Dagny is such an inspirational role model for women, and I'm glad to see my daughter was inspired as well.
164 of 177 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 hints at a greater message to be revealed. It is fast paced, so keep alert when watching! It may be hard for someone unfamiliar with Rand's book to follow, but it will entertain you whether you've read the book or not. Some of the action on screen is frighteningly like events that we see reported in the news today. The producers included some subtle touches here and there that are fun to look for (the dollar sign on the cigarette that the missing philosopher is smoking). See it more than once if you can, the depth of detail blossoms on additional viewings. The message is apparently completely lost on the critics. It is an uplifting message, empowering the individual and encouraging growth, achievement and personal happiness, out of which generosity and wealth grow. Don't believe what critics say about this movie or about the book, both are more than worth a look or six.
158 of 174 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2011
(This is the review I posted for the soundtrack.)
I just saw the film yesterday. All the critics who rated it 1-star are intellectually dishonest, using their hatred of the movie's ideas as an excuse to trash a well-done -- though, of course, not perfect -- film. (I'm thinking specifically of Roger Ebert who couldn't even correctly incapsulate Objectivism's main idea: that we each own our own life and therefore get to decide how our lives will -- or will not -- be used.)
The soundtrack does a good job of capturing the spirit of the film and its characters.
I hope the two sequels eventually get made. I was left with wanting more.
365 of 418 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I've never read Atlas Shrugged, and probably never will, so I wasn't familiar with the story at all. When the movie was originally released at the theaters, I read one bad review after another, so I opted not to see it at that time. The move recently went on sale with Amazon, so I bought it and watched it. I came away from the movie surprised; surprised at why it got bad reviews and surprised it didn't do better at the box office despite the bad reviews.
For certain, if you're looking for a movie with explosions, action, comedy, gratuitous sex or horror, you're not going to find Atlas Shrugged worth watching, but if you're looking for an erudite, smart and philosophical movie, Atlas Shrugged hits the mark. The complaints about poor production are so wrong it logical to assume it ideologically driven. The acting it convincing and realistic; anyone who's worked for a successful, self-made business person will quickly recognize the character of "Hank Reardon". And the musical score; some reviews described it as over wrought, but the score for Inglorious Bastards is significantly more "over wrought" than Atlas Shrugged.
In short, if movies about business and/or philosophy appeal to you, then this movie is worth your time.
423 of 486 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2011
This movie is Part 1 of three parts; and it covers the first part of the book.
The movie is well made - the quality is actually quite good. Acting was generally good to excellent. Camera work was good; although the low budget resulted in a missing camera angle here and there. Special effects were consistently well done.
The story, of course, is exceptional; and it is well-told in this movie.
Numbers I've seen indicate 80% of the audience (more than 12,000 people were polled) give this movie a thumbs up. And yet, only about 13% of professional movie critics gave this a thumbs up. By voting it down, the professional movie critics really got it wrong. Why? I don't know . . . I am truly surprised that so many movie critics would allow their own political bias to influence their review - but I can find no objective reason for the critics' poor grades.
Some people would say that those of the liberal persuasion would not enjoy this; as the message is counter to the socialist perspective. But regardless of the message, we are today living in the world of Atlas Shrugged; and thus, I urge you to watch this movie. If you are to open your mind to new and different ideas, then this is certainly a movie that will challenge you.
Edited on February 4, 2012: Atlas Shrugged Part 2 has now been confirmed to begin the main part of production in April 2012. Yes!!!
44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2011
I'm not one of those people who believes that a film can't be as good as the book it's adapted from. 9 times out of 10 the book is better, but that doesn't mean it has to be that way. Talented filmmakers are capable of making movies that live up to, and sometimes surpass the books (i.e To Kill a Mockingbird, Gone With the Wind, Apocalypse Now, Let the Right One In, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). So as an admirer of Atlas Shrugged, the book, I was cautiously optimistic about Atlas Shrugged Part One. My optimism was only bolstered by the fact that the movie was made independently and without any big name Hollywood stars.
To be fair, a lot about Atlas Shrugged Part One was done right. The actors were well cast, particularly Grant Bowler as Rearden. The atmosphere was pitch-perfect as the future dystopia. What damaged the film were the narrative choices made by director Paul Johansson. The script dragged, even for a viewer with as much patience and familiarity with the story as me.
Worst of all, Johansson completely erodes the initial mystery that drives the story- Who is John Galt? He answers the immortal question in the opening frame of the movie. This is part 1, in the book Galt doesn't appear on stage until part 3. Here we know from the very first scene that it is Galt persuading businessmen to quit and vanish. By tipping its hand like that the movie loses its thrill. It ceases to rely on good storytelling to draw viewers and essentially shoots itself in the foot leaving it to limp through the two remaining installments.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
as the negativists! So many of the one-star maniacs' 'reviews' don't read at all like they actually SAW this movie.
Between that, and movie reviews, I was prepared this just wasn't going to be very good. Just goes to show you should realize that so much of the world is so politicized, it's becoming impossible to get an objective (no pun intended, a la Rand's philosophy) opinion of what the movie is about.
Having said that, I really liked this movie. I liked it so much, I'm going to reread 'Atlas Shrugged,' which I read years ago in college. And while I'll probably still skip over some of the long winded parts of Ayn Rand's commentary (the woman could write, but my God, did she EVER need an editor!!), this movie is so spot-on to what is wrong with this country, and the world, that the timing couldn't have been more perfect.
Now to the technical details. I loved the casting. No one has made much of a mention of this, but I think Grant Bowler is perfect as Hank Reardon. His looks are perfect; he's also subtle. Taylor Schilling is fine as Dagney.
The casting of the minor characters is really good as well. I particularly liked Patrick Fischler as Paul (very good cold blooded betrayal there), but I must admit, I adore Graham Beckel. He is absolutely perfect in his role.
The cinematography in this movie is fantastic (a sure sign a reviewer didn't see this movie is when they criticize this!) The score is also perfect.
In fact, the only criticism I have of 'Atlas Shrugged,' and it's a big one, is that the movie is WAY too short. All it did for me was whet my appetite to see MORE of it.
Get some funding already and churn out the rest of this series!
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2011
Having read Atlas Shrugged twice in the past 30 years, I was concerned the movie might take liberties with Ayn Rand's plot and characters. How often have you read a great novel only to be disappointed with the movie version? Atlas Shrugged Part 1 was true to the book and riveting. The actors accurately portrayed Rand's characters and a plot derived over fifty years ago is very timely today ... scarily so. I hope Atlas Shrugged parts 2 and 3 show up in the theater.
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2011
I read the book for the first time over 20 years ago. I've been waiting for a movie ever since.
I was not disappointed.
What more can a person ask for.
No movie of a book that long could ever do justice to the book, but this movie grabs the essence and message of the story. It is wonderful and I can't wait for Parts 2 and 3!