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A wonderful movie that will always be criticized
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.