“Atlas Shrugged: Part I” A Profound Puzzle Piece

Genres: Drama and Adaptation
Release Date: April 15th, 2011 (limited)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality.
Rocky Mountain Pictures

Director: Paul Johansson

JJ Rating: A

See it again: Yes.
Own it: Yes.
Recommend it to: those that read the book and those that are interested in the book but never felt the want to read it.
Worth seeing in NYC: I would see it in NYC.


If it were more financially backed much more love could have shown through.

Part 1 of 3 of the infamous-famous Ayn Rand book “Atlas Shrugged”. Part 1 has Dagny Taggart (Taylor Shilling) battling her brother James (Matthew Marsden) over handling their family train business correctly. It’s falling apart and James isn’t fixing it. Dagny is more worried about having a great business than having money, power or political prowess like her brother. All the while people are disappearing and “Who is John Galt?” a question echoed and never answered. Atlas Shrugged: Part I.
It’s like a game of chess. Except in this game of chess, Dagny’s side has a handicap and that would be no Queen. James’ side has a queen and it moves about the board with political thrust taking pieces left and right. Damaging Dagny’s advancements every chance he can. A film that rests solely on the words in the script and hardly any action (outside of a speeding train) to excite the typical moviegoer. The words have to be good. The words have to be said well. The words are the star and it’s everyone’s job to make sure they come across as powerful as they do on paper.

I’ve seen many movies and therefore understand what bad acting is. Watching Taylor Schilling, Grant Bowler (as Henry Reardon), Matthew Marsden and anyone else in the film I concluded they did a good decent job. It was not perfect. It’s a word battle film like The Social Network, but Atlas Shrugged: Part I didn’t run as smoothly. I didn’t expect it to. I didn’t expect to be so engaged in the topic and the story. Now I can’t wait until Part II and III. Critics were very wrong on this one. So wrong that some of them will eat crow when the second and third are released to a wanting audience.

I never read the book. It’s a daunting book. Now that I’ve seen this film, it’s inspired me to read it.

I saw it on Sunday the 17th at 4:10 pm and I expected to be one of the few people there. However, the theater was 3/4ths full. It was one of the smaller theaters so maybe there were about 75 people. When the film ended, people applauded.

According to Box Office Mojo, the box office for that weekend was Rio at with $40 million with 2,826 screens with average of $10,455. Scream 4 opened with $19.7 million with an average of $5,833 in 3,350 screens. Atlas Shrugged opened with $1.6 million in 300 screens with an average of $5,590. That is only a difference of $243 between it and Scream 4. Why are people questioning if part II and III should be made. Sounds like those criticizing it are trying too hard to highlight the movie’s theme through their actions and opinions. Trying to sway public opinion so that they’ll think negatively about it and won’t see it. Why are the reviews so personalized? Maybe they dabble in politics a little too much.

I love thinking movies. My weekend was long up to that point, so I felt a little exhausted even after a nap prior to watching the movie. I didn’t even feel like falling asleep the entire time. I enjoyed it. Flaws aside, the movie was great. Those critic robots who hated on Atlas Shrugged now (and when it was released as a book) would not be kidnapped due to their lack of creativity. Those that complained about the acting must have excused Scream 4. Oh no wait, they took it within context of how the film was presented. Guess that’s only done when they can grasp the concept. It was lowbrow enough.

The sets were not to die for, but the sets worked. They worked within their budgets. Imagine that people working within a budget and succeeding despite critical hate. The CGI work with the train was rough. However, it did work. I knew it was a train. I saw its location and understood the point in showing it. They didn’t draw it out. They didn’t present the film as a CGI wonder, so I don’t see the big problem outside of people being overly snooty about its looks. I see hundreds of movies and I (as I said with acting) know good CGI work as well. I saw Avatar and it has 100 billion times better CGI work, but I’d rather own Atlas Shrugged because the film actually fights for something with all its being and it won’t be released with new scenes in hopes to squeeze more green out of its fans. Avatar was a model with no brains. Atlas Shrugged is a homeless man with incredible insight.

The entire gist of Atlas Shrugged: Part I was how well they could translate the theme of the book into film. Though I have not yet read the book, I can see how they did it very well. I got the point of this first part. I followed along awake, bushy tailed and in awe of how poignant a work can be from decades before. (and people question the Bible) The massive parallels with America’s Government right now for the last 20 or so years (or even further) is blatantly obvious. It’s even more so now that information is readily available for everyone to consume 24/7. If one can find sources that are not going to give them a brain cavity. Check those daily intake percentages…Whether the government is ran by man, woman, straight, gay, republican, democrat, or a multicrap…they squander, swindle and slander great minds with rules, regulations and restrictions on expansion of humanity with technology in any field that would bring about a less complicated world. America doesn’t have the fastest internet speeds. Ponder that one a moment and ask yourself why? So many people come here to do what? Be overregulated and taxed? No, to freely think and create--not any more.

Atlas Shrugged engaged me more than any film so far this year. I don’t see how any other film for the rest of the year will be as engaging. I can’t even think of one last year that did. Do not allow Rotten Tomatoes (who showed its true colors of putrid blue) to scare you into not seeing it. Do not expect blockbuster greatness and you might be thoroughly impressed with how it was handled. As I already stated, I was.

If anything is a complement to a movie adoption from a book it’s “I want to read it now” from someone that’s never read it. Ayn Rand’s book was panned (but she stuck buy it) when it came out. It became appreciated for what it was, not for how it offended. As I’ve learned, people choose to be offended 99% of the time more so than are really offended. Therefore, it’s best to do as you know is right despite offence one will chose to take.

Make Parts II and III, it’ll work out. Atlas Shrugged seemed to have as much bad press as the John Galt Line. How apt. Atlas Shrugged: Part I is a profound puzzle piece to a world that many don’t understand and though it’s time specific, it sure the hell feels like the book predicted more than one would want to admit, at least this part of the book does.

I write like:
H. P. Lovecraft


publican said...

What do you know. A good review of this fine movie. Thank you. I saw it twice, and just ordered the DVD. And I've had several arguments with friends about this movie - them saying how much is sucked - and of course none of them even bothered to see it. They just listen to the leftists in the media, buy it hook, line, and sinker, and then have the nerve to tell me how smart they are for not liking the movie. Pretty amusing.

J_Jammer said...

I also bought the DVD.

I've seen a lot of movies in my lifetime and I know what a terrible movie looks like. This was not a terrible film.

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