Atlas Shrugged: Part I Instant Review

Zak Slayback
Apr 16, 2011 at 10:01 PM

To prevent spoilers I am including the review beneath this teaser segment.

Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged, Part I has already been reviewed by many of professionals, primarily professional movie critics. These individuals were, of course, predispositioned to despise it and its Randian theme. There were, too, many libertarians who were predispositioned to like the movie, and they did. 

I saw the movie on the opening night at the Loews Theatre in Homestead, PA. It opened there to a full crowd of excited, and nervous, Atlas fans and closed to an applause.

Atlas

Simply put, it's a decent movie. There are some good, bad, and ugly spots throughout it, but overall, it effectively gets the message across.

The acting throughout the movie was not nearly as forceful as I came to expect it would be. While the actress who plays Dagny Taggart conveys the calculating and cold business-mind of the Dagny of the book, she conveys even fewer emotions than her character and seems almost to be lost in her lines. I expected a character more passionate about her business and preventing her morally-void brother James from destroying the business and turning it over to the looters.

Francisco d'Anconia also seemed to be out of place. For starters, he seemed almost too suave and not nearly as greasy as I imagined him in the book. The character had a relatively minor role as well, which was disappointing. d'Anconia's entire money speech was cut as well, which was disappointing, to say the least. 

Despite some others feeling that James Taggart was too weasly in the movie, I felt very comfortable with the character. About an hour into the movie, you already despise him and his tactics for undermining Dagny. 

Hank Rearden was excellent. The actor conveyed his cold and calculating mind very well while still making the character enjoyable. 

Wesley Mouch was also very well done. His concluding speech as the Director of Economic Planning gave me chills.

Most of the other characters were too minor for much of an anlysis. 

One note that I found a little strange was that John Galt actually hovered around as an actual character. This fedora-clad, trenchcoated figure happened to be near major business executives and innovators, lurking in the shadows. In the end, I liked his placement there for people who aren't familiar with John Galt, but as somebody who is, it seemed to remove the mystique behind the character that I had to wait until Part III of the book to see.

As for the substance, the producers did a pretty good job. As mentioned earlier, d'Anconia's entire money speech was cut, which makes me and others fear for John Galt's speech in a future installment. The sequencing was a bit odd and the discovery of the static electricity motor was completely changed for the movie, but changed in a manner that made a bit more sense for a movie, I suppose. The CGI during the train scenes was very cheap looking, but considering the budget of the movie, that is to be expected. Rearden's factory and office looked very good though (including a statue of Atlas that I appreciated placed behind Rearden's desk). The Rearden-Taggart rape scene was changed into a passionate love scene (though, I guess rape doesn't make for a good movie, so that is to be expected). Another issue I noticed was that as soon as Dagny decides to leave Taggart Transcontinental, the John Galt Line was built and established almost instantly, sort of confusingly. Considering the time frame that the movie was shot, edited, and produced in, as well as the budget restraints, it actually turned out very good. Very entertaining and engaging.

Overall, the movie is worth the ticket to go see. The overall message of Part I is conveyed relatively well. 

Should you go see it? 

Who is John Galt?

Good review. However, you're wrong about the money speech, that doesn't happen until part two. Also, in no way, shape or form was Dagny raped..You're thinking of the Fountainhead cheif.

Eric Sieker's picture

The Francisco Speech, while from Part II of the book, would have fit more logically, from what I have seen, in Part I of the movie, though I admit I will have to wait for Part II to be sure of that.

And while I suppose rape is a tad far for the Atlas Shrugged sex-scene, it definitely was a far cry in the movie from the one in the book. Violent sex-scenes make for bad movies I guess.

Zak Slayback's picture