Statue of Atlas
Fans of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged" may be disheartened to hear that reviews say the film is terrible. Image from Wikimedia Commons

Fans of novelist Ayn Rand and her landmark work “Atlas Shrugged” have been drooling since it was announced that the novel was being adapted into a film. After decades of trying, the novel was finally made into a film and recently hit theaters in a limited release. However, critics have been carving the film like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Long wait for classic novel

Devoted fans of Ayn Rand have been patiently waiting for decades to see the most famous of her novels made into a film. Turning “Atlas Shrugged” into a film was a daunting task; the novel is more than 1,000 pages, has a lot of subplots and a 57-page monologue by the enigmatic male protagonist, John Galt. The John Galt speech in the novel is famous for distilling Ayn Rand’s philosophy on Objectivism into its most condensed form. Various people have tried, and 53 years after the novel hit shelves, the film is hitting screens. To solve the problem of the novel’s length and format, director Paul Johannson and writer Brian Patrick O’Toole split it into three films. The first part, “Atlas Shrugged Part 1″ is now in theaters.

John Galt might skip the film

Critics have thoroughly lambasted the film. Movie review site Rotten Tomatoes gives the a film a 6 out of 100, among the lowest ratings ever given. Roger Ebert said that dedicated fans were “in for a letdown” and that the film was “the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s vault.” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone quipped that the film left the novel “flapping on the screen like a bludgeoned seal,” and Kurt Loder wrote on the Reason website that it is “a blessing” that Ayn Rand is dead so she can’t see what they did to her novel, and watching the movie was “like watching early rehearsals of a stage play that’s clearly doomed.” Loder writing a scathing review is somewhat ironic; Reason.com is a Libertarian focused news and opinion website, exactly the sort of people who ferociously adore Ayn Rand.

Consensus is

The gist of the reviews is that the film is horribly made. The CGI is derided as being cartoon-like and the acting is relentlessly lampooned. However, a lot of people are huge fans of Ayn Rand and will watch every installment. Some reviews blatantly say that the producer rushed the movie because the anti-government message is likely to appeal to Tea Party types. Essentially, if one is a fervent Ayn Rand fan who doesn’t care if the movie is good, the film may be worthwhile. Everyone else may want to stick to the novel.

Sources

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/atlas_shrugged_part_i/

Roger Ebert: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110414/REVIEWS/110419990

Reason: http://reason.com/archives/2011/04/14/atlas-shrugged-part-1

 

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