Atlas Shrugged, Part One: The Reviews Are In!

After reading a quick note on the ARCHN blog that suggested the long-awaited movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s pedestrian opus Atlas Shrugged is proving to be something a bit less than a runaway box office hit, I decided I’d better take a look at what the critics were saying about it. The following are some of the summaries posted on Rotten Tomatoes (where the movie so far has a one-star rating):

Richard Brody, The New Yorker: “This comically tasteless and flavorless adaptation of Ayn Rand’s bombastic magnum opus delivers her simplistic nostrums with smug self-satisfaction.”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: “Ayn Rand’s monumental 1,168-page, 1957 novel gets the low-budget, no-talent treatment and sits there flapping on screen like a bludgeoned seal.”

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Mark Jenkins, Washington Post: “The first in a proposed trilogy, ‘Atlas Shrugged: Part 1’ is nearly as stilted, didactic and simplistic as Rand’s free-market fable.”

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: “A low-budget film with more than a whiff of amateurism in its writing and direction.”

Loren King, Boston Globe: “About to lose his long-held rights to Ayn Rand’s novel, and perhaps to cash in on apparent Tea Party interest and support, producer John Aglialoro … rushed this film into a low-budget production and it shows in every frame.”

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Atlas Shrugged. I arched eyebrow, scrunched forehead, yawned.”

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: “This movie is crushingly ordinary in every way, which with Rand I wouldn’t have thought possible.”

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: “Let’s say you know the novel, you agree with Ayn Rand, you’re an objectivist or a libertarian, and you’ve been waiting eagerly for this movie. Man, are you going to get a letdown.”

And just so you don’t think all the mainstream critics hated it, Kyle Smith of The New York Post offers this endorsement: “Though a bit stiff in the joints and acted by an undistinguished cast amid TV-movie trappings, this low-budget adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel nevertheless contains a fire and a fury that makes it more compelling than the average mass-produced studio item.”

Eh, movie critics. They’re probably all Communists anyway.

4 Replies to “Atlas Shrugged, Part One: The Reviews Are In!”

  1. Audience responses to me have always proven a lot less useful, particularly when the movie has a large ready-made corps of rabid fans. Twilight, for example, got an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, and well, that just sort of proves the point (at least well enough for my own use — I don’t have to worry about convincing anyone else), about the efficacy of audience response as a guide to quality or enjoyability.

  2. It just reminds me of objectivism and of something I’ve wondered about it. Rand says altruism or being unselfish is wrong. But isn’t caring about the Philippines and wanting to see it out of the ruts quite altruistic or unselfish?

    1. It depends on a lot of things, including: why you care about the Philippines and what you’re willing to do to care for the Philippines. There are perfectly selfish reasons to care about your country, just as there are perfectly selfish reasons to care for your family or spouse or girlfriend. So I don’t think one can make a blanket statement either way.

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