Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Atlas Shrugged: Part I (Part II)

In Part I of my now II-part series about Atlas Shrugged: Part I,[I] I made a few predictions, just for the hell of it. It's been out for VI days now, so let's see how I did. Oh, and out of appreciation for the filmmakers' decision to use Roman numerals for no good reason, so will I.

Libertarians will love it. Conservatives will like it, but some will complain that the film implicitly promotes atheism.

No surprise here, though most of the positive reviews are too distracted by Ayn Rand's apparent prescience regarding today's political climate to offer an objective (so to speak) evaluation of the movie itself. From Big Hollywood:
Though taken from a book written a half-century ago and set in the year MMXVI, the movie is eerily similar to the world today, bearing a particular resemblance to the United States and the societal and economic depreciation of states like California, where manufacturing industries have collapsed, economic liberty and entrepreneurialism are eroding, and productive members of society seem to be rapidly disappearing, or rather, run out of business by bureaucratic red tape and unreasonable regulations.

Not only is the film a winner for holding firm to Randian philosophy, it also brazenly and refreshingly brings a political perspective that is almost universally absent from the big screen…
But it's not all positive. According to Kurt Loder—yes, that Kurt Loder—of the reliably libertarian
Sitting through this picture is like watching early rehearsals of a stage play that's clearly doomed.

The movie is especially disappointing because Rand's MCMLVII book, while centrally concerned with ethical philosophy (and inevitably quite talky), has a juicy plot that, in more capable hands, might have made a sensational film.
As for the film's handling of religion, there's apparently not much to talk about. Even Movieguide, "the family guide to movies and entertainment", commends Atlas Shrugged for its lack of "Christian bashing". Still, Movieguide identifies XV or so examples of potentially objectionable content, ranging from "a foggy moral and philosophical confusion about eleemosynary or philanthropic individual charity" to "a low-cut dress".

Everyone else will find it dull and a little preachy, but not terrible.

From my favorite site for movie reviews, the A.V. Club:
This is the major problem with Atlas Shrugged: Part I, the first of a proposed III-part adaptation of Ayn Rand's MCMLVII novel: Its ideas are squandered by aesthetics. Given the novel's centrality to the Tea Party movement, which has made "going Galt" its call to arms, the film is curiously sterile and lifeless, hardly the stuff of revolution.
Roger Ebert was similarly unimpressed, calling it "the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone's vault." And Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote a II-word review that simply read "Shit Sandwich."[II]

So I was mostly right. Everyone else found it dull, a little preachy, and terrible.

I predict a Metacritic score of LX.

Not even close. As of April XX, it has a Metacritic score of XXVII.

I also predict Sean Hannity will blame every perceived slight—up to and including Atlas Shrugged's inevitable failure to win the Academy Award for Best Picture—on liberals. And maybe immigrants.

Not yet, but I'm not worried. We've still got IX months until the nominees are announced.

I. Honestly, like LXXXVII% of the reason I wrote this article was as an excuse to use the "Part I (Part II)" title. And the other XIII% was to mess around with Roman numerals, which are delightfully pretentious.
II. Not really, but wouldn't that have been great? Here's what he actually said:
Ayn Rand's monumental MCLXVIII-page, MCMLVII novel gets the low-budget, no-talent treatment and sits there flapping on screen like a bludgeoned seal. It's the first in a planned trilogy of films. Let's hope the other II parts are quickly aborted.

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