Movie Recollection: Atlas Shrugged (and I Shuddered)

It seems a number of my friends have a lot of extra time on their hands.  The reason I believe this is they have read or listened to a novel by Ayn Rand called Atlas Shrugged.  I have held this novel in my hand in local bookstores only to decide that I am already convinced of the bad affects brought on by big government and reading a thousand page book to confirm that belief seems like a frivolous use of my precious time.  I even looked into the audio book but 63 hrs equates to 63 commutes to work and back which would seriously put a dent into my Lee Childs series… again, for something I already believe in.  For those unaware, this novel was Written in 1957 and explores the collapse of society as a result of too much government intervention (my interpretation from some Internet searching and what was gleamed from the movie).  Clearly the time was right for this particular movie adaption as the U.S. continues to be held hostage by a government driven by personal agendas, party bickering, bad economic decisions and confusing foreign policies.  So when my friends found out the movie was going to be at a local theater, I decided I would join them.  This, in part, to two of them agreeing to go see Sucker Punch with me the week before.

One member of the group (Pakage) showed up at the theater at the same time I did so we headed to the ticket counter together.  While I was waiting for him to pay for his ticket, a stranger came back into the lobby and asked if I was planning on seeing Atlas Shrugged.  I was a little apprehensive to respond half waiting for some liberal to start ranting about how stupid the movie was.  I confirmed and immediately had to internally apologize for my pre-judgement (I have to stop doing that, but Blink was right). Turns out he had an extra ticket due to his friend bailing on him and simply gave me his ticket for free.  I tried to give him half of the ticket price (thanks to that being the total amount of singles I had at the time), but he waved it off.  I have no idea who he is and I doubt he reads my blog, but just in case, Thank You!  While relaying this fortunate event with my friends, I was met with interesting comments regarding sharing the wealth and how that plays into the movie I was about to see.  Oh well, it was $7.00 in my favor and very appreciative.  Soon after, we headed into the movie a little earlier than are usual routine but there were some concerns over seats – especially with the large group we had.  I was absolutely shocked by the number of people in the theater.  Other than Avatar, I can’t tell you the last movie I saw that had a theater even a third full.  There were still some seats up higher in the theater, which we quickly laid claim too, but a pretty good crowd for a limited theater release with very little (if any) marketing.  While getting comfortable in the seat,  I took another assessment of the crowd (yeah, I can’t help myself) and noticed an interesting mix ranging from older couples, students, urban professionals and a smattering between.  The lights went down and I settled in see what this was all about.  For those keeping track, Sucker Punch wins the trailer score – Atlas has some uber-lame ones I can’t even remember anymore (one had Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks, but that’s ALL I remember).

hit the jump to read the rest of my comments on this movie:

I’m not going to give a detailed review of this movie beyond some word associations:

  • Stiff actors
  • Disjointed dialog
  • Zero chemistry
  • Oddly long train CGI
  • Incredible bridge design (although it looked like 10x the span of what it replaced)
  • It’s Over?

Per the last item in the list, I was completely unaware that this was a THREE PARTER.  I am just starting to get into the movie and the next thing I’m doing is reading the credits.  I couldn’t believe it, I turned to the guy next to me who also had not read the book and was equally surprised.  This immediately reminded me of my disappointment with the first part of Lord of the Rings.  In both cases I sat through an entire movie only to be watching someone crying at the top of a mountain.  With LOTR, there was a very good chance the remaining parts were going to make it to the theater where this one is not a given by any means.  I did check the box office draw and it was not horrible (taking into consideration it was a limited release), but still a long way from a blockbuster.  My feeling of disappointment was actually replaced by concern after everyone stopped clapping for the movie (yeah, there were people doing that – let’s hope it was for the principles involved and not the quality of the movie).  A guy in the row ahead of us stands up and shouts “Obama Sucks!”.  Uhhh, Okay, I’m with you (in silence) along with others in the theater that were instead verbally agreeing with him.  This endorsement gave him the pulpit to announce “He needs to go back to China!”  I turned to my friend to make sure I heard that pontification correctly – I did and we were both confused.  However, this statement also received some affirmation (less, but still some) which prompted him to follow up with “and the wrong side won the Civil War”.  What the hell?  I did not hear any confirmation from the audience on that one beyond his wife telling him to shut up.  My friend was concerned that people like him were allowed to vote.  I was concerned there were people still around that still had this misconception (oh.. and were also allowed to vote).

So, in summary, I was not impressed by the movie and proceeded to spend the rest of the drive home trying to decide the purpose of making it.  Was it just to capitalize on the current angst with government and drive profit off of conservatives still willing to be entertained by a liberal biased movie industry?  Was it to try and educate big government supporters on the fallacy of that belief?  After some internal debate I chose the former because the movie was so poorly delivered that it will never reach the latter target audience.  If it was academy award quality, the media would have had to talk about it and thus drive attention to a wider audience.  As a result, it just seemed like a more cerebral version of An American Carol.  In a year, I will have to make the difficult decision as to whether to see the second part (assuming it makes it to production).  For now I am taking relief in that it did not cost me any money and at this point give Sucker Punch the definite scoring edge – the acting was equally bad, but at least the CGI visuals in Sucker Punch were stunning.

… oh, and yes, my graphic was a reach, but  I shot up all my available props during our gunfest a few weeks back – it still works.. doesn’t it?  come oooonnn you thought it was clever! (sigh, okay okay, my wife laughed at me too)

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