Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some Comments on Atlas Shrugged Part I

This is not a review of Atlas Shrugged Part I.  I am simply too emotionally connected to the book to review the movie fairly.  While it has been 30 years since I have read Atlas Shrugged (yes, I have purposefully avoided re-reading it for fear it wasn’t as great as I remember), its impact on my world view was so profound that no movie could live up to the book.  While I have cast aside much of Rand’s Objectivist philosophy and whole heartedly accepted Christ as the objective measure of morality, my political views continue to be guided by Atlas Shrugged.  Sure I was just an impressionable teenager growing up on a farm outside of Knoxville, Tennessee when I read Atlas Shrugged, but it inspired me like nothing else had before.  While Atlas Shrugged did not start my journey to libertarianism (reading Restoring the American Dream by Robert Ringer as a high school freshman did), it sealed the deal.  I have viewed politicians – from both parties – with suspicion ever since.
For me this is very similar to when the first Narnia book was made into a movie, I had to see it on opening day.  And I actually care that it makes a lot of money for reasons more than just because there will be sequels.  Strange I know.  I am no longer a middle school kid who cares if a song from my favorite band is in the Top 40 Countdown but it feels similar somehow.  Of course, there are differences between the two movies.  Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had a $180 million production budget and a $60 million advertising budget and was made by an established movie production company and distributed and promoted by Disney.  Atlas Shrugged Part I was made on a shoestring budget (by Hollywood standards) of $10 million.  Narnia opened in thousands of theaters.   Atlas Shrugged Part I opened on fewer than 300 screens.  And many of the theaters who showed it on opening weekend only show independent movies or are considered second tier theaters.  I saw it at a theater that decided to show it at the last minute due to all the calls they received asking for it.  (Thank you Regal Downtown West.)  Other than on the Internet, I have seen no advertisements, trailers or any other promotions for the movie.   Mostly it has been promoted by a few conservative talk shows. 
Given that the movie was rushed into production and filming reportedly was completed in only six weeks, I was afraid the movie would be underwhelming at best and embarrassingly bad at worst.  Well, I am happy to report that I enjoyed it.  While a few scenes would have benefitted from a few more retakes, the made-for-TV look early on disappears as the story takes over.  My biggest disappointment was that it was only 102 minutes and it even seems shorter because it is such a good ride.  I look forward to talking to people who have not read the book to get their reaction.
Go see it so the producers can make Part II and Part III.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Is the Atlas Shrugged Movie Suitable for Children? A Review

Just back from seeing Atlas Shrugged Part 1 and, as promised, I am going to attempt to “review” it from the perspective of a couple of my favorite sites that review movies for content and appropriateness for children.  I hope and will review the movie; they will do a more thorough review.  But until then, here is my review for appropriateness.  
First, it is a PG-13 movie so for parents who absolutely refuse to take any child under 13 to a PG-13 movie, this movie is not for you.  However, if you are a parent who allows your 11 or 12 year old to watch PG-13 movies or even watch many prime time TV shows, this movie is probably acceptable.   
So how does it rate on violence, profanity and sexual content?
Violence: Virtually no physical violence.  I am guessing would probably give it a 2 on a 10 scale for violence.  Of course there is violence against the entrepreneurs by the looters who use the power of government to take their property.
Profanity:  Some mild obscenities.  While I didn’t count the instances of profanity, I am guessing there were fewer than ten instances.  Kids-in-Mind would probably give a 3 on a 10 scale for profanity.
Sexual content: No nudity though there are two bed scenes, both involving Hank Rearden.  The scene with his wife ends humorously.  The scene with Dagny is more passionate.  Kids-in-Mind would probably give it a 6 of a 10 scale for sexual content.
Spiritual content: There is no religious content to speak of which might surprise some given that Ayn Rand was a vocal atheist.
In the next couple of days I hope to post a few more observations about the movie.

Edit:'s review 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is the Atlas Shrugged Movie suitable for children?

I have tickets to see Atlas Shrugged Part 1 on Friday, April 15.  My review will be posted either late Friday or early Saturday.  The movie is rated PG-13 for “some sexuality” so it probably is not going to be appropriate for younger children but, of course, parents need to make that decision for their own children.  I have walked out on PG movies with my children (and demanded a refund) and I have been okay with some PG-13 movies.  Since my children are in middle school it is especially critical that my wife and I be aware of what is an acceptable PG-13 movie and what is not.
In the past I have been assisted by the reviews from and in helping me decide if a particular movie is appropriate for my children.   However, since Atlas Shrugged is an independent release, it will probably not be reviewed by or for a few weeks, if ever.  (I hope I am wrong.)  Therefore, I plan on reviewing the movie from the perspective taken by those two well-known movie review sites. 
Check back Saturday morning.