A Catalog of Abysmal Reviews by the Hollywood Establishment

Whereas 85% of Flixter users liked–and by “liked,” I mean “loved”–only 9% of critics liked it. The critical voices that are captive to the Hollywood establishment are nearly unanimous in their denigration of the film.

Atlas Shrugged: Part I may be set only five years from now, but the world it portrays is completely unrecognizable. It imagines an America in the stranglehold of a Soviet-style government, given to legislating equal opportunity and making it illegal for profitable corporations to lay off employees.

Funny, I think Rand would have applauded agreed with the movie’s depiction of our potential future, based on our current track. Hayek defined the collectivist ideology as 1) redistribution of wealth, and 2) centralizing the means of production. Ever-increasing entitlements (healthcare overhall) and recent government bailouts (Fannie Mae/Freddy Mac, AIG, TARP for Bank of America and Citicorp) and seizures (GM).

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.

The New Yorker:

This comically tasteless and flavorless adaptation of Ayn Rand’s bombastic magnum opus delivers her simplistic nostrums with smug self-satisfaction.

The 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.

The Wall Street Journal:

[The movie] doesn’t give the book a fair shake. In terms of craftsmanship it’s barely professional…

San Francisco Chronicle:

…a low-budget film with more than a whiff of amateurism in its writing and direction. The story (unless you know the book well) is almost impossible to follow, and often you can feel both the presence of the camera and the director’s abandonment of the actors.

Philadelphia Inquirer:

Speechy, preachy tale of a decaying America. I arched eyebrow, scrunched forehead, yawned.

Boston Globe:

Even fans of Rand’s 1957 antigovernment manifesto may balk at having to endure dialogue that would be banal on the Lifetime channel, along with wooden performances…

Box Office Magazine:

Lifeless as entertainment and incoherent as ideology, Atlas Shrugged: Part I is less a film than an invitation to the 9 million Tea Party members to prove their hunger for explicitly conservative entertainment.


Sharktopus-budget-level cheap, badly-acted, clumsily-written and stiffly-directed movie…

The LA Times printed this, after an interview with one of the movie’s producers:
“Critics, you won,” said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” which covers the first third of Rand’s dystopian novel. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2.”
“Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?” Aglialoro said. “I’ll make my money back and I’ll make a profit, but do I wanna go and do two? Maybe I just wanna see my grandkids and go on strike.”
Aglialoro, who is chief executive of the exercise equipment manufacturer Cybex, said he is not completely finished with Hollywood, however. An avid poker player who won the U.S. Poker Championship in 2004, he has a dramatic script called “Poker Room” in development. “Maybe the critics will be kinder to that one,” he said.

The application of all this? Get out and see the film. Speak about its best aspects, and encourage others to engage with the ideas that Atlas Shrugged (the book and the movie) put forth.

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