Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 (save us from 2 and 3) is an amateurish enterprise of embarrassing proportions that I strongly suspect would have had Rand herself running for cover. (I also predict its decent limited release box office opening will fade quickly.)

Some writers have defended the film as being under-budgeted. This is the least of its problems. The same script shot for $300 million would have been just as bad — or nearly — as the one shot for $30 million. It would still have had wooden characters delivering wooden lines (that were largely exposition anyway) with an entirely predictable, poorly paced plot set in an oddly anachronistic near future.

Others say, well, Rand’s novel is more or less like that. Possibly. But film is a different, obviously more photographic medium with its own demands and, in the end, it is Rand’s ideas that are particularly poorly served here. The Atlas Shrugged filmmakers forgot the old Hollywood saw: “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” It’s a truism for a reason.