One of the limited releases was near me in an upscale area north of Houston. My wife, a friend, and I saw a performance on an early Monday showing with very sparse attendance of ~25 folks. There were no spontaneous outbursts of enthusiasm at the end.
All three of us in our group had read the book years ago and are of Rand's target audience, and by that I mean individualists
as opposed to collectivists
by persuasion. So, we were spring-loaded to appreciate the film. My wife fell asleep. I am so invested from long familiarity my review has to be tilted beyond measure, but for my part, I enjoyed the movie even knowing the first third is devoted entirely to background and formation for the payoff later. After a third of the story, the audience hasn't seen the protagonist other than as a disappointing (yet true to the book) shadowy cartoon. I wonder how the uninitiated can keep interest. Thus, speaking for myself, I can say Part I was about what I expected. I had hoped Francisco d'Aconia's "Money Speech" made the early cut as it is the "hook" in the book for me, but, alas, we will have to wait to see if there is a Part II for that. Much of that speech can be included, as it is relatively short, but the insufferably long 110 page culminating John Galt speech at the end is a mystery as to how the writers will approach it, especially as it is Rand's piece de resistance
Readers can jump the gun and read the "Money Speech here -http://www.working-minds.com/money.htm
The book and the movie cannot be divorced from the driving philosophy for which it was created. It is and was always meant to be a didactic allegory to express Rand's singular ideas, and any power it has is from those ideas expressed by Rand as, "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." The characters are paper thin and the dialog stilted and unsubtle. Not the stuff of great art, but the stuff of an important philosophy suitable to invoke more disagreement than this thread can stand taken to its limits. Part I has only touched on the essence of that Raison D'être
, so whether this first effort is enough to carry to conclusion with production of the following two parts remains to be seen. I hope so.