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|Index||122 reviews in total|
After paying $11 to see ATLAS SHRUGGED at a local Cineplex, I felt
compelled to write this review for IMDb. The earliest review for this
movie I read for this movie appeared to have been written by someone
who hadn't even seen the movie yet! (It was also posted the day before
the theatrical release) In fact, the extreme polarization of the
majority of IMDb users appears to be strictly along political lines,
since most gave the movie either a 10 or a 1! It seemed obvious to me
that neither perspective was likely to be accurate or helpful in
assessing whether this movie would be worth seeing.
For full disclosure, I would consider myself to be a political moderate and a longtime fan of Ayn Rand's work. While I do agree with many of Ayn's sentiments about socialism, I do also resent the fact that her work is now being appropriated (and attacked) as some sort of political manifesto. Therefore, the film should be judged solely on its merits and faults NOT because you're a liberal or a conservative.
The original 1957 novel was intended as Ayn's most extensive statement on her philosophy of Objectivism and is considered by many followers to be her masterpiece. I would instead judge it to be an important, but flawed masterwork. ATLAS SHRUGGED is her love letter to the America that inspired Ayn to become such an advocate for individual freedoms, liberty and capitalism. It can also be viewed as a dire warning that allowing more government and socialist policies could transform our nation into the Russia she so bitterly left behind in 1925.
The main problem I found with the book was that the characters were unrealistically polarized in their attitudes about the individual's role in society. As a result, I often found them a bit rigid, cold and lacking in any sort of personality that the reader might empathize with. Instead, Ayn entirely expected her readers to embrace the heroes in her work for their ethics, virtue and idealism alone. What she didn't anticipate were the mediocre actors that would wind up portraying her heroes and villains This "character weakness" in her original writing is greatly magnified in this theatrical rendering,especially with the B and C list acting talent that was enlisted. To make matters even worse, budgetary constraints forced the producers of ATLAS SHRUGGED: PART 2 to recast almost ALL of the main characters?! Having watched PART 1 over a year ago, this wasn't entirely bothersome since most of the original actors weren't all that memorable to begin with. However, I can see this change being a bit more perplexing if I were to view both parts back to back. Samantha Mathis did an acceptable job with the Dagny Taggart role, but most performances were fairly unmemorable. The only semi-familiar faces I could pick out were Diedrich Bader (best known for The Drew Cary Show) and Arye Gross (from Ellen).
Many of the core ideas of the book, such as "The Strike" that part 2 covers, are presented awkwardly. Therefore, the reasoning behind the actions for the strike might seem hokey or incomprehensible to those who are unfamiliar with the original book. Also, the story has been given a bit of a modern face lift which I don't necessarily take issue with. The signs advertising gasoline for $42 a gallon at various points in the movie are both chilling and somehow humorous at the same time. I say humorous only because the story seems so fantastical at some points that I couldn't help but question the credibility of this ominous vision of the future. But more often I found myself struggling to remember what was originally in the book versus what was added by the screenwriters. Regardless of who is to blame, the results are a blemish upon my memories of the original book.
The decision to chop the book into 3 parts with widely staggered release dates has only served to make this controversial and often difficult book into a confusing mess. And by presenting the story in such delayed and mismatched parts, it's far less likely anyone other than a devoted Rand fan would bother to see all three parts. I actually made a point to see the movie during its opening weekend for fear that it would leave theaters quickly. (ATLAS SHRUGGED PT. 1 lasted only a few weeks in Atlanta and was next to impossible to find on the Internet for the following 6 months.) ATLAS SHRUGGED PT. 2 (and the series as a whole) is a disappointing and confusing representation of the original book. While I was initially thankful that someone finally managed to bring this book to celluloid, that feeling has now turned to regret. I felt very conflicted about the movie after leaving the theater and my friends (who were less familiar with the book) were fairly negative, even though they were politically sympathetic to the ideas in the movie.
Although I will probably watch part 3 (IF it ever gets finished), I can't see giving this movie anything more than a 4/10 score. I can't really see a casual viewer with little knowledge of Ayn Rand's work or the original book getting much out of this production. This alone should be considered the film's most grievous failure.
But as Ayn Rand would say, don't trust anyone else's mind before your own. If you are a fan of her books, then take the time to see these movies and find your own perspective. Her ideas alone are worth discussion and maybe someone else can be inspired to do this book justice.
I just came back from watching part 2 and up front, I will say that I
was disappointed that the original cast was unable to return for part
2. That being said though, once the movie started I didn't really care
about that anymore.
I thought Dagny being portrayed by an older actress was actually more in-line with the way I viewed her when reading the book, and the same goes for the other actors, like Eddie Willers, etc. I'm unsure how I feel about DB Sweeney portraying Galt himself since I never considered him a very strong actor, but that's a moot point in part 2 anyway.
As others have noted, the special effects in this aren't exactly top quality, but they're passable. It reminded me of the type you'd see on a SyFy original movie or something along those lines... not bad, but not great.
Overall, it was a good movie. Let's face it, if you liked the book, you'll like the movie. If you hated the book (or never read it, but hate the very idea of it), you'll hate this movie too. But that hatred would have nothing to do with the movie itself, but about your views of Rand's philosophy.
I'd give the movie a technical rating of 5-6 because it wasn't too bad, and some of the cinematography was actually pretty well done. Content I give it a 9 because I appreciate where Rand is coming from, so let's call it an 8 out of 10 overall.
Just finished watching this. Moves better than part one for sure. The
acting is better as well. Some of the graphics still show it is not a
high budget movie, but they didn't detract from the story.
They did a great job of connecting the story to today, as is quite easy to do with the subject material. The signs held outside protests were from today...
As with the first one, some of the 'bigger' concepts and ideas the characters were discussing went by fast and for people not familiar with the work already, those parts will be hard to keep up with.
And to be clear, for all who have actually watched the movie, there is no need to wonder why they made a sequel... It isn't a sequel, it is Part 2.
Atlas Shrugged Part 2 followed Rand's magnum opus very closely: in
terms of plot & storyline. Overall an excellent depiction of the book.
Fifty years later, the message is still (if not more) relevant and just
as rejected by looters.
The acting in the second Atlas Shrugged movie was much better than in the first Atlas Shrugged. The cast selections in this movie matched the appearance and demeanor conceived by Rand in her book better so than did the thespians in the first Atlas Shrugged movie. However, due to the fact that I had the previous cast images in my mind (from the first movie) it was initially difficult (right-brain-wise) for me to invest in the story being told as the sequel to the first movie.
The special effects and sound quality were indicative of the purpose for which the movie makers were aiming. This, however, was not a huge negative for the film as anyone expecting such entertainment value from this film obviously miss the objective of the movie makers. Similar in objective to the movie "I (Heart) Huckabees", this movie attempts to put into picture and sound the abject ideas found in a philosophical system ...and similar to "I (Heart) Huckabees", this movie entertains those who are seeking such entertainment more so than it does those who are looking for just entertainment by means of flashy effects and dramatic plot-lines.
This movie (and its predecessor) find their place on my favorite move list somewhere between "I (Heart) Huckabees" and "Memento". I do not separate this movie from its predecessor due to the fact that it is its sequel and an excellent one at that. There are few films that offer as much as does Atlas Shrugged (I and II). For a movie that entertains, presents the tenets of a world-view, begs discussion and debate, and educates; while also engaging in a wonderfully crafted story: there are few films that function on this level and even fewer films that functions as such so well.
While I have never read the book, the way this movie is filmed and the
lack of big named stars really took me in. This is a wonderfully
produced movie with some incredibly deep overtones of the situation
that the US is currently potentially facing.
The acting is excellent and the dark feel and sense of hopelessness really gets inside of you as I realize this is a possible future as being orchestrated by the powers that be. Art imitates life so to speak and being someone who deeply distrusts the main stream media, seeing it as the 100% propaganda that it is and has researched a lot into the darker truths about those running our country, its almost as if Ayn Rand was seeing the way the power structure of the world was setting up the world to achieve its goals of domination and subservience of the US population.
Fear is rampant in this moment and the government uses that fear to take even further control from the people. This movie should hit home and make us take stock of what we have and wake up to what the military industrial complex, bankers and power elite have in store for those of us that continue to stand still with our head buried in the sand while all of our liberties are taken by us one by one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Full disclosure: I hate Ayn Rand and all she stands for.
That out of the way, and that aside (I will get back to that in a moment), this was an incredible stinker of a movie. The acting was horrible. The choice of actors was horrible. The production values on any HBO series would trounce this movie 10 times over. The plot meandered, and then the movie was over. 2 hours of my life wasted and nothing was very different than when it started.
The plot? Oh boy, where to start: it could not have been more contrived. If you had started with "well first thing is, a cow jumps over the moon" ... that premise might actually have some merit. SPOILERS AHEAD: The movie has an anti-climax about half way through, where the guy you keep expecting to be recruited by John Galt, Hank Reardon, is tried in court and in the same breath the judge dismisses his whole verdict in a jingoistic, snarky, diatribe about how they can't let "the job creators win." Literally, this movie could not have been more neo-con ra-ra cheerleading if it tried. Faux News broadcasters literally showed up in this movie to plug it. I could go on for hours, but I don't want to bore you the way this movie bored me-- it's would be a crime against humanity.
I could not sit through Ayn Rands books, she was an awful writer. However, I wanted to watch this movie to try and grasp what it was all about more than excerpts had done. Nothing in this movie gave me any idea. I watched the first installment, and begrudgingly, it was a tolerable narrative; coherent. This garbage? Wow. The term 80's B movie kept springing to mind. The zany plot twists and changes were so ridiculous and rife that you would think they would start with "first the cow jumped over the moon, and THEN..." You would stop listening after the first sentence of that joke...
The government in this movie is reduced to a simpering 80's villain from the A-Team (or something lame like that) where they inexplicably start seizing assets and making rules and doing all kinds of insane things for no reason. Things or stated, rather than shown, no exposition involved. The plot is flat on the face of it, no attempt to make logical progression or sense. Given that almost nothing happened in the movie, it is amazing it took 2 hours. And when it ended the way it did, very sci-fi indeed, no explanation, no realism: (spoiler) she goes through a pseudo-worm whole, in a plane she bought on the spot, learned to fly on the spot, from a guy just hanging out down the road... crashes said plane after somehow successfully piloting it for a few minutes, goes through the worm hole, crashes in spectacular fashion (cue digital effects), plane is disintegrated, except for the tail and nose. She emerges barely harmed, and lo, within seconds, dozens of town people are gathered around as if they had "caught her" from falling from the sky (I mean seriously, they were just THERE!) John Galt (whose name is thrown around like a random word throughout the movie, literally in places it should not be as if it were a replacement for the word "of" in sentences)... John Galt is there hand outstretched to pull her from the rubble as though he were John the Baptist pulling Jesus from the water in "King of Kings." That was just the silliness in the last 3 minutes, to give you an idea. Silly is OK, if it is the tongue in cheek, Evil Dead sort of thing... but this? Oh my lord was it garbage.
I have never written a review for a movie before, and I have been on IMDb a VERY long time (1997)... this was awful. I could go on about the pseudophilosophy or Rand, but suffice is to say, I don't need to. This movie was just horrible. At least movies like "Plan 9" were FUNNY-bad! As a movie aficionado, this was some of the worst I have ever seen. The rushed plot and wacky progression reminded me of nearly every episode of "Sliders" where the premise seems so "yeah, what if THIS happened!" and crashes in an utterly implausible, stupid, horrible plot that leaves you wondering: was that a cow that just flew over the moon, or did I just waste 2 hours of my life, plus 15 minutes to write a review of this stinker. Yup, that actually happened.
I'm surprised by the reviews I've read stating that Part II was better
done than Part I. I saw Part II with four friends, all have read the
book and had seen Part I.
We all felt the drop off in acting quality was extreme. Unfortunately, this is magnified by an inferior director as well. The plot is for the most part accurate to the book, though the time-line was slightly altered and curiously skipped certain important details while forcing others less significant details into the screen play.
The new Rearden and D'Anconia are painful. The new Dagny isn't as painful but the actress in Part I I felt was far superior.
Its unfortunate that this trilogy is going to fail to transform into film yet again.
The pace of Part 2 was much better than Part 1, but then that's true of the book as well. Didn't think much of the new cast nor the new look - it's as if the producers tried to glam it up to make this one look more appealing than the first - for example all the female characters were well endowed and showed it off needlessly, including a very cheap scene with Dagny early on. On the subject of Dagny, the actress in that role was terribly miscast - too old for the character, and she had a very bloated look which probably looked worse than it was because of the slim, trim Dagny we saw in Part 1. Acting was well short of the first. Overly dramatic at times and poorly acted in general. Bader turned in a good performance in a small role, as did the rail line worker Dagny spoke to alongside the train near the end. By far the most believable character in the film. Too bad, I think the original cast would have done a good job with this story.
I am writing this in the hopes that I can spare somebody the frustration of having wasted their precious time by watching this film. This has got to be one of the worst films I have ever seen, and I am ashamed at having sat through it. Probably because I hoped that it would get better or have SOME redeeming value. The characters are flat, unattractive, the theme, that of state versus free enterprise in a context of economic crisis, is but shallow propaganda of the knee-jerk type, with everything turned around. I have never read Ayn Rand from who's novel this film was taken, but now guess that she is the darling of the kind of paranoid individuals who religiously watch Fox News as if it were anything but a sick joke, The political arguments are a mere travesty of any sort of intelligent thought or analysis. The plot mechanisms are completely flat and unbelievable. In fact just about everything in the film is unbelievable. It's pretty outrageous that financing was found to make such a film, but I guess some right wing lunatics (and I mean that word literally, anyone buying into this film's thesis is borderline insane if not worse,) use every means possible to spew their nonsense. If you are intelligent or sane, you will probably be angry at yourself if you watch this film all the way through.
I only give six stars because for some reason I have long loved "Atlas
Shrugged" the novel and for years have longed for a movie version of
it. But the bottom line is that this is a pretty poor excuse for a
movie and really doesn't do the novel justice.
I guess somehow they came up with a bigger budget for this one and have re-cast all the major roles with.... well .... somewhat higher level actors. Maybe you could say they moved from D-list actors to C-list actors? Unfortunately in some ways the "unknown" actors in the first movie were much better than the familiar faces you will recognize in Part 2. To call them D-list actors is perhaps unfair...when really they are just unknowns.
The most glaring casting problem here is Samantha Mathis, and I cannot adequately express how much this pains me to say because I have long loved her and think she is a talented actress. But all you can say about her role here is, "What in the WORLD happened to Samantha Mathis?!" First of all physically she is all wrong for the part; too old, too bloated, too tired-looking. Once upon a time she might have been able to pull it off, but that time was past a decade ago. If you've read the novel you know what I mean. Dagney Taggart is a force of nature and Samantha Mathis spends the entire movie looking confused and exhausted. You know who would have been an awesome Dagney back in the day? Someone like a young Lauren Bacall---the body type, the facial features, the intensity....that's Dagney as described in the novel. Samantha simply doesn't have it, and it makes every scene she is in excruciating to watch.
The other thing is this movie is extremely talky, and honestly if you haven't read the book I am not sure you would be able to follow what was going on. The movie is 2 hours long and at times it drags. Blah blah blah, talk talk talk. Works in the novel, but not in a movie. Show don't tell.
I like the other casting choices although the jury will be out on D.B. Sweeney as Galt. They don't show his face in Part 2, but honestly I have seen some of his recent appearances in movies and TV, and he looks about as tired and done-in as Samantha Mathis (maybe this is what they are going for, a matched set?)
I will go see Part 3 if it gets made. I did notice a lot more people at the showing I went to than when I saw Part 1 (literally watched the first movie with one other person in the entire theater). So maybe this one will actually make money? I would like to see them re-cast Dagney although I know that's not likely to happen. Still if they could do it once....
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