Atlas Shrugged: Part III
Digital HD with Ultraviolet +
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This third and final film completes the epic trilogy adapted from the novel written by Ayn Rand. After 12 years of suffering mysterious disappearances of society's most-productive individuals, the nation's economy is on the verge of collapse. As the government pursues policies imposing even greater brutality against those remaining, Dagny Taggart, Vice President of Taggart Transcontinental, must make a choice between saving the nation's collapsing infrastructure or the man she has come to love - the man who would stop the motor of the World.
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You know right from the beginning that this is a whole different beast than the first two movies. It starts with really cheesy narration in which they tell you, among other things, exactly who John Galt is, so there's some question about whether you really need to hang around for the rest. The narrator sounds a *lot* like Bill Kurtis when he narrated Anchorman, which really detracts from the gravitas they were shooting for, right out of the gate.
The first actual scene picks up precisely where part 2 left off, which makes this complete cast change (you knew about that, right?) even more jarring than the last complete cast change. Most of the key characters crowd around, and (almost literally) trip over each other to bring Dagny up to speed and babble on about...put it this way, remember that guy in college who just discovered Ayn Rand and wouldn't shut up about it? Yeah, it's like that. This comes in such a torrent that pretty much everything they're "trying to say" is said in the first 10 minutes, and the rest of the movie is basically just repetition, philosophy-wise.
Some of their new casting choices are really bizarre. Francisco is now clearly old enough to be Dagny's father, making their previous relationship really creepy, and possibly illegal. I really like Rob Morrow, but it struck me as comical miscasting to have him play Hank Rearden, so I was really curious to see how that worked out. Unfortunately, they cut him almost entirely out, having him only appear briefly in some of the narrated montages, with no speaking parts. I'm reasonably certain this must be the least screen time that ever earned someone "star" billing in a full length movie.
Miscasting aside, most of the new actors do the best with what they've been given. I really liked Mark Moses (Desperate Housewives) as Midas Mulligan. Kristoffer Polaha looks more like a front man for a grunge band than the chiseled Adonis I was expecting, but in spite of that, he actually does a pretty good job as John Galt. In fact, he gives him significantly more personality than the book's character has. His facial expressions even hint at - Rand forbid! - a sense of humor. Unfortunately, the script is so laughably bad that good acting just can't save it.
As for the rest, the movie screams low budget at every turn. They saved money by filming much of it outdoors and in national parks - specifically Sequoia National Park! I don't mean that you occasionally catch a glimpse of a sequoia, I mean they rely heavily on them, even driving through the famous tunnel in the fallen tree - twice - just to remind you were it was really filmed. I honestly think Aglialoro doesn't realize there are no sequoias in Colorado.
Don't get me wrong, these extended nature travelogues are beautifully filmed, and definitely the highlight of the movie, but the fact that an Ayn Rand movie relies so heavily on national parks is an irony that can only be lost on her true believers. These are juxtaposed with grim scenes of industrial decay, so if you watched the movie with the sound off, you'd walk away thinking that the message is that the government really needs to protect wilderness from the ravages of exactly the sort of people Rand is championing. Seriously, if she had her way, those beautiful trees would have been logged decades ago.
The parts that aren't in the woods are comically cheap. Large, important sections are narrated over montages, which include stills and even stock footage. The sets and props they do use come straight from the Ed Wood school of film making. For example, a "TV studio" appears to be a high school gym with black curtains hiding the walls and basketball hoops. I literally laughed out loud when the sinister "Project F" was unveiled, which did not endear me to the handful of other people in the theater.
I'm assuming that everyone who sees this movie has read the book, which is good because there are some really glaring plot holes that wouldn't make sense otherwise. Really, leaving so many loose ends even *with* extensive narration is just laziness, pure and simple.
So Aglialoro has achieved his life's ambition, and this bizarre footnote in cinematic history has come unceremoniously to an end. The first two parts will soon be forgotten, but this at least has the potential to gain something of a cult following. I know *I'll* watch it again.
It is those in the 1% that run the govt, provide you with candidates they bought. Your vote is a joke. Right and left are in it together.
Socialized capitalism is the solution, democracy in the workplace. Co-ops are the answer. Local govts are the answer. Laissez faire capitalism is the force that will take the world down. Mother earth will finish the job. We will all be extinct thanks to your "I'm in it for me."
Best of luck...