Sorry but it did.
It was clearly a heroic, last ditch effort to finish the work.
Just because something is heroic, doesn't mean its a good idea.
And dear Lord this one wasn't.
No getting around it. Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt, is a bad movie. I mean this is indeed and truly, MST3K fodder. It's that bad.
This was cinematic incompetence.
This should not have happened.
It would have been better...Far, far better if this film had never been shot. Ayn Rand would be spinning in her grave if she had seen this. (*but of course she would insist that she had ceased to exist the moment she died and that any consciousness she is now experiencing is simply the legacy product of a codependent mind and that her body is actually rotting peacefully enough, thank you,*)
When I dusted off the DVD player for the first time in months and spun this one up. My first question was, who is playing Dagny this time?
Laura Regan as it turns out. Her primary qualification being, she is a blond actress that might be mistaken for Taylor Schilling (original Dagny) if the lights are out and you have just been beaned from the pitcher's mound.
My next question was, who is playing Hank Reardon?
The rather surprising answer was John Galt.
This was not the answer to the question, "who is John Galt?" that I was expecting.
I suppose I get it. They really didn't have the budget to hire another male lead. Truth be said they didn't have much of anything to work with in terms of a budget at all. One of my first thoughts when I saw John Galt staring into Dagny Taggart's eyes for the first time was, oh no, Johnny Wad is going to be in this. The production values were about that bad.
There is no getting around it. Atlas Shrugged movies have been on a steady down hill slide. Watching the Atlas Shrugged movies is like vaulting between
episodes of Doctor Who, where every single character regenerates between showings.
It's a little distracting, when you have to figure out, who the new actor is supposed to be playing this time?
Francisco D'Anconia has now been played by a hot blooded Cuban, medium blooded Puerto Rican and finally a badly aging Portuguese, The last made it look like Dagny had had some fairly serious Daddy issues. Which Dagny Taggart probably did now that I think of it. In fact she was a pretty typical Amazonian Alpha Female. They are well known for their Daddy issues. She fits that archetype like a glove the more I look at it.
It starts, where the last movie left off. Dagny has just survived a plane crash. Dagny is immediately presented with a hot John Galt.
Who is Hank Reardon?
John Galt picks her up. Literally. He carries her around staring into her eyes for what feels like a half hour. The sound track was Muzak. And I think was meant to inspire...romance?
Anyway, this ferociously independent woman is suddenly like a non-ambulatory five year old child.
Dagny is shown around the Gulch. Meets old friends, gets carried around a lot more and returns to the outside world.
There is some effort made to follow the major plot points of the book but it wasn't a good notion. The sex scene under the tracks sort of takes place but it's between Dagny and Galt and it's a lot less rapey than it was in the book. Lots of slow motion and fog. They do a small part of John Galt's Oration (maybe that was a good thing). There were about ten extras who I suspect were family and friends of the production company. Ultimately the whole thing is just too cheap to buy into.
I think the sad thing about this movie is, how far off mission it eventually fell. One of the biggest problems Atlas Shrugged had getting to the screen was the uncompromising stance the property's owners have had in past about not deviating from the book. They were always adamant that it would remain as completely faithful to the book as possible. Truthfully, that wasn't a good idea. The book was way too long for a faithful cinematic rendition. And eventually trains and steel as the symbols of American mega-industries went well past their sell by dates.
But finally they tried. The first two movies despite budget limitations actually stayed true to the book. And while the pace of course plodded, they weren't bad.
They should have called it at two. They'd reached the climax of the story at the end of the second one, the rest was really anticlimax. It was like Huckleberry Finn in that regard. It just went on too long and beat it's own point to death.
There is however worse news on the horizon.
Bryan Singer is making, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.