You may recall that the Atlas Shrugged project is ongoing as a trilogy of movies. Last year, Part I was released, and now Part II is having a brief run in theaters. Finances permitting, next year the conclusion will come around.
I’ve watched the development with caution. Is it possible to effectively translate this brilliant (some would apply another adjective) novel to the screen?
I’ve now viewed Atlas Shrugged Part I, and, not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. The dialogue was a bit stilted and talky, which was a challenge for actors to deliver naturally. But the key actors were up to the task; in particular, Taylor Schilling as Dagney Taggart was quite good. (Hey, Tammy, do you like her as much as Emma Peel?) And they got a good “big” feeling from the cinematography (I knew they didn’t have a lot of money to blow, but the production didn’t strike me as “cheap”.) A chill ran up my spine every time someone tossed out that “Who is John Galt?” line.
I guess I came away with a sense of good but not great.
I’ve now watched the second installment, and I’m likewise impressed. I’d say it’s better than the first.
What is interesting is the changes from Part I. A different director, all different actors, and some different writers. Which made for a different film, a different tone.
Part I was, as I said, a bit stilted and talky. Part II has more movement, more action. More meat. Heck, even chases and stuff blowing up! Good actors who bring depth to the characters, good production for the most part, although a couple of the CGI effects aren’t entirely convincing.
It starts off with an aircraft chase. Dagney Taggart is alone at the controls, in pursuit of a mystery airplane. Flying low into the mountains as her target moves in and out of sight; keeping up is difficult and dangerous. What’s going on? Who is she following, and why? We’ll find out later! In the meantime, yeah, they’ve pulled us right into the action. And then something strange happens, and alarms go off…
And then we flash back to nine months earlier, and the tale is told of how Dagney got herself into that situation.
I didn’t rush out to see this. I hadn’t been expecting much. But I liked it. Wish I’d seen it earlier; I would have posted this earlier. You’ll have to hunt to still find it in theaters.
No need to go into greater detail; the film speaks for itself. But I’ll mention a detail that caught my eye. At one point, there was a very brief interchange with a minor character, and I suddenly realized…Hey, that’s Teller! Of Penn and Teller fame! Yes, the esteemed and silent Teller, educator, philosopher, and clown, made a cameo appearance, even speaking a few words of dialogue. Wow!
See the official website at AtlasShruggedMovie.com.
A couple other movies worthy of note:
I saw Tim Burton’s Halloween film, Frankenweenie. Excellent stuff. Heartfelt, touching, inspiring, and some nostalgia. Good for both the old and (I think) the young. Some of Burton’s work leaves me cold; the characters are too flat. But this one is rich.
I also thought Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master was brilliant. But clearly not for everyone (and not for Tammy, it seems). If you’re curious, check out the extended trailer, which is a work of art in itself. If that intrigues you, then consider seeing the film.