With a face like Polaha’s that’s so-o-o right, here’s Everything (else) that’s Wrong with Atlas Shrugged Part III (that I can remember)
Well, the long wait is over and nothing I could say in this obituary could “spoil” a film more than AS-III’s producers and screenplay writers have already. Part III is merely their crowning quote achievement. (After hoping against hope that this Part would clear the rock-bottom bar set by Part II, I’m feeling so cynical I could actually believe this film was Designed to Fail.)
1) The enemies of Liberty and of Ayn Rand (and therefore of her ability to dramatize Mankind’s most important of struggles) sleep peacefully tonight with the release of this flickering disgrace called a film.
2) Made for the Choir ONLY and barely so. At points even the Libertarian/Anarcho-capitalist choir may want to plug their ears. Please, please, please do NOT take anyone unfamiliar with Ayn Rand’s literary fight for Ideals (especially the necessity for Human Freedom) nor those to whom the concept of taxation equaling State-aggression will draw blank stares. If they are unfamiliar with “universally preferable behaviors” in general and that foundational and omnipresent State breaching of the Non-Aggression principle, specifically, they will leave the theater more confused than when they entered.
3) If you hated Part I or Part II…save your hard-earned fiat currency. Wait a few weeks 😉 and see it on Netflix. Then you’ll be able to fast-forward through all the awkward moments and more we were forced to sit through.
4) Dear “Casting Directors:” a) Atlas Shrugged is not a comedy, which according to your resumes is what it appears you two ladies “do” best (Lisa and Sarah always seem to work together; could it be that this time the tag-team took a dive on purpose?); b) “Dagny” and “Francisco” were lovers once-upon-a-time, yet considering the obvious age differences of the current actors, this Dagny would have had to have been super-jailbait back then (did you ever actually stand them next to one another? Serious squeamish-factor); c) at least you picked a Dagny and a Galt who were easy on the eyes MOST OF THE TIME…but why oh why did you cast OUR HERO John Galt with that actor, knowing how he’d be built up in our eyes the first hour only then to be visually exposed as a physically-flabby-fraud as he’s dashed on the rocks in that torture scene at the end?
I could have forgiven much about AS-III but for that cinema-sin. ALL y’all (from producer, writer, casting director, etc.) purposefully made Galt hunk-ish in the beginning in that leather jacket of his; carrying Dagny from the plane wreck like she weighed “0”; gallant in his RayBan’s as he slid into the pilot’s seat of that old school twin-prop Airstream-with-wings; hotter than a pistol with Dagny in the dim underground of the railroad’s tunnels…Couldn’t you, you casting-duo, have picked someone with at least A PAIR of abs? Or told the director you only chose what’s his name because he had the potential to GROW some? Didn’t you try desperately, shouting out and causing a scene on-set, for the actor to put-on-a-torn-up-T-shirt, for god’s sake, and cover that dough-boy midsection of his? Gahhh!
No. Of course not. I believe you two wanted John Galt, the best, the most beautiful masculine image in “Atlas Shrugged” to blow-up with a nuclear intensity (and I’d contend this man, Kristoffer Polaha, is the only male actor in all three parts whose FACE onscreen approached an Ideal).
Whew! Now to the less important stuff.
5) Overuse of heroic music: at the start nothing had happened yet which might have warranted such music, other than Dagny crashing her plane, yet as Galt takes her to his truck; drives to his house among the towering trees, then carries her into it we are swept by overly loud strains meant to make it all so much more dramatic. Oh…and the Artists in Shangri-la? The composer, the award-winning actress? Hell, we didn’t even get to hear Haley’s music much less meet the woman after being told at a dinner party in essence, Yes that’s her over there.
6) Overuse of forest-bordered roadways: we understood early on the “virgin forest” type of Shangri-la the gulch was set in, so did we really need to see Galt’s truck winding along the road multiple times? No. And why not make the “centerline” something other than Old-World yellow? Why not Galt’s Gulch Green?
7) Colorado license plates: why hadn’t Galt spray-painted or removed the Old World’s oppressive and anti-Liberty permission-plates from his vehicle? There was no driving back to Colorado (according to the novel I believe the pass in/out had been purposefully blocked by setting off a sufficient rockfall).
8) Guns. Training, tactics, effects: Dagny seemed ill-equipped to lead the four [Dagny, Francisco, Ragnar, and Rearden (only maybe 1 minute screen time)] who came to Galt’s rescue at the (virtually unguarded) State Science Institute; all of them seemed uncomfortable in the “footwork” and in handling the weaponry save for Ragnar. Realistically, only Ragnar the pirate would have had such experience, the other two I would have expected to be total amateurs as we had been given no reason to believe guns/team-tactics were in their experience. Dagny’s threatening to shoot the (lone!) guard was portrayed especially foolishly, as she: stood barely an arm’s length away; a warning count to three and he failed to so as she demanded; she clearly changes her aim down and to her left then she shoots him (in the book it’s straight in the heart). He crumpled as if instantaneously unconscious from the arm (or leg) wound!
9) The End. No…Just the beginning: no, really…I’m about done and it really said that bold phrase onscreen at the End, just like that. Trust me, I actually breathed a sigh of relief. The closing scene of the film had been in the rescue helicopter with Dagny & Galt all lovey-dovey. She tells him she’s his “forever” or something equally as syrupy. (Gag! And cue Ayn Rand to roll-over in her grave even faster.)
So now off our heroes all go to Shangri-la, I mean Galt’s Gulch, a.k.a. Atlantis. They are shown flying behind the still-lit Statue of Liberty when suddenly we see the lights of NYC going dark in big multi-blocks. How many times they’ll need to land and re-fuel a helicopter on the way to Colorado is above my pay grade.
10) If you are a fan of Ayn Rand and HER “Atlas Shrugged,” please make Part III way above your pay grade. (Boy oh boy, here’s hoping my long wait for Denzel Washington’s “Equalizer” makes up for today’s film fiasco.)