You know how you can’t tell Scientologists that Battlefield Earth was a bad movie, no matter how much self-evident proof you have, no matter how many cringe worthy scenes you could show, no matter that we supposedly all live in reality…why because it is a book by their blessed prophet and nothing even remotely tied to the holy one could possibly be bad. That’s kind of what’s it’s like to debate the quality of this movie with an devout Objectivist (1) because devout Objectivists are only outdone in their blind unthinking devotion to the one true prophet Ayn by the Religion of Peace and Westboro and (2) because it’s a tough call to say which is worse Battlefield Earth or Atlas Shrugged III…either way there is no way you should ever inflict this terrible movie on yourself.
Don’t go see it. I am giving this film a zero out of 5 (I’d give it less, but I’m not sure how to represent negative magnifying glasses).
Okay, let’s talk about what makes this movie an abomination to film. First off, I’ll admit I have a complicated relationship with Atlas Shrugged. I view Ayn Rand as the Dr. Seuss of philosophy…it lays down the basics you need to learn first, it is right in the general broad strokes, and it is an excellent place to start, BUT, if compared to anything that is for, oh I don’t know, adults, it comes off as very lacking and it is never the place to stop (just like Dr. Seuss). Ayn Rand is very quotable, Ayn Rand is correct in most of the general ideas, but Ayn Rand is also a poor writer, a poor philosopher when you get into the details, and got significantly crazier as she got older. That said I actually like the book Atlas Shrugged. It has it’s flaws, but it has it’s virtues and, again, the general ideas are pointed in the right direction; even if there are flaws with the details I do believe it’s a good introduction to the ideals of liberty and individualism and can at least get people asking the right questions.
However, while all three movies have been flawed, this one seemed to want to take all of Ayn Rand’s flaws as a writer (emotionless forced dialogue, showing not telling, poor pacing, non-typical human reactions to situations, a poor understanding of the details of economics and philosophy) and doesn’t try to smooth over them, as the first part of Atlas tried to do, but rather embraced these flaws and highlighted them…to the complete exclusion of the any virtues. The film was forced through with awkward documentary style narration and random snippets of philosophical dialogue. And if you want anything called character development, may I suggest you go somewhere else…I hear Fifty Shades is being made into a movie. That should have more character development than what I saw here. None of these characters have any motivation whatsoever; they just kind of do and say random things. If you have not read the book multiple time you will have no clue what is going on here…and if you have read the book multiple time you will be disgusted by this farce of a movie.
For those who have read the book here are a few problems. Hank Reardon doesn’t appear in the movie, until he magically appears in the jailbreak at the end (no really, you see only three people go into the building, but magically non-Hank is there as a fourth when they reach John). Cheryl is shoehorned in to the two most random and unexplained flashback scenes (and if you don’t remember these scenes from the book they make no sense). Ragnar is reduced to three random lines of dialogue. The Dagny/Galt sex scene in the book might have been a little random, but here it just becomes downright preposterous. James’ breakdown happens…but for no particular reason in the movie. Also there is a near-death experience for Galt when he’s being tortured…I may not agree with atheists like Rand, but I don’t think such a thing should have been forced in no particular reason either. And if you’re going to hear the speech, you’ll be disappointed.
But it’s not just the lack of respect for the book. The acting was horrible, the directing was inept (including the most bizarre slow motion line of dialogue I have ever seen), the special effect made me yearn for the high quality of an Ed Wood movie, all the bizarrely long scenery shots from the first movie are back, I’m convinced the editing (both script and film) was done by a meth addict, and I just couldn’t care.
And what’s worst is that there are Objectivists out there who so blindly follow Rand without thinking they will tell you to see this movie.
Do not see this movie. If you have bought the previous DVD’s throw them away. Read the book, but just forget this movie even exists.