Tuesday, March 13, 2012
So, I finally watched part 1 of the film version of Atlas Shrugged (some links to previous coverage here), as it has made its way to Netflix streaming.
I wouldn't call it a fiasco. It's more a D than an F. (Let's be clear: It's no After Last Season. But because I've seen things like ALS, what constitutes an F for me may not be the same for you.) The biggest problem is that it's just so ham-handed about EVERYTHING. All the villains might as well be twirling their handlebar mustaches. And the heroes are, of course, ridiculously good--or rather, the movie sees them as ridiculously good, even though someone like, say, me might have a different opinion when the characters say things along the lines of "What's with all the altruism? It's so stupid!"
The film's viewpoint is so black/white, good/evil, that the script seemed to be written by a precocious high school student who thinks he's figured out everything, and everyone else is stupid, stupid, stupid for not letting him sit at their lunchroom table.
The acting is either flat (the heroes) or overwrought (the villains). Visually, it looks more like a TV movie than a feature. There's unconvincing CGI in many shots, and crowd scenes are underpopulated. There are also some weird choices made. We're told that gas prices are through the roof and everyone's taking the train, yet our heroes drive all over the country, despite the fact that one of them owns a train company. And why consistently shroud the John Galt character in shadows, as if finally shining a light on him will be some sort of surprise reveal? It won't--we haven't otherwise seen the actor playing him. (I assume he'll be seen in the sequels, which the producers swear will happen--perhaps in musical form!--despite the poor returns of part 1.)
So, in short: I didn't fall asleep or laugh at it. Neither am I now a Galtian. It's mostly just dull and exasperatingly wrong-headed.
UPDATE: You know, I'd actually prefer to see a version of Atlas Shrugged done in the style of After Last Season. All the problems with the story would make more sense. Or, I guess, "sense."