Atlas Shrugged II critique by LetsShrug

Posted by LetsShrug 8 years, 6 months ago to Movies
118 comments | Share | Best of... | Flag

First of all I want to send out a HUGE thank you to EVERY person involved in bringing Atlas Shrugged to the big screen, especially right now when so many need to be awakened. NOW is the time and you've nailed it! So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

I was only disappointed in one thing while watching this movie: The size of the audience. Granted it was a 10:10am showing on a weekday (Friday), but I had really hoped for a bigger bunch of producers to show up. We were there with approx 60 others.

I didn't expect the movie to begin with the flight/chase scene, and for a split second I questioned that decision, but then I realized that it sucked in the viewer, making them thirsty for answers for who, what, why, where, and when is this happening? Brilliant!

I think a great job was done to tie in the details from the previous chapter (part I). Just a few words here and there were enough for the first time viewer to catch up with the present events.

The speeches: Hank Rearden in court, and Francisco d'Anconia at James and Cherryl's wedding, were cut incredibly short, but the main points were still made.

The new cast members, although older, were well cast. Particularly Patrick Fabian (James Taggart), and Kim Rhodes (Lillian Rearden).

The “bum” on the train's character was completely changed, the snowstorm, when the train stalled, was left out, and Dagny made her way to the airport, (where she buys a plane to fly to Utah to try and catch Quentin Daniels), in a truck, rather than on foot, but again, it didn't diminish the story line.

I am left with only one question. I know this is petty, ridiculous, silly, and unimportant, but I have to ask. In the part where Dagny is at their family cabin and she's cleaning up and chucking things off the front porch she heaved/dragged a perfectly good (as far as I could tell) adirondack chair into the front yard. Why? What was wrong with that chair? Okay, okay, it was HER chair she can throw it in the junk pile if she wants to...it just bugged me a little. I know I'm just nitpicking, but I wasn't convinced that she was “cleaning” at that point. I liked that chair. :(

All in all the movie is a MUST-SEE and I will tell everybody I know to go see it and I hope it has a tremendous turn out. We need it.

Add Comment


All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by eilinel 8 years, 6 months ago
    Seconding the thank yous.

    7:30 showing in a blue area of Knoxville, TN. Theater less than 1/4 full :( , obiviously the faithful, though a good range of ages. Laughter and applause in appropriate places, and applause at the end.
    I have to admit I like the female casting in Part 1 better, but it really didn't detract from the overall effect of the movie. I found it amusing/ironic that the guy they picked for "Quentin Daniels" has made a career out of playing good-looking but stupid guys, but I thought he did a good job.
    About the chair- it could very well have had dry rot or something that wasn't obvious at a distance. Anyway, you can have the chair- I want the cabin. My own personal Gulch....
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Ob1 8 years, 6 months ago
    Just saw it tonight with my wife at AMC Monterery Park Calif, two screens had it, One was sold out, so we got into the second one. If this was the overflow from a packed screen, I'm happy. We thought Part2 exceeded our expectations; adapted to the change of cast, many were spot on. As always with a screen adaptation there will be changes, but the film had a good flow of continuity with the book nonetheless. I hope a LOT of people see it, and soon! There is much that reflects current headlines extrapolated forward. We can change the outcome for the better, if people will learn from history, and from films like this.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ brewer37 8 years, 5 months ago
    I was at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver last weekend. I slipped away on Friday and saw it around noon. It was awesome. I loved all the new actors. It was a little weird at first, but totally fun. The friend I went with asked, "Why did they get new actors?" I said, "Because they are capitalists, and they could afford it." He thought it was a good point. LOL Great Job on the movies! -Cheers
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by oilandgasman 8 years, 6 months ago
    Kudos for staying true to the book! Yet again another excellent production - but improved casting all the way around. Dagny was extremely well cast - much as I have imagined her on many reads through the book over the years. So rave reviews for Samantha Mathis. My wife - a former tv and film actress - and a tough critic - praises Ms. Mathis for her excellent work. Same for Hank Reardon (jason Beghe). His character reminds me of some of the oil patch entreprenuers I have known over the years. Got a kick out of the brief "Hannity"cut - but my guess that at this stage of the game - there would be no Fox news - only state controlled media in the Atlas Shrugged world. Nice touch, though.

    As to the Adirondack chair: I don't like them either. Pretty uncomfortable, and better suited for kindling.

    Had a pretty fair audience size (Newport Beach) for a 4:30 matinee, but I am hoping like all of you that Part II has a much bigger draw and is financially successful for the producer, especially since we do need to have a Part III.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
      Gasp! No! You don't burn the chair...you paint it white and put a nice colorful potted plant in it. ... Or a new seat cushion and face it toward the lake. :) (And that's the last time I'm mentioning the petty chair.)
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Dragonscar 8 years, 5 months ago
    I went to the first showing on opening day and, yes, sadly, the theater was almost empty. However, what WAS interesting was that there was a couple sitting behind me (whom I found somewhat annoying as they were whispering throughout). It turned out that they had neither read the book nor seen Part I, and, although a bit confused, really like the show. They had heard about it on Hannity the night before.

    The great thing was the opportunity to discuss with them the power of reading the book and seeing Part I. We talked about the premise of both the book and the Objectivist philosophy. And I believe we have some new converts.

    Now about the film, itself. On the whole it was well done. But I have a major bone to pick about certain casting.

    First, in both movies, the actors who played Francisco were simply not believable either as the scion of the multi-generational aristocratic builders and owners of a multinational mining empire nor an aristocratic, Euro trash playboy. The first one looked like a drug dealer (although he did project more personality than Esai Morales). Morales simply had no charisma, which, if there is one thing that would characterize Francisco, it is a powerful charisma that makes him impossible to ignore even when behaving like a worthless playboy.

    Even worse, the combination of a weak Francisco and very poor editing of the money speech totally wasted what was potentially a powerful moment in the film. It was simply not believable that anyone in the room would be affected in any way by that speech.

    I also disagree with LetsShrug's assessment of the casting of Lillian Reardon. Lillian in Part I was a strong, cold, and fierce woman with an elegant mask and a definite agenda when it came to Hank.

    In Part II, Lillian was a whining, bimbo whom one could not believe would EVER have attracted Hank Reardon. Since the character plays such a pivotal role in Part III, Kim Rhodes took away all of the character's power needed to play out the role and Lillian's agenda. Kim Rhodes' Lillian isn't smart enough much less vicious enough to set out to destroy anyone nor try to take alternate vengance when she is unable to destroy him.

    Jason Beghe gave a very strong performance as Hank, but I missed Taylor Schilling's exterior toughness and inner passion in Dagny. Although Samantha Mathis did a credible job of Dagny, she appears too vulnerable and soft and more likely to be manipulatable and not fully capable of taking control of what happens to her.

    I also have to agree with LetsShrug about the "cleaning" scene. Was that what she was doing? Was she throwing everything out? Or merely moving out temporarily. I don't know if the problem with this was in the screenplay or directorial weakness. There didn't seem to be any explanation for what she was doing, especially with the way she tossed out the chair. Now I am not a particular fan of Adirondak chairs, but if she was throwing out all the furniture, what was she going to sit on inside? If one has read the book, one understands what is going on, but that was certainly not played out on the screen, and, yet, here again, this is an important event in the story. But in the film it has lost its power.

    I'm sure it appears from my criticisms that I did not like the film. In fact that is not the case. I did like it; I only wished it had lived up to what I know could have been spectacularly wonderful. All the scenes I have criticized are powerfully dramatic in the book. They were not so much so in the film. But all in all, I'd rather have a film even with justifiable criticisms than no film at all. And I look forward to see what is done with Part 3!

    And, of course, it is critically important to have these films to introduce new generations to a concept usually unheard of in film - not all businessmen are corrupt and evil. And that what we have in this country is no longer the capitlism that built this great nation, but a nation of crony-capitalists, looters, and moochers who are destroying what real capitalists have built!

    Also, just maybe, these films might inspire people to read not only Atlas Shrugged, but Rand's other works, including her essays and commentaries. Not only is she a powerful writer, her ideas set standards for what it means to be a human being.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by eskslo 8 years, 1 month ago
      Your comments on schillings "dagny" are spot on. Too soft literally and emotionally. Couldn't have said it better myself. I agree with your hank comments as well.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by mbonge 8 years, 5 months ago
    Really enjoyed the movie. It was also great to see some young people at the theater as well.

    I appreciate the concerns over the chair at the cabin and it did strike me as odd, however it was blown away by my concern over the car. Fisker? Really?

    I need some help understanding why it was tauted in the credits as well. I need to understand how a Fisker fits the ideals of the book and presumably the movie. I am not a US only type, so I will not pick on the amount of animation completed in red
    China, but somebody needs to explain to me why a government mooching auto like the Fisker made it into this movie. Oh well, at least it wasn't a Government Motors.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by cdoutre 8 years, 5 months ago
      I assume that Fisker provided the car for free and possibly even paid the producers to use it in the movie. I noticed that ironic and jarring image too. In a way, the Fisker is an appropriate car for Dagny in that it's high tech. Of course that in no way excuses the fact that this car was developed with $529 million in federal loan guarantees. But wait; that loan is in trouble: http://tinyurl.com/8fym96o
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 8 years, 6 months ago
    Hello LetsShrug,

    Thank you for the excellent review. I enjoyed the movie Saturday night with a small party I brought with me. As is the case with every movie made from a novel I have read, I recognize the sacrifices that must be made for a screen play, and in this case the adaptation was as well as could be expected. The theatre was almost full. The crowd made rather primitive snarls at the dialog “…Capitalism doesn’t work without government…” My friends enjoyed the movie, and like last time tried to extract answers from me about what happens next. I again repeated, “read the book, or wait till the next installment.” They are not sated. I fear the cliff hanger endings might cost me some friends if A is A doesn’t come out soon! LOL

    So now I am impatiently waiting for the DVD release date and the premier of the final movie!

    I know that this may be a bit pre-mature, but I must ask, when is the estimated release date for DVD sales and is there a preliminary estimate for the premier of the final movie? I can’t think of a more disappointing possibility than failing to make the final movie! I must have it!

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Mark32 8 years, 6 months ago
    Just went to see the movie. I would like to thank the makers of this movie for putting this great book on the big screen. Like others, I too miss the original cast. I particularly thought the new Eddie was miscast. You don't get the feeling he and Dagny were childhood friends. Also, it is funny. I too thought it was weird that Dagny was throwing all this furniture into the front yard. Glad I wasn't the only one. It will be interesting who the actor is that plays John Galt. Those are big shoes to fill.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
      Eddie was "miscast" in the first one too :( (And I don't think their childhood friendship is ever mentioned). I'm glad I'm not the only one noticing the furniture. As for the big shoes to fill in the next chapter...Who is John Galt?
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by mccannon01 8 years, 6 months ago
    I just finished seeing AS2 and enjoyed it, for sure. Nice review, LetsShrug. I also cringed when Dagny tossed the adirondack chair off the porch, but as mentioned by DFish below, a later scene cameoed the chair set up overlooking the lake. I like those chairs because when they are constructed properly they can be very comfortable. Several decades ago I spent many hours in one of those chairs at a cottage overlooking the Raquette River in the Adirondacks reading "Atlas Shrugged".
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by DFish 8 years, 6 months ago
    That's funny that you noticed the adirondack chair. I too noticed it when she was tossing it off the front porch. However, when you watch the movie again pay close attention to the scene when Frisco visits Dagny after the train crash scene. The chair is setup nicely overlooking the lake in the front yard complete with an added chair cushion.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 8 years, 6 months ago
      Thanks! I will make sure I notice next time...right at that point (when Frisco showed up) the person next to me asked, "Hey, didn't he play the drunk brother in LaBamba?" so I'm blaming that for not noticing the chair. I feel better knowing she used it in the yard tho. :) Also, there's a part (maybe the same scene even) where Frisco calls her Slug and she says something like "you haven't called me that in years", but he called her that in part I when she was asking to borrow money to build the John Galt Line. (I think).
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by overmanwarrior 8 years, 6 months ago
      Great review. The review I'm preparing will go in a different direction because I have some very intense thoughts after coming out of the movie. My theater was crowded, and there was another group ready to go in, but I went to see it at night. I feel all the things for the most part talked about in this review, but I have some thoughts that haven't quite settled down yet. Good thoughts!
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by bschnzl 8 years, 4 months ago
    I was disappointed when ASII left it's last theater in VA two weeks ago. I had wanted to go to a theater to see it, as the last movie I saw in a theater was ASI. It is now making the Discount rounds. We went to the first showing of the day, and there were six other folks in the theater. One of them had obviously read the book, but I kind of assumed that at least one of the others would have.

    One thing that got me was the office in New York having instaneous information on the "smoker". There was no passing of responsibility down to the lowest of the low. But then, how does one show cluelessness in the time allotted for that scene. At least the "vacation" was mentioned. AND... the phones always worked! Even in the book there was phone trouble!

    The speeches were another disappointment to me. Until I realized that 'sisco's speech is a full 18 minutes, and the trial would have been 10. Still, the Fountainhead kept Roark's speech more in the forefront. Another side item; I just watched "The Men who built America" on the history channel. The parallels between John D. Rockefeller and Rearden are striking! Not that I trust the history channel all that much...

    I originally did not like changing the cast. If Harry Potter could keep 'em... I thought Mathis an even trade for Schilling, with different strengths. But I did like Jason Beghe and Richard T. Jones. Eddie is way out of the book, to the point of losing the story line. I wish Robert Picardo would have been Dr. Robert Stadler all along. The story line carried though.

    All in all, the movie was great. The flight scene was a nice bonus. John's plane was really cool. I was thinking "Hey, don't throw that chair out" too. Thanks to "THE STRIKE" PRODUCTIONS for their efforts and commitment to this project!
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by egsvoboda 8 years, 5 months ago
    Although I was worried about change in characters, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised. Love them! Going to see Atlas Shrugged II for the third time tomorrow night. Trying to get the word out, but liberals just roll their eyes. Their loss!
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Vegasrenie 8 years, 5 months ago
    JOHN GALT'S AIRPLANE!! I want one! (never mind that I hate flying. It's just so very cool)

    Critiques of the movie:

    The ONE PART of each speech that I wanted to hear and wasn't there:

    Francisco: the part about if you see producers having ask permission from those who produce nothing...
    Rearden: I will not apologize for my wealth, etc.
    Didn't "get" Dagny throwing everything out, and she wasn't upset enough when she ran back to TT
    Wedding - Cheryl needed a veil, and there was no screaming exit of the guests
    Can't decide which James Taggart I like (hate) more in each movie. The one in Part 1 was a smarmy weasel. The Part 2 James was a smarmy weasel. But taller. :-)
    Liked Michael Lerner better as Wesley Mouch. Although this guy looks the part.
    Also liked Pt 1's Eddie better.

    What I liked and what had to "massaged" for the movie:
    The tunnel crash. The kid was great.
    Jeff Allen - perfect setup with the truck
    Also liked the fact that Dagny took the truck and had to fill it with gas. Yikes!
    Liked this Dagny much, much better. More natural acting, looked more like a serious businesswoman.
    A better Francisco would have been Eduardo Verastegui (sp?). Just a matter of personal taste, because Esai Morales was great.

    Can't wait for Part III so that I can get the complete DVD set with deleted scenes and all. Just sayin'.

    All in all,

    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by TexasLadyJuanita 8 years, 5 months ago
    I had the same thought about the Adirondack chair. I wish part I had the part II actors. The guy playing Frisco wasn't elegant enough. Frisco would be elegant even on a slippery surface chucking clay into a fire. For those of us who read Atlas the first time 40 years ago (only novel I have read more than once) we have had characters firmly in our head for a long time. When I read it in '70 I had a young Ricardo Montalban in the movie in my head as Frisco. Probably because of The Fountainhead, Gary Cooper has always been Hank.. An older Gable is Midas. Of course I was Dagny. Interestingly Galt was always someone I had never met or seen - total imagination for me. We saw the movie on the opening day in the afternoon. Sadly there were not very many in the theater. I live in a suburb city outside Houston. I am sure most were at work. My husband and I are retired, and so was everyone else in the theater.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Liz4x5 8 years, 5 months ago
    I saw that Adirondack Chair and thought the same thing. After seeing part II, I went on Netflixs and watch part ! again. I really am enjoying seeing Ayn Rand philosophy come alive. I have read almost everything she has written. Just love the movie.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 8 years, 5 months ago
      And when I wrote this I was a little scared I'd be the only one who noticed the chair. (I think you're the 6th so far who noticed too....at least on this page). So glad I'm not alone in my strange observances. :)
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by 8 years, 5 months ago
    Oh Holy Cats! This post made it in the "Hot in the Gulch" segment of the Atlas II Behind the Scenes Email???? Bahahahahaha! Gotta love the Gulch :)
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ Temlakos 8 years, 5 months ago
    I enjoyed the show, too. Anyone who didn't read the book, will find a fast-paced thriller with a lot of homages to today's politics. Like Hannity and Beckel (who portrayed themselves exactly according to the types they have long established). And the protester who carves a tombstone for America in a discarded varnished bookshelf.

    But why does Ragnar Danneskjöld rate *no* mention? Nor Project X?

    And: Eddie Willers is a completely different person. What do you suppose the producers will do with him in Part 3?
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by editedforbias 8 years, 5 months ago
      Agree on Ragnar Danneskjöld, I think a few simple hooks would have teased the connections a bit. One the mention of three students that might be able to help with the engine...but now one is a pirate, one a playboy and one has disappeared and his name is used to mean despair and nothingness. Could have worked it into Prof Pharis b4 Quentin. And again when Fransisco stages the accidents, he could have mentioned an attack at sea and then show the pirate attack and sinking (or confiscation) of his ship, flashing newspaper headlines with the name for the uninformed.

      I think the introduction of Project X would have been confusing without full context. I think it will fit well on it's own as the next phase.

      I still missed the newspaper salesmen and the "hustle and bustle replaced by fear". I actually loved the replacement of the stow-away as the engineer with the hat (I need to get that hat, he says wearing the ASII hat). Loved his linkage to Fransisco previous and Dagney's puzzled yet forming reaction.

      It is tough to create all the linkages and drop the hints without the written word. This connection to Galt was well done but I missed Ragnar....DVD edition:)

      Ready for III, right now. Shrugged Marathon time in 2014. Required attendance for looters to receive govt assistance...(too far?)
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Sallyb 8 years, 5 months ago
    I enjoyed the movie as well. Went to a late Friday night show and only had a few dozen people there:< I was the only one in a Galt's Gulch tee shirt$ Love Beghe as Hank Reardon and thought his shortened speech was very good. I think the new Dagny is a more correct age, but she didn't come off as confident as I imagined due to several times when she looked almost scared. I also didn't get her throwing out the chair at the cabin. I know she used the physical labor at the cabin as her only way to be productive, which showed how the government was hobbling all the producers. I don't think the pain that limiting herself to gardening caused her was portrayed very well. She just looked angry.

    Thought the flying scenes were nifty, a la Top Gun. Can't wait to see how Galt is portrayed. His voice seems much more gravelly than I imagined. I'm really looking forward to part 3, since that's where all the good stuff happens!
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  


  • Comment hidden. Undo