I have to applaud the tenacity of these Objectivist types. When Atlas Shrugged - Part I completely flopped, I had assumed that this would be the last we'd see of the franchise. But in a bitter irony, the producers forewent their basic Randian tenets regarding profitability and made Part II anyway. I just had to see this literal train wreck. The most striking thing about Part II is that everyone has gone. The entire cast of the previous movie has been replaced by new actors who look nothing like the originals. I can hardly blame them for moving on, but the result is quite disconcerting. Dagny has gotten curvier, Rearden's gotten more gravelly, and the acting all around has gotten a whole lot worse. The only recognisable actors are the bald guy from CSI and Oswald from The Drew Carey Show. Splendid. As with the previous movie, exposition is heaped on to the viewer with wild abandon. In their mission to eradicate all subtext from the film, characters explain exactly what they are doing and how they feel at any given moment. Sadly, in spite of the constant info dumping, Atlas Shrugged fails to answer those basic questions that froth up in the audience's collective minds. Questions like, "Why is the government doing all of this?" and "isn't the plot just a convenient excuse to let smug industrialists blather on about how important they are?" I guess we'll never know the answers. A special mention should be made about the special effects, in that there aren't any. From time to time, the movie gets away from the endless succession of hotel interiors and studio sets, and we get to see such things as jet plane chases, exploding mines, steel mill catastrophes, and crashing railway trains, all lovingly recreated by Windows Movie Maker plug-in effects. I've seen more convincing special effects in Thunderbirds....wait a minute....hidden paradise...advanced technology...genius scientists, pilots and billionaires...middle-class white folk who refuse to share their brilliant inventions with the rest of mankind? Jeff Tracy is John Galt!
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