Atlas Shrugged Part II

October 12, 2012

I’m really writing this for a group of specific people.  Some comparisons:
Writing in first movie > writing in this movie.  I have no idea why the exposition in this one was so clunky when the exposition in the first was so good, or why the people didn’t speak like people talk.  That said, there were some good moments.

Taylor Schilling >>>>>> Samantha Mathis.  She’s not BAD.  She just wasn’t great.  It didn’t need to be Taylor Schilling, but I got ridiculously distracted by New Dagny’s neck/chin waddle.  She needed a neck lift.  She looked a bit like Caroline Rhea, too.  Ew.  Her hair was odd and while she had a nice figure, she didn’t wear clothes as nicely as Old Dagny.  Her acting was fine but she just looked sort of mushy or blurry.  Not sharp like Old Dagny.  Meh.  She was my biggest problem with this edition.

Also, you’ll notice, since they cast an older Dagny, they aged up the rest of the cast around her.  Hank, Jim, Eddie, Francisco, Lillian= all older.

Old Lillian > New Lillian.  Why did we suddenly have Young Angelica Houston who substituted Having Bangs for acting?  Loved the old one.

Old Hank = New Hank.  I hardly noticed a difference.

Old Jim = New Jim.  They took the role in different directions but were both pretty enjoyable.  New Jim went with smarmy instead of freaky.  Worked fine.  Both better looking than Jim should be but worked it.

Old Eddie > New Eddie.  New Eddie was very good-looking and smooth, and quite nicely built.  Problem is that Eddie’s not supposed to be any of these things.  Don’t get me wrong, New Eddie was kind of hot.

New Francisco > Old Fransisco.  Esai Morales, aka Joseph Adama, was awesome.  Loved him.  Way more interesting than the last one.  Also, did you know he does the voice of Dora’s Papi?

New Stadler > Old Stadler.  Please state the nature of your medical emergency.

New Mouch > Old Mouch.  Dr. Romano from ER.  No one plays weasely quite like him.  Last time I re-read the book, I noticed that if you follow him through the book, he sort of becomes a subplot all on his own.

Two moments where Sean and I looked at one another and said, “Was that…?” were the doorman who spoke to Dagny early on and one of the guys in the Taggart boardroom.  The part that threw both of us was that the doorman SPOKE and then you saw his face.  I’ll tell you that the guy in the boardroom was the dad from Family Ties, since that’s not particularly important (just weird), but I won’t say who the doorman was, because it was an Actual Surprise Cameo.

Quentin Daniels= two thumbs up.  I liked him more in the movie than in the book, where he didn’t kill me with a ton of personality.  Diedrich Bader was a perfect balance of nerdy and cute.

Brief glimpse of Original Recipe Ellis Wyatt in a still shot= made me happy.  Hope they bring him back.  His brother was there, along with Hannity.

Cherryl looked familiar and I was surprised to find out she was, since I didn’t remember who was playing her.  That part in the book is sort of very old-fashioned and they downsized that plot and brought her up to date and it was fine, I suppose, for the 60 seconds they spent on it.  I felt like her confrontation with Dagny at the wedding could have been better.
They combined a couple parts to make the Wet Nurse and I liked him.

Gwen Ives was just pretty.

Mitchum from the book got a real part and a personality and a good actor!  The whole sequence at the tunnel was really well done.  They had to cut it way short from what they had in the book and modernize it communication-wise (since a lot of what happened in the book, happened because people couldn’t get ahold of people, and now we have cell phones), and they did a great job and threw in an annoying Kip Chalmers as a bonus.

Motor in hidden vault= cool.

Taggart dispatch/control center= cool.

Leak at steel plant= cool.

Cutting down the Hank/Lillian plotline= not cool.  I like that plotline.

Hank’s trial= cool.  In general, all long speeches/conversations (Hank at the trial, Fransisco at the wedding, Fransisco/Hank) were well cut down.

Utah Institute of Technology= cool.  (“DON’T TAKE”= hysterical.)

Dagny’s cabin= just right.

Gas prices= well-shown.

The sequence with Ken Danagger hugging Dagny and walking out= cool.  And extra-true to the book.

President Head of State= Fine, but I was sort of hoping they’d go in a different direction with him to reflect current government.

The whole sequence from Dagny waking up on the stopped train through the plane crash= disappointing.  That whole thing should have been much more surreal and in the middle of the night, including a weirder Jeff Allen, the missing crew, Owen Kellogg, a long walk down the track, smoking, yelling at random people on the phone and picking up a plane in the middle of nowhere.  Needed to be more buildup to the plane chase.

The ending= Meh.  I’d have ended it with the plane going down.  And the last line was really awkwardly said.

I still feel like they missed such a good exposition/plot opportunity to have long shots of Eddie sitting in the cafeteria talking to the camera about what was going on like he was talking to someone he knew.

They also missed the opportunity to end the movie with Dagny’s name and the date going across the screen.

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