This second half of an ambitious adaptation of Ayn Rand's beloved novel is unfortunately as bad as you've heard....
Fox / 112 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: February 19, 2013
It’s important to dislike Atlas Shrugged: Part II for the right reasons. Ayn Rand’s novel – while not quite as perfectly crystalline as The Fountainhead – is a magnificent piece of narrative infused with jagged political and personal philosophies: it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (what novel is?), but if you found a glimmer of truth in her long tale, the results were illuminating.
But as the second half of a two-film conquest, Atlas Shrugged: Part II isn’t just misguided or bland – it’s really a pretty terrible piece of filmmaking. If you can look past the shrapnel of limp dialogue, underwhelming special effects, and an overall pace that seems always out of step, you can catch an occasional sighting of Rand’s iconic bulletpoint concepts, but director John Putch really makes that hard to do.
Atlas Shrugged: Part II doesn’t polarize in a Fox News vs. liberal media kind of way , though Sean Hannity is given some ample screen time. To be honest, I wish it tried more to do so: there is a fascinating correlation between modern conservatism and Rand’s original concepts that would make for astounding dramatic discussion. But Putch and his creative team never let these concepts infuse their cinematic story at large – they’re addressed, I guess, but not fully flushed out.
Even viewers in absolute accordance with the political backdrop of Atlas Shrugged: Part II will have a hard time defending the film in any convincing way. The fact that filmmakers aimed to tackle the doorstop of a novel in two parts is laudable, of course, but as this second volume sputters to a close, viewers are posed with the inevitable question: so what? Even if you rejected her basic theses, Rand’s novel was nevertheless a major piece of writing; this filmed adaptation is just a bad movie.