75. The Day the Earth Stood Still(2008): B
76. Looper: A-
77. Smart People: C-
78. Atlas Shrugged-Part One: B
79. Dredd: A-
Both films involve a take on a dystopian world, both were good in their own hyper-stylized take on various themes.
I've never read Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged
. I picked it up, tried but the sheer scope and page count would end up deterring me eventually. I also felt the narrative in the book drug on tediously the times I've tried.
I'm going to place my write up in Spoiler Code even though it's over a year(plus it'll save some space in the thread) old but Part II opens this weekend which is part of what prompted me to view this.
I found the first 1/3 of the film to move a bit slower than I'd like. The establishing of characters, their motives, the world they inhabit and attitudes of all involved. The world has fallen into a fight for limited resources. Oil being that resource. The Middle East has cut off ties to the Western World and corporations have begun drilling more. You'd think the book was written in the last few years, a brief news snipet shows how wells have busted and are leaking into the Gulf of Mexico only further raising the price of a gallon of gas---which is $35 a gallon!! Or thirty more than it is in California right now. Rail travel has once again become the main travel and shipping method. However, rail lines haven't been kept up and the recent years of extra use have taken their toll. One main line out of Colorado has collapsed and needs to be repaired. Various government and competitors to that line conspire together to keep them down.
The government is seen as being an oppressive, over regulating, over reaching one that has done more to hinder than help the population. They sell their regulations as helping to balance things out for all. Taggart Transcontiental is that railway that needs to be rebuilt but is falling apart fiscally itself. If it can't get up and running soon it's biggest client Rearden Steel will pull out. Rearden also happens to own it's own Ore plant, Manufacturing, Textiles and others so it has the capital it needs. Rearden has a new type of steel that is proven better than ever. However, the government fears Rearden expanding it's monopoly and sets about sabotaging reports of its reliability, ergo no one is eager to use it.
Rearden and Taggart, while normally a customer/client, now need each other. They(Dagby Taggart) need affordable steel to rebuild the track, he needs a positive PR his steel is reliable. They strike a deal and build the railroad. Meanwhile the Government passes new laws saying no one company can own more than one operation. Hoping to slow Rearden down by making him choose between keeping the Ore mines or the steel smelting plant. This part was basically foreshadowing back in the day of how the government broke up AT&T actually.
The undercurrent of the film is a third party man named John Gault. Fearing the government is going to squelch and oppress the talented and entrepreneurial he is ferreting away the best and brightest to a place he calls "Atlantis".
The film ends with a succesful run of the Transcontinental Railway reopened but Rearden and Taggart lost one of their own to John Gault. Who they haven't yet determined is friend or foe but they know they are losing brilliant men to him.
Oh, also there is essentially a plot involving a new power source that creates energy from atmospheric discharge(think 'engine that runs on water'). It was an urban myth of industry allegedly created by 20th Century Motors Corp. Rearden and Taggart are trying to uncover the fact/fiction on that as well.
Despite the movie starting a little slow I was engaged and curious about where the film was going after the first act set up was over.
Now, for part II which opens Oct 12 they had to recast every role. I looked that up on IMDB. Too bad since I was liking this cast.
I have a more thorough review in the Dredd thread here
. Suffice to say I'm of the opinion this film was not given a fair shake by the moviegoing public. If you like gritty, action, shoot 'em up films you should see this film. The surprising bit of heart the film has is a bonus.