Trilogy Review- Atlas Shrugged- Spoiler Alerts

01 Atlas Shrugged trilogy

Now, I don’t normally do this, but every single film had an entirely different cast, so I’m not going to list them, because that would be too exhaustive. I also don’t usually include spoilers, but since the trilogy is based on a single novel, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, I don’t see another way around it. Here we go.

Somewhere deep in the not-so-distant future, America is no longer a republic, but ruled by a tyrant president and a single Legislative body. The USA is in a deep depression with fuel prices skyrocketing so much, planes and automobiles are an impossibility. The high seas are in danger too from pirates who steal from government cargo. As a result, trains and locomotives are the only financially viable means of transportation.

They’re riots and chaos, and yet Taggart Transcontinental railroads, led by COO Dagney Taggart and Rearden Steel led by CEO and owner Henry “Hank” Rearden seem to be doing okay.

However, both Dagney and Hank take notice that some of the world’s leading captains of industry, scientists, and even artisans are vanishing. When asked why, there is only the question, “Who is John Galt?” An expression meaning basically “How high is the sky?”

Dagney and Hank both have personal problems. Hank’s wife is a selfish woman whose family leeches off of Hank. Dagney’s brother claims credit for all of her successes, such as building the John Galt Line with Rearden’s synthetic metal. It is claimed to be stronger than steel, but lighter.

As more of their friends vanish, Hank and Dagney stumble upon an engine made by 2oth Century Motors. It utilizes the natural electricity of the Earth to create renewable and clean energy. As they search, the claws of the tyrannical government slowly grip both Taggart Transcontinental and Rearden Steel.

The plot thickens when the two of them fall in love and their companies soon become the victims of a vast conspiracy.

The first film, Atlas Shrugged Part 1, felt like Junior High. Directed by Paul Johansson the crew was getting to know one another and they were trying to put together a great film. It was a good film, but not great. It was well acted, but not so well put together. Transitions were rough and some of the subplots fell flat.

The second film, Atlas Shrugged Part 2: The Strike, felt like High School. Directed by John Putch, it had the best cast of the three. They all had the best chemistry and the film was the best put together. Not a great film, but a very good film where the producers and director worked the hardest to give the audience a clear story.

The third film, Atlas Shrugged Part 3: Who Is John Galt, directed by J. James Manera felt like Junior College. While it had good acting and a g plot, the story felt rushed to be done. It was interlaced with narration meant to fill in the holes from the first two, but it only succeeded in confusion. Also, Hank Rearden was an after thought in this film. He just sort of vanishes explained as he was joining the Strike from the second film. The actor who played the titular John Galt, while a good actor, was kind of a let down. From the first two I was expecting a great lead with an epic voice, but John Galt was just kind of ordinary.

That being said, don’t believe the critics who say that these are the worst films since Plan 9 From Outer Space. These are indie films and indie films always have flaws. I’ve seen far worse films with a bigger budget and better studio backing. (Avatar comes to mind.) Check it out, you might learn something.


“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?”

“I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Language, minor sexual themes, violence

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