I made the mistake of actually watching the Atlas Shrugged film trilogy (I’m pretty sure they’re still available on Youtube). I honestly have no idea why: maybe the notion of seeing an abysmally-bad “philosophical novel” turned into an unforgivably bad “epic trilogy” elicited morbid curiosity, I honestly don’t know.
What I do Know is: Ayn Rand was a horrible novelist — but whoever was behind these godawful cinematic travesties is infinitely worse.
Really: Battlefield Earth was a far better film than Atlas Shrugged. Then again, The same can be said for the respective novels.
(Which is not to say that L. Ron Hubbard’s novel/the movie version of same were actually good — just that both manage to be somewhat less egregiously bad than Rand’s shitty schlock — in ANY form.
The truly horrifying thing about the “Shrugged” trilogy is: Leonard Peikoff had to OK the movies to be produced int he first place. This wasn’t some “fan-film” situation. That’s the horrible part: there is literally no way to make any of Ayn Rand’s novels “good” — not even with Patricia Neal and Gary cooper. Although admittedly, THAT was at least half-way watchable.
Horribly enough, until I saw the “Shrugged” trilogy, I thought the 2002 movie “Teenage Caveman” was the worst thing I had ever watched:
I was wrong. Teenage Caveman is a work of transcendent cinematic grandeur as compared to the “Shrugged” trilogy.
The actors can’t act. The dialog is awful. Even if you had competent actors/a competent screenplay, you would still be producing Atlas Shrugged. “Snuff porn” for yuppie scum is….unappealing.