You may recall that Judge Alex Kozinski made a memorable cameo in Atlas Shrugged Part II. He played the role of a Judge (fitting), but had no lines. His honor got another casting in the sequel.
Last night I saw the third film in the Ayn Rand trilogy, “Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt.” Following the John Galt speech (thankfully shortened to about 5 minutes), a visual appears on the screen with many different people saying, “We Want John Galt!” If you keep your eyes peeled, one of the faces in the lower-right hand corner is Judge Kozinski. He says, quite passionately, “We Want John Galt!” (Update: Actually, AK said “I am John Galt.” This seems to be the same video he recorded in 2011, and submitted to the film). At the end, you will see his name in the credits, though he is not showing up on IMDB.
Also, I saw a number of liberty-movement related extras in movie, including Alex McCobin (President of SFL), who wore a 20th Century Motor Company Hat as John Galt left the company. Plus, there were cameos from Ron Paul, Sean Hannity (substitute “Obama” for “Thompson”), Glenn Beck, Matt Kibbe (who also screamed “We Want John Galt!”).
Now, those were pretty much the highlights of the movie. I write this as a fan of Ayn Rand, and someone who drove around with a John Galt license plate for three years (I only stopped, because fittingly, Texas charged too much for state-managed vanity plates).
The movie was terrible. It was really bad. The first installment in 2011 was tolerable, but the acting was really poor and the production value was low. The second film was a slightly improvement, even though the production value dropped further. The final film was atrocious. I got the sense that the producers thought, well, we’ve come this far, we need to make this movie just because we can’t let the movie go unfinished. And it showed. Two words for economists–sunk costs.
The directors made very little effort to explain what happened in the previous two movies. If you didn’t read the books, it would have made absolutely no sense. Though I suspect that the overwhelming majority of people who saw it were already familiar with the book. The acting was so, so flat. The third actress portraying Dagny was the worst of the lot. When she said the “I swear…” line, I wondered if she was even awake. The most passion I saw was from the EZ Rider himself. The Dagny-Galt “Love” scene was so tepid, and didn’t even allude to the romantic complexities in the book. And they totally eliminated the character of Hank Rearden. You only hear his voice briefly off camera. And this casting of Francisco was so, so bad.
Further, even for a Rand movie, it was way too didactic. Rand was very forceful in explaining her ideology (the book was 1,200 pages long), but she used her story to drill the message home. Here, the story was so slow paced, so the lessons were explained in these one-sided soliloquies by Galt and others. There’s the Doctor who says he could have manufactured a cool device, but for red tap. Or the mother who insists on home-schooling her kids. Etc. It felt like propaganda, and again, I had a John Galt license plate!
I’m glad the trilogy is over. And I hope they leave the Fountainhead where it is.