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Atlas Shrugged Part II / Rated PG-13 for language, sex, and the evil of self perpetuating bureaucracies.

Part II doesn’t pick up where Part 1 left off April of 2011. It picks up with a high-speed jet pursuit. The flashback that follows picks up shortly after ASP1 ended. What happens in the pursuit is saved until the end of ASPII.

Due to a very limited release of less than 300 theaters, not many saw ASP1 until the DVD release. That release has led to ASPII showing in over a thousand theaters nationwide. It also led to another resurgence in interest of the novel and works of Ayn Rand. The novel has sold over seven million copies since its initial publication. Four different editions remain in print.

The film updates the story from the mid 50’s to the current decade. It is another stunning reminder of AR’s foresight to the events now occurring.

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This film continues the basic storyline of what happens when the “men of the mind” – people that innovate, invent and accomplish – go on strike. The subtitle of this film is “the strike.” Makes sense.

Since the last film was released, the entire cast and most of those involved in the production of the film has changed. I liked the cast of the first film but do not miss them. The current main players are excellent – there are also a few surprises. Like ASP1, this film had a relatively low budget, estimated at between $15 and $20 million dollars. Once again, they used the funds available to make a sumptuous production that looks like it could have cost five times as much. The CG EFX are fine, but a few of the models look like models.

The story moves forward in a smart and timely manner. The characters could have been lifted right out of today’s front page headlines. The way bureaucrats react in fiction is exactly how they go about business in real life – power and control is what they desire. Their success is inevitably followed by a hunger for more. This is always followed by unintended consequences and lots of finger pointing. The blame always lies with others.

The film has a good score by Chris Bacon (who provided the great Bernard Herrmannesque score to Source Code). The real loss to ASII is the exclusion of Elia Cmiral’s beautiful score, including his melodic John Galt Theme. His use of the theme in scoring “the opening of the John Galt Line” in part 1 was a true demonstration of how screen visuals and music can create pure movie magic. He should have been there for the entire series.

Speaking of magic, when you see ASII, as I highly recommend you do, pay attention to the single scene with a character named Laughlin. The magician speaks. As does Ayn Rand. Forever.

Rated 3.9 out of 4.0 reasons I hope not to have to wait a year and a half for part III. We will finally get to see John Galt and find out who he is. As I mentioned in the AS1 review, he is a hero.

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