...So I've been reading some online reviews of the movie, and this is the most interesting one so far:
With Part III, Atlas Shrugged Becomes An Awesome, Torrid Romance
That is for the one or two people who actually care about this topic.
The only problem with the review is the statement: "it could power the entire West Coast of the U.S., but Galt is keeping it for himself because he hates government regulation." FALSE. Galt 'hates' the morality of altruism which makes government regulation possible. Of course he doesn't really hate it, because he is above such feelings. Never in the movie does John Galt show anything but a quiet serenity and a light sense of humor, even when he's undergoing government torture at the State Science Institute.
Well, I'm not posting this in order to review the review. I thought Kristoffer Polaha, who played Galt, did a splendid job. He looks the part, although the hair may have been longer than Rand would have liked for her most heroic character. Most of the other casting was done right too. I particularly enjoyed weasel-like government bad guy Wesley Mouch (rhymes with "mouth") played by Louis Herthum. Peter Mackenzie, who played Head of State Thompson (Rand refused to call such a despicable character by the term President), was thoroughly pragmatic and politically narrow-minded - as Rand may have put it, he was "very clever - but not intelligent."
As John Galt gives his epic, world-shattering speech, which was boiled down from 2 hours in the novel to 10 minutes of movie time, the government bad guys plot their next move. Head of State Thompson rallies his bad guy cronies while these servants incompetently try to rationalize their way out of the predicament by saying things like "the people won't understand what he [Galt] is talking about anyway."
But it turns out that, even if the people didn't understand the speech, they are desperate for help and see in John Galt some kind of
Messiah-like solution to the agony that slowly closes in around them. So during parts of the remainder of the movie you see TV commentators who enjoy hearing the truth stated for a change, while the people chant "We Want Galt! We Want Galt!" within earshot of the White House and Head of State Thompson who sits serenely in his office pondering his strategy to bring Galt within his matrix of power, thus satisfying the people's psychological need while bringing even more power to himself.
John Galt is inevitably captured, although the way this is played in the movie is not nearly as profound as it is in the novel. Nothing about this movie is as profound as the novel. While it's true that Dagny and John's love affair leads to his capture, Dagny doesn't join the Strike because of this. Her reasoning in the movie makes it appear that her heart made her decide, when in the novel it was her thinking that led her to decide to join Galt's Strike.
The torture scene is not very well played either. Government thugs shackle Galt to a wall in a dungeon-like environment in a Jesus-like posture. Hot sparks shower down on Galt's head as the Project F machine sends jolts of painful electricity through his body. Galt tenses up and spasms with every jolt, but he doesn't even scream as Dagny's brother, who is the CEO of Taggart Transcontinental, looks on with sadistic pleasure. In one scene not found in the book, Dr. Floyd Ferris, played by Larry Cedar, asks John Galt what he thinks of their marvelous invention; Galt, who is slumped down in his manacles, just looks up at him open-mouthed and nods his head almost as if in awe of its greatness.
Meanwhile, Dagny Taggart, who has joined the Strike, banding with a group of heroic rescuers including the stellar likes of philosophy professor Hugh Akston and former philosopher-cum-pirate Ragnar Danneskjold, land nearby in helicopters in an effort to save Galt from his torturers. Dagny kills the guard standing at the front door to the Science Institute (much, I think, to the shock of some audience members who have not read the book). They sneak in and apparently tie up the torturers who are on their way out, although we don't see this, we only hear about it later on. They rescue Galt and fly him away in a helicopter. As they fly over New York City, the city lights begin to go out beneath them for the last time as western civilization crumbles into dust.
But this isn't the end... it's the beginning.