Just watched this movie for the first time, a few days ago, as research for an idea for a story I'm writing (the "why" of what motivates daredevils and risktakers), and couldn't help but think of this review, which I had read back then.
Luke, you were spot-on.
Like Luke, I REALLY wanted to like it; I REALLY did. Like Luke, I had personal reasons for doing so. But, unlike Luke, I am not a scientist/engineer, and have a thing for myth and fantasy as metaphor, so I was willing to let go of the "Realism" part of Romantic Realism to do so.
But the reality STILL got in the way.
I wouldn't know so much about the scientific failings of the story, but the psychological/sociological points alone were enough to kill it for me. I realize that this wasn't an "Objectivist" story, but it doesn't take an Objectivist to point out that the character's disregard for safety, finance, and family were simply less-than-heroic. (I suppose there is a parallel that could be made between Charlie Farmer and Nat Taggart, who was said to let no man stand in his way, with stories about his violence towards those that did, but Nat Taggart was not John Galt, either.) I DID like the Farmer's antipathy towards psycho-analysis of ambition as neurosis, in an abstract way; yet, the character DID display some traits that were less-than-sane. And, while I had a personal resonance with his monologue/metaphor about space in relation to his father's death (my personal connection/reasoning for wanting to like the movie), his behavior and example set towards his own family was simply not right. (And the inheritance that solved all the problems? Talk about your "deux ex machina"...)
At least, for my story's sake, it wasn't a loss, because I learned what NOT to do. (And it did provide insight for secondary characters. ) But I would have liked to have liked on its own terms. Like Luke said, there were ways that this could have been done right. But, "it is what it is."
(Edited by Joe Maurone on 2/08, 2:17pm)