FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Tonight, “Insurgent” beckoned me, which stars Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars, The Descendants), Theo James (Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners Movie), Kate Winslet (Titanic , Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Ansel Elgort (Men, Women & Children, Carrie), Miles Teller (Whiplash, Fantastic Four ), Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, A Good Day to Die Hard), and Daniel Dae Kim (Lost [TV series], Hawaii Five-0 [2010 TV series]). It is directed by Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife, R.I.P.D.). Based on the book of the same name, “Insurgent” is the sequel in the Divergent series, following Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) dealing with the aftermath of the first film, with them going into hiding. Divergents are being hunted down by the Dauntless faction under the evil tyrant Jeanine (Winslet) after finding a box that contains a message from their ancestors that only Divergents can open. Jeanine needs this message to figure out the original plan and restore peace to their city which is falling apart. Tris and Four must find a way to stop her from experimenting on Divergents, thus waging war on her and her army.
If you’re wondering if I have seen and reviewed the first movie, “Divergent”, I have. Just click here. It’s been a very long time since I viewed the first film (at least it feels like it), so going into this was a test of my memory. I tried to read the synopsis on IMdB before starting, but it was incredibly long and I didn’t have the time, being how I have to review this before it reaches midnight (this is almost a two-hour movie). Thankfully, they referenced some stuff from the first installment and in fact, they rely almost heavily on it. I was able to understand the history a little over half the time so I think I was in the loop enough. To begin my review, I will be rather blunt: this was not a good film. There are many issues that arose in this flick and there will be spoilers and a lot of explaining just to get my point across on every one of them, so I won’t go into the tiniest of detail, but I will make everything clear. In a situation like the one I am in, I usually decide to right the pros first and then the cons. Since the pros reside in most things outside of the storyline itself, it is justifiable. The first aspect I enjoyed about this movie is its special effects. No matter how crazy the plot got, I was in awe of the CGI that went into play when crafting this piece of film. The shattering of glass, the destruction of buildings, everything was finely detailed. It is more of a pro that I am accustomed to sharing however. Next, the cinematography is fulfilled rather well. The director of this film, as you can see by his small profile I added above, knows how to get right angles and smooth shots that pan out nicely. His action scenes were well-cut and weren’t shaky and his colors give a pristine finish to the final product. It even has lens flares, giving a futuristic look. The atmosphere is probably the most interesting portion of this movie, and I was interested in taking notice to the structure of how these people live and how the future is interpreted. With that said, I have completed the pros list. It is rather short, but they are really the only pure pros I have. The others are either mixed or cons. Besides the plot, the mixed dilemma I have for this piece of cinema is the acting. The first act was atrocious in the performance department. Everyone felt like the same character, with the exception of Woodley’s Tris and Teller’s Peter. Some acting improved later on, but it only upgraded to average for most. It may be because of the script that they were given, but nonetheless it is disappointing. Each character seems to have the same expression, talk on the same level, and give off no emotion. They all must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed or whatever they sleep on in the morning. I am not hating on everyone though. Woodley did fine for her character, although I couldn’t stand her screaming or crying noises, and Winselt did an okay job. But it isn’t much of an exception considering the poor script. Which brings me to the main road of this review: the story. What this film suffers from the most is how much ridiculous and pointless scenes are contained in it. Most things in this movie that are along the road to the main conflict make no sense and feel thrown in just to add more run time. For example, there is a scene in which Tris, Four, and Caleb, (Elgort) Tris’s brother, escape from Dauntless and board a train. This train is filled with Factionless however and supposedly they have “stepped on their turf” so they pick a fight with them. They fight for about five minutes, with Caleb hiding while Tris and Four kick about twenty people’s rear ends, which by the way looked impossible. After all that fighting, they win. While picking themselves up, however, they look over to see themselves cornered by the same people they beat up, who apparently woke up and converged on them. Four tells them secret information that makes them “cool” to hang with them and they let them off the hook, making the whole fight pointless and a throwaway. I don’t want to sound weird, but I did some of my own commentary to myself while watching this because several things did not work. I would say certain things in sarcasm like “that makes sense” or whisper-yell at the screen for making me waste my time viewing a portion that wasn’t even needed. It made the movie experience more bearable. Not only are scenes effected by nonsense, but characters’ decisions. I can’t tell you how many times someone turned their back on someone else, going against their own character’s values or when a character would say or do something that doesn’t correlate with who they are. They try to cover it up with lame reasoning that I don’t buy into at all, so I have to brush it off, say my commentary, and move on. Really, all that was needed in this movie was the beginning to set up the problem and all the scenes with Tris and Jeanine. Everything else is film-fodder. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things that I didn’t mind in the story. It got better the more it progressed, although there wasn’t much to build up from the start. Also, there was some dialogue that seemed interesting, mainly anything that involved Jeanine or Daniel Dae Kim’s character, Jack Kang since he starred as Jin Kwon in “Lost” (by the way, that garners this film some points). But, alas, those aren’t enough to win this a good score. Before I close this review, I want to mention one more con: the dreams. Do you ever watch a film or TV show where a scene or an episode captivates your attention, but because the writers don’t want to delve deeper with that, they brush it off as a dream? Well, that happened about six or seven times throughout this film with Tris and her nightmares. It got to the point where I declined anything from being reality or dream. In conclusion, I haven’t read any of the books that these are based on, but seeing as how I didn’t even like this movie, I am sure the fans of the book hated it even more. I feel you people, I read “Hunger Games” and watch the film (it wasn’t nearly as good as the book). For some reason, I liked the first film, so there’s something to watch. Just don’t watch this movie, it’ll do you good not to. FINAL SCORE: 55%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: [embedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suZcGoRLXkU][/embed]