by | Apr 6, 2015 | 0 comments

A New Director Goes Off the Rails To Appeal to the Masses and Make More Money

Hollywood loves money. But we’ve known that for years; since Hollywood’s beginnings in the Golden State. Last year Divergent set up a movie franchise that looked to follow the success of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. The first film was a success not only commercially, but cinematically as well. Director Neil Burger captured the Young Adult novel feel and dealt with the adaptation expertly and passionately; and the audience saw that. The audience can tell when a movie has been made with love and when it had been made for money. Unfortunately with Divergent’s sequel, Insurgent, a change in director and strategy has led the franchise astray, into the greedy realms of Hollywood.

Insurgent picks off where Divergent left off, naturally. The once peaceful apocalyptic city of Chicago has been thrown into chaos. The factions that had been made to divide people and their roles in society, trembles and is on the verge of breaking. Our heroes Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) seek refuge from the evil “President Snow-like” Jeanine (Kate Winslet). Jeanine is hunting Four, Tris, and other escapees from the Dauntless faction who uncovered her evil plan to establish herself as a dictator. Four and Tris, along with Peter (Miles Teller) and Tris’ brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are looking to join up with the rest of the Dauntless. The plot thickens and there are various back-stabbings, near deaths, and a lot of fights. The franchise however has taken a step in the wrong direction in trying to appeal to the general audience, seeking more eye-candy and action sequences. You can almost tell (without having read the book) that director Robert Schwentke is going off his book source. The buff-up plan includes: cast additions to add star power (Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts), early-on and ubiquitous fight sequences, and (this is debatable) female objectification.

Now, females in cinema are, and always have been, extremely objectified, so there’s no point in justifying that this film shows this for the first time. But the film does find extra guilt in that it stands as a PG-13 film. Fast & Furious is R, the audience is mature and goes in expecting women to be treated that way, but the Insurgent audience is made up of forming tweens and teenagers that aren’t expecting anything more than a passionate kiss. Sex scenes and girls in crop-tops, completely throws off the “woman-power” feel that the first film achieved.

Then we have the fight sequences, which are forced upon us every 2 minutes, at which point you begin to feel as if the writers got lazy and stopped writing dialogue. The CGI is used forcefully as well; you lose interest in the story and are simply lost in floating, crumbling cement houses. Through that the sake of logic and even interest in developing or exploring characters is been completely lost. And when you lose characters, you lose the whole story.

As for the added star power, it’s completely unnecessary. You have Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts in roles whom barely take up 15 minutes of movie time combined. It’s a waste and a silly excuse to add more names to your movie poster.

The acting was handled terribly. The entire supporting cast is given a script with adialogue that is so scrappy that they themselves don’t know what they’re saying. The poor Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and even Naomi Watts struggle hard to make sense to the audience. The only actors who manage to save themselves due to obvious improvisation and skill are Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller; two of the biggest rising stars of today whose charisma keeps the film together.

I have to say the only aspect that saves the film is the ending. The film deviates from the dreadful mainstream course and goes back to adapting the final pages of the book. Of course the credit here goes entirely to the author Veronica Roth, but nonetheless it helps make the film edible, and at least leaves you with a good aftertaste. 



Sequel Quality





What is your favorite Shailene Woodley movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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