05/04/15 23:25 Filed in: 2015
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley
This review was originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appears @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation. The original tweets appear in black, while follow-up comments appear in red. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
I got it from the movie poster. A nice turn of the phrase “defy gravity.”
Peace is an obligation.
Marital Law is immediate. War is imminent.
“You killed us all.” Bleak nightmare.
Tris self-sheers. She wanted to do something different.
Her new coif makes her look like the girl in The Fault in Our Stars. Correction: self-shears. Also, Twitter doesn’t have an italics feature, otherwise I would’ve italicized the word “do” to create a pun with the shortened version of hairdo. And now I’ve ruined my magic trick by explaining it.
Jeanine inspects the founder’s version of the AllSpark.
This rectangular, rune-scrawled object also reminds me of the artifact in The Fifth Element (1997).
Peter shouldn’t have insulted Tris’ parents.
The easy way...but under protest.
It’s not the same as the “easy way” in Back to the Future II (1989), though.
Why doesn’t Caleb help out Tris when she’s attached?
I only ask this because he just made his first kill. Yes, he’s probably in shock over such an action, but his sister’s life is literally hanging in the balance. Correction: attacked. The new predictive function on iPhones thinks it’s being helpful when presenting words that look similar to one another. In a darkened theater, with a darkened phone screen, it’s easy to select the wrong word. The defense rests.
Welcome to Fort Factionless.
Don’t call Four Tobias. He won’t even let his mother call him that.
It’s not wise to call Indiana Jones “Junior” either.
“I always loved watching him sleep.” #Creepy
Unless you’re a betrothed Minbari.
The dystopian landscape is really well done in this film.
Fittingly, all Candor clothing is black and white.
‘Cause that’s the way they see the world. Get it?
“May the truth set you free.” And destroy your reputation and alienate your friends.
I meant to say, “alienate you from your friends.” But I trust the point was made.
“I killed Will.” Chills!
A very well-acted scene as Tris resists the truth serum with every ounce of her strength so as to not reveal her deep, dark secret.
“Thank you for your candor.” Up yours!
Or as Scotty would say, “Up your shaft!” (ST:III)
Jeanine is searching for a “special” Divergent. Gee, I wonder who that could be.
10% Divergent equals a bullet to the head.
This story element, which doesn’t appear in the book, is very effective in ratcheting up the tension.
Four shooting Eric cheapens his death. I much prefer Tris stabbing Eric in the book.
It was too soon to knock off the arrogant henchman. The audience needed to derive a greater feeling of vindication and satisfaction from Eric’s death. As filmed, it’s just a shallow slaying.
I could’ve skipped seeing Four’s tattoos again.
I know this gratuitous scene was placed here just for the teenybopper fan girls in the audience, but seeing Four’s tattoos once was quite sufficient. Actually, I could’ve skipped such a visual altogether, but that’s just me.
“We have plenty of guards.” Now that’s cold.
Jeanine shows Peter no respect, just like Peter shows Tris no respect. Bitterly ironic.
First sim: Tris must rescue her mother from a burning, flying house.
This is a superbly crafted sequence, but it’s overlong and overblown.
“Scary boyfriend skills.” Gotcha.
This is a pretty weak “Ah-ha!” moment. In the book, Tris knows she’s in a sim because Four grabs her on the shoulder where her bullet wound is, something her caring boyfriend would never do.
Amazing FX on the building demolitions.
If you’re into large-scale destruction.
“Are you real?” Better check his tats to make sure it’s really Four.
On second thought, let’s not.
Tris confronts her dark side.
This good half/bad half conflict has been done ad nauseam throughout TV/film history. The earliest example I can recall is when the transporter splits Capt. Kirk into good/evil halves in TOS’s “The Enemy Within.”
Divergents...the true purpose of the experiment.
As the culmination of the five factions, this revelation isn’t that much of a surprise; nor is the fact that they should be looked upon differently since they’re…different.
There’s hope beyond the wall.
But is there any hope for those inside the wall? Stay tuned.
A mass exodus of Divergents.
See you later Factionistas!
Final analysis: a solid follow-up to the first film, with some significant twists from the book.
Actually, the divergences from the book are extensive. Here are just a few: Marcus has a more prominent role in the action, there’s no AllSpark artifact and the loyal Dauntless join with the factionless to march on Erudite as a retaliatory response to the wrong’s committed by Jeanine and her lot in the first film.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars. Some good action scenes and some superb FX. A solid set-up for the finale.
As sequels go, Insurgent, based on the teen book series by Veronica Roth and the follow-up to last year’s Divergent, is a solid effort. The middle chapter of any trilogy typically has an identity crisis—it’s either too similar to the initial movie or it strays too far in the wrong direction so as to be virtually unrecognizable when measured against the original concept. Whereas you’ll probably be lost if you haven’t seen Divergent, Insurgent stands on its own and is a logical extension of the first film rather than a radical departure from it. The vast majority of middle films will either end with a cliffhanger (i.e., Vader’s mind-blowing revelation that he’s Luke’s father in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back) or the continuation of a journey (i.e., The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers). With Insurgent, something strange happens for a middle chapter film…it resolves. In fact, it resolves to the degree that the saga can end right here with the characters living reasonably happily ever after. Of course, there are enough plot threads still dangling out there to justify extending the story, but the fact that it could’ve ended right here is a truly bizarre anomaly for a mid-trilogy film. Shifting gears to production, the bombed out environs are exceptionally well staged here; the rough, rubble riddled landscapes perfectly mirror the arduous psychological and spiritual journey the characters embark upon in the film. Indeed, the physical structures are soon transformed into mental ones as we get a glimpse into the architecture of the mind: Tris is subjected to a new battery of sims, just in case we didn’t get our fill of them in the last movie. Aside from the city exteriors, the only other environment worth mentioning is the Amity faction, which perfectly reflects the natural, serene vibe of its inhabitants. Since there are only a few substantive character moments in the movie, the acting won’t stand out as stellar…more like serviceable. The action sequences are mildly entertaining, but are somewhat standard issue for what we’ve come to anticipate from non-bloody, teen-centric confrontations. So, what can we expect from Allegiant, the final film in the series? Those who’ve read the books might feel like they have an inside track to what will happen, but if this movie’s deviations from book to script are any indication, we could be looking at a significantly different cinematic conclusion to what appears in Roth’s novel. To their credit, these adapted screenplays haven’t been slavish in their adherence to the source material, and the alterations have provided some interesting surprises along the way. And really, not knowing everything that will happen in a movie is part of its allure, right? Purists will probably disagree, but these Divergent screenplays have been faithful in the areas that count, but have deviated only where needed in order to make a good movie…which, at the end of the day, is what matters most. If the concluding chapter is as good as the first two, this will go down as one of the better trilogies in recent years, and second only to The Hunger Games in the YA dystopian market. Let’s hope the studio bean counters resist the urge to split the last book into two movies as was done with the Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games series. The penultimate movie in each of those franchises was disappointing and egregiously added filler just to stretch out the story in order to make more money. This brand of cinematic hucksterism, which compromises artistic integrity, subverts authorial intent and fleeces its audience, is downright despicable. The studio executives who conceived and engage in such practices should be tarred and feathered. I say that with as much candor as I can conjure.