Insurgent || Film || 19th March 2015 || Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, || Directed by Robert Schwentke
Summary from Rotten Tomatoes:
INSURGENT raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’s family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.
I went into this movie with pretty low expectations. I didn’t like many of the trailers as the technology in them put me off and the story as a whole felt different. I really wanted to be proven wrong. I really did. I want this film series to do well because divergent is one of my favourite books and I thought the first film was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, Insurgent felt incredibly underwhelming.
Let’s start on a positive note because I didn’t hate all of it. Something that surprised me was how much I really liked Caleb and Peter in this film. They don’t get tonnes of screen time but when they do they bring humor into them and those scenes were what I looked out for when I realised that even my low expectations would not be met.
I also enjoyed the links and parallels to the first film that the producers put the effort to make. It would be good to see both the “Be brave” saying and the breaking of glass become a constant theme until the end of the film series. I’m really hoping that wasn’t just a fluke and was actually intentional. The part with Christina was also a nice parallel although I can’t see how that could be incorporated into Allegiant.
Most of my disappointment can be linked back to one thing: the plot was all over the place. Many of the subplots are touched on but then left dangling and never refereed to again such as Four’s abusive father, the relationship between Christina and Tris, Caleb’s betrayal. These plots felt so insignificant which prevented any character development and took away all that connection the audience had with the characters.
Small details that made the story what it was in the books were overlooked in favor of emphasising the plot of the ever so mysterious box that can only be opened by someone of strong divergence. Tris’ PTSD from shooting Will was completely overlooked. Many Tris and Four scenes were out of character. Nobody questioned why it was Tris’ mum that had the box buried under her house. When all these details add up, the story overall changes dramatically and not for the better.
One final thing that bothered me beyond belief and made me want to walk out of the cinema was how Tris and Four were presented. Even from the promotional posters and trailers I knew this was going to be a problem. Here’s thing: the hero of this movie is not Tris, it’s Four. Four: the young, hot, leader that seems pretty faultless. Then you have Tris: the not-everyone-is-loving-your-new-haircut damsel in distress that has to be saved from her own decisions roughly five times in the movie. I hate how they have turned one of my all time favourite heroines into someone who needs constant help of a male character (not always Four, but most of the time.) It was Four who had the epic ‘running before the train’ scene. It was Four who got to deal with Eric. It was Four that we saw fight the most. What the producers of this film forgot is that this is Tris’ story and she is not a sidekick.
Overall, I believe that the film simply focused too much on the 3D aspect and it was the plot and the characters paid the price. I giving Insurgent a 2-star rating and I pray that Allegiant will receive a new director.