Friday, March 20, 2015


The Bottom Line: Divergent, last year’s first installment to the lackluster books-turned-movies franchise, was my least favorite movie of 2014.  And although I entered this sequel with a huge, hard-to-budge chip on my shoulder – my expectation was that it couldn’t be as bad as the first one.  And it’s not.  But that’s like saying my broken left leg doesn’t hurt as bad as my broken right leg.  Both legs are broken and, like these movies (thus far), both broken legs suck.  Insurgent mindlessly mashes together copycat elements of The Hunger Games, Inception, The Maze Runner, The Matrix and Twilight – but in doing so carelessly jettisons an out-of-the-box mindset that made most of those films special or unique (I tease about Twilight being special and unique, by the way).  There are exactly three things that I’ll give Insurgent positive credit for: 1) it’s effective use of Miles Teller, who adds an energetic zing to his very few scenes (side note: go rent Whiplash…like now), 2) the ping-pongy, action-first narrative might be misshapen and rote but it still shields us from the nap-inducing world-building that plagued its predecessor and 3) the release of this flick puts us one movie closer to the end of this dreadful series.  This movie is lifelessly uninventive and woefully uninvolving.  It’s a hobbled together, awkwardly motivated glimpse in to a dystopian community that lacks in both intrigue and entertainment – and it cuts through its societal discord commentary as smoothly as a butter knife would a brick.  The story is meandering, the direction unfocused and the acting (again, aside from Miles Teller) is either lazy or unengaging…often both.  I’d normally offer up my wife’s take around this point but she (a lover of the books) has such a deep-seated hatred of the first film that she passed altogether on taking in the sequel.  I didn’t have a choice.  She did – and you do too.  Insurgent may be ‘better’ than Divergent – but it’s still remains an insufferable, insipid and insanely dull mess.

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Octavia Spencer
Directed by: Robert Schwentke (RED, Flightplan, The Time Traveler’s Wife and RIPD)
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 119 minutes
Story: THE DIVERGENT SERIES: 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. (C) Lionsgate

Official site:


Anonymous said...

Least favorite film of 2014 is Divergent? You are such a liar. I could name 20 films of 2014 which are dumb, stupid, unengaging, but Divergent definitely isn't among them. I am a fan of the books and the series. And have read the books that you've mentioned (HG, Twilight, Maze Runner,). Sorry (but not sorry), those weren't great books or movies in my opinion. And Divergent does not in any way copy that of Hunger Game's. The plots are different. As for Insurgent, it was obviously cut short since not everything in the book can be translated in film. But, nonetheless, my kids and I enjoyed it. It wasn't exceptional. But it wasn't insufferable as you claim it to be.

BRTaibl said...

Sounds like you're a fan of the books and movies, Anonymous - which is great, plenty of you out there (more fans of the books I would venture to guess though). It's no surprise you'd come to this latest installment's defense. How dare I try and dismantle something you hold so dear... Movies, for the record, can have different plots and still be very similar in tone, etc. The Divergent series is very much a hollow shell knock-off of The Hunger Games - that, I thought, was universally understood. I'm just as glad that you and your kids loved it as I am that we all don't have the same opinions on art. One person's trash is another person's treasure. I saw 120+ movies last year and Divergent emerged as the single worst. That is not a lie, that is my opinion and my truth. Hope the rest of the series is to your liking... Thanks!