We start this weekend off with the latest novel turned movie that is supposedly the best seen in years. Yeah I’ve heard that line before, so naturally I’ve been sent to scope it out. As always, what might the trailers have you expect:
- A movie that sticks close to the book
- Action sequences that are exciting
- Dramatic dialogue that will bring memorable quotes
- Well edited shots and scenes.
So what did I get from this movie that the trailers made look so good.
- When it comes to following the book, Insurgent only loosely captures the complex infrastructure the novel set up. Most of the important plot elements are portrayed, while neglecting some of the specifics. The real element this film leaves out is the involvement of the other characters, and the important relationships pertinent to the story. Many of the divergent faction appear briefly, throwing out a few lines before they blend into the background with the other gun-toting rebels. Fans of the series will be disappointed to find key players in this second tale reduced to mere backstory, effectively removing their influence in the tale. Many of the story elements lacked emotional depth, the big revelations and twists not that engaging for me. Also a few parts were ambiguous, left unanswered or unexplained that left me scratching my head. I think the main reason for this was because of the missing details from the story, many if included would have probably made for more excitement.
- Another factor that failed for me was the action. The trailers called this tale action packed, with excitement in every moment. Big shock, this emphasis is a lie. When there are action moments they can be good, the train battle in the beginning was the kind of excitement I liked. However, most of the battles are brief skirmishes, with fake looking guns firing aimlessly as the bad guys surprisingly lack any skills. A few hand to hand combat moves helped relieve some of the mindless shooting, but not enough for me to agree with the promises the trailer made. What is the positive side of this? Well it means your preteens and young audience members won’t have to worry about too much violence, always a plus in my book. I can also say that the action pretty much had a purpose in this movie too, rather than just putting the fight in for no reason. Thus, despite the action promised in the trailers, Insurgence did not provide the adrenaline rush I thought it would
- Instead of action, the bulk of the movie is over dramatic dialog and lots of talking between two attractive actors. While the book does have a lot of drama, it at least gives enough drive and deception to keep you guessing at what will happen next. In the movie that wasn’t the case. A lot of the tone was very flat, only diverging from bland when anger escaped in bouts of screaming. The exception to the rule would be the dialog between Tris and Jeanine, which has enough zest and ire that symbolizes their relationship. Again not the best emotion, as Tris continues to suppress her anger and guilt. Yeah there are a few sappy moments that might jerk some tears from you, but this movie was a bit too monotone for me. Luckily the dialog has some mix of planning and backstory to help dilute the rather lackluster emotion they seem to show.
- One main strength of this movie is the editing involved bringing this world to life. The costumes and settings are a combination of computer generated images and detailed set work. I’m impressed with their work and found the integration of the actors in the movie both realistic and well animated. Sure a few of the scenes were obviously fake, the floating room in the trailer being one moment where CGI wasn’t completely detailed. However, the superior technology and warfare were creatively visualized and portrayed from the book.. It is just unfortunate that more of the book could have been adapted, but then again this might have led to an incredibly long movie, or even worse a second part. I think audience members will feel apart of the dystopia that is this story, and will become immersed in the setting.
- As a bonus point we’ll quickly talk about the acting. Shailene Woodley leads the assemble in this tale and she does a decent job. She doesn’t have as much emotion as her other roles, but her cries and screams are quite funny at times. Theo James as Four definitely brings eye candy to the role, as well as the rogue attitude that girls fall for. However, he too falls into one emotion, only breaking the mold when he has to get angry. Then there is Kate Winslet who played the superiority role to the letter. I hated her character, wanting to punch Jeanine in the face multiple times before the film was over. I found her a perfect casting for the role.
Overall this movie is okay, but it’s deviation from the relationships in the novel left the film lacking in plot elements. While the dialog is great for drama lovers, and some big points are there, the lack of action, pace, and dramatic flare dulled the shine I hoped it would have. My opinion the first movie is better, but chances are you will still see this movie in theaters. Worth a trip to theater? I would say yes for the effects, but for quality better left to home watching.
Movie Overall: 6.0