Posted Oct 28 2015

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - This Movie Doesn't Even "Sim" Rocks

Dir: Robert Schwentke

Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslett, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Janet McTeer

Divergent. Insurgent. Insurgent. Divegent. Let's call the whole thing off. No - really! Lets's call the whole thing off. Because this is going nowhere fast. The future’s YA. The future’s dystopian. And, on the strength of Divergent 2, the future’s really rather dull.

The YA universe that cinema has been courting of late just looks so incredibly samey. It’s all destroyed cities, large walls, hippy dippy bucolic factions with dark undercurrents, bad fashion and a constant reminder that everything you’re watching that isn’t branded “Hunger Games” just isn’t The Hunger Games.

At times – from its desiccated cityscapes to its underground bunkers, to its teen heroine forced into her new revolutionary role, Insurgent is more Mockingjay than Mockingjay. Parts 1 AND 2.

It’s lame to compare, but the Divergent series (and others) offer so little of their own that they can’t help but beg such comparison. And this comes up short. The original wasn’t up to much but promised more ahead. This second outing actually manages to not deliver on that. What we have is Kate Winslett Basil Exposition-ing the really rather daft (and constantly contradictory) faction-tastic set up. And after that, it’s rarely more than a series of action beats, most of them CGI heavy “sims” as opposed to the real thing. To be fair, some of the imagery is impressive, but little else is.

Cast wise – everyone muddles through. But Woodley lacks the shine she’s started to show in other projects, Winslett is just happy to scenery chew, Teller seems to be having fun with his duplicitous act, whilst James seeks to redefine the term “one dimensional.” And remember how just a few days ago we were singing the praises of Naomi Watts and how she was doing some really good work lately? Well, every streak has to end.

The great irony of the Divergent Series is it paints a bleak vision of the future. And that bleakness now becomes reality – there are two more of these still to come!


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