Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer
Rated: PG-13 (intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language)
Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.
By Cole Schneider
The first “Divergent” movie was really bad, bordering on awful. The second, “Insurgent”, crosses that border. The first hour nothing happens. I’m not exaggerating; nothing happens. We’re simply stuck hanging out with poorly drawn characters unable to provide enough charisma to keep any interest whatsoever.
After the bore of that initial hour, we digress into traditional post-apocalyptic, young-adult genre fare, which is to say that it continues to be boring even as they try to will some tension into the plot.
There are some great actors in the film and some do good work, but they weren’t given a fighting chance to begin with and because the characters are so lacking interest, the action scenes have an opportunity to shine. They surely do not shine. They are generic, yet worse than normal.
Everything about this film and this franchise is careless. The goal clearly was less to make a good movie and more to capitalize on the “Hunger Games” crowd. This lesser version is entirely disposable. Tris is no Katniss and there are no equivalents for Effie, Plutarch, Caesar, etc. Instead there are boring people doing familiar things. “Insurgent”: boring and familiar.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
By Matt Greene
The word “insurgent” means to actively revolt, implying some distinctiveness that sets its participants apart from the norm. Ironically, the film Insurgent, a faded photocopy of other teen-scifi-dramas, doesn’t have a single unique bone in its body. Not that it’s aggressively terrible. There are some decent scifi elements and even a couple of mildly intriguing moments. But like clockwork, every slight turn for the better is quickly overwhelmed by extreme boredom. Like a forgettable SyFy channel series masquerading as a blockbuster film, Insurgent is simply a dull and uninteresting sequel.
That word “sequel” should connote a progression of sorts, but no. As little as I remember about the previous entry in the Divergent Series, I can tell you this: shaky cam action scenes, bloviating about “special ones”, and constant fighting for the McGuffin-of-the-week were the focus and are still in full form here. At the center is Woodley, an actress with a whole heckuva lot of talent that simply doesn’t have the presence of strength to carry this sort of role.
She presents a microcosm problem for an entire film full of great actors terribly miscast. Teller and Elgort manage some natural charisma and charm from their otherwise absent characters, Watts and Spencer are all but completely missing, and Winslet is just plain wasted. It’s none of their fault; they just can’t make the embarrassingly constant melodrama palatable.
Even if it was laughably bad there might be something to cling to, but it’s not bold enough to even warrant that reaction. Insurgent only serves as a lame, achingly dull placeholder until the next Hunger Games installment.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars