I never tried to hide the fact that I enjoyed Divergent. It surprised me, despite a trailer with very little promise. I liked that it wasn’t Hunger Games, I liked that Tris had some measure of moral complexity and a sense of responsibility. I liked the way the narrative moved, to the point where I was willing to look past the many inherent flaws in the caste system that the film’s world creates. Some months ago, I saw the first trailer for Insurgent, to which I thought “…Fuck. This one’s not gonna be as good.” I was right (don’t act too surprised). “OH GOD I’M DISSOLVING SOMEONE HELP.” Let me quickly start off by saying that this movie isn’t terrible, for the most part. It doles out its fair share of general stupidity but, for the most part, it does well by itself. Established characters have individual plot-lines and most of them do their best to intersect. Dialogue is a bit teen-cheesy but is bearable, if not exactly witty. And hell, the special effects and sim-sequences are stupendously done – with the floating building scene and the Tris vs. Tris scene standing out as really amazing and vertigo-inducing, even if the 3D was underutilized. The pace is… strange, but manages to get from scene to scene with a minimum of deus ex machinas. JUST KIDDING. It has a fuckload of deus ex machinas and doesn’t seem to have any clue how to make the plot progress without it seeming forced. From Four speaking his name aloud atop the train (which somehow saves them), to Four being released from captivity for absolutely no reason the instant the plan involved him being active, to Four’s mom showing up exactly when she was needed to prevent things from going totally ass-up, to normal townsfolk somehow having any knowledge of Tris’s involvement in the final broadcasts, to sudden, convenient leaps in technology… and I’m sure even more that I’m forgetting. Starring, from left to right: Sir Not Appearing in this Film, Quentin Lance Jr., Katniss, Baby Kravitz, and Spineless Dweeb Quick thing I wanna talk about before I get caught up in bitching about the faction system (yeah, that’s gonna happen). This movie is… noisy. I mean like, I don’t even know how else to describe it. Every small sound is thunderous, and it’s particularly true of footsteps. The bizarre part is that a lot of characters try to be sneaky, which is when I noticed it most – when the Dauntless are searching for Tris and the others, they’re standing on the second floor of a wooden building with bare floors. In their attempt to leave quietly, each footstep is just amazingly loud and neither the people sneaking away, nor the people looking for them, seem to notice the total cacophony their every step creates. This is also true when Tris sneaks away in the night – her footsteps are so loud they can be heard when she’s already like fifty feet down the road. There’s yet another scene when the Dauntless commandos are raiding the Candor… settlement (?) …and one can hear them coming from literally blocks away. I’d try to find a silver lining in this except that it’s so inconsistent. It’s not a subtle commentary on “sneaking being too easy in movies,” which might be appreciated, since the Dauntless are about as deaf and stupid as a Skyrim bandit and totally don’t notice the thunderous sound of boots on wood. Yet neither is it the opposite, since Tris clearly hears/notices the commandos coming from blocks away for all of their sneaky efforts and stealth gear. So in conclusion on this footnote – I got nothin’. Whether it was a stylistic choice or the sound guy had hearing issues, I have no idea what to make of this. It’s just there, with no rhyme or reason. It is, however, weirdly distracting. Even more than Tris’s new anime-hair. On to the faction system. I already mentioned this (very) briefly in my review of Divergent, and if you don’t remember, this was what I said: “The film’s faction system would not actually function in any real society as it features no standard laborers/shopkeepers/craftsmen/etc.” Besides that little blurb, I was uncharacteristically willing to let that shit slide. Insurgent, however, brings up even more questions as to what the fuck these factions actually are, and what divergence as a concept is. The way it’s pitched is that each faction serves a vital role in the way society functions, and that everyone (except the extremely rare divergents) fits into one, and only one, of these roles. This is determined by a simulation that deciphers your means of solving problems, and then categorizes you according to this. It’s also, however, mentioned that most teens stay in the faction they were born into, which implies one of two things*: Faction is genetic. An Erudite parent will, more often than not, give birth to an Erudite child. Faction is indoctrinated. A Candor parent will, over sixteen years, teach their child to be Candor. *Lexi didn’t read the books. If it’s explained in there, she doesn’t care. It’s the movie’s job to explain this shit. To me, the second one of these makes a lot more sense, because, as most of you may know, personality traits aren’t handed down from parent to child. In addition, all of these people are way more logical/friendly/honest/selfless/psychotic than real people ever actually are, which once again strongly suggests that it’s a matter of environment, choice, and education than genetic predisposition. Now is where I actually get to the point. Along the line in Insurgent, the baddies come up with a magic (?) device that instantly deciphers, when pointed at your head, what faction you belong to. It also determines if you’re divergent, and what percentage divergent you are. Quick, raise your hand if that seems in any way fucking possible. How many of you raised your hand? Was it none of you? Good. But hey, at least this happened! This was fucking cool! When I brought this up to my brother after watching the film, he mentioned that it was possible that the device was reading brainwaves/thought patterns rather than actually examining your DNA/genetics/soul/whatever the fuck. If this is the case (and, despite still not really making sense, it makes the most sense), then it represents an enormously drastic leap in technology which, as we learn towards the end of the film, hasn’t really advanced in hundreds of years despite having an entire faction dedicated to exactly that. This review’s giving me a headache. Gimme a sec. So… yeah. If you recall from the first film, faction was determined by extremely elaborate simulations (which are still used on Tris to get her to open The Box), and even then your final decision wasn’t determined by the sims, but by your choice. Despite all of this, a hand-held device can, in seconds, determine your faction and how much that faction you are. Chew on that. Tris’s development from a mousy girl into a hardened mousy girl was, like several other things from Divergent, rolled into a ball and thrown away, replacing her with a considerably more violent, sociopathic, and impulsive Tris that I frankly… don’t care for. Maybe they wanted to make her a bit more like Katniss. Nonetheless, I didn’t like the decision to make her yet another “tortured, angry” teen character rather than the quite likable character she already was. Even more, I wasn’t particularly grateful for the decision to do that without actually addressing it. It’s implied that the death of her parents drove her to being more impetuous and wrathful, yet she simultaneously becomes more pacifistic than the Tris we knew before. So who the fuck knows. “I’m a painting, mothahfuckah.” AND ANOTHER THING! Remember how in the first movie, casteless were just kinda homeless dregs on society with no purpose that sat around and got hand-outs from Abnegation so it seemed like Abnegation had something to do? Well, Insurgent takes all that and crumples it up and throws it in the motherfucking garbage, because now casteless are armed super-criminals with an organized leadership and a motherfucking army. So in one fell swoop, the faction system that makes it surprisingly difficult to “pass” in the faction of your choice, suddenly goes from being shockingly dickish (kicking a sizable percentage of people onto the streets where they cannot possibly fend for themselves), to outright moronic (creating a sizable percentage of armed criminals with nothing to lose). The entire problem is only made worse when one considers that the core problem with the faction system (no basic laborers) could be fixed by dedicating the factionless to those jobs, thus killing two huge, ugly birds with a single easily-cast stone. Whew. But, like I said, Insurgent was okay. I’ve been accentuating the negative because there’s… well, a lot of it. At least the movie had the decency to give us a quick explanation of why Tris has “I was just in a movie where I had cancer” hair. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.