Tuesday, March 24, 2015
CANDI'S CORNER IS BACK!
Insurgent ReviewBy Tinsel & Tine Blog Contributor Candace Cordelia Smith (Candi's Corner)
At the start of Insurgent, my immediate thought was, “Oooo, what if Divergent had started with this exact scene?” From its slick beginning, reminding the audience of the need for factions in a futuristic Chicago. Kate Winslet’s Jeanine Matthews leads us inside director Robert Schwentke’s vision, which is more sleek and action-packed than Neil Burger’s artistic direction for Divergent. This is not to say that the first installment wasn’t a fun ride and introduction to the film series overall, but, the audience that I was a part of during an early screening of Insurgent was much more audibly receptive to Eric’s nastiness and long-awaited comeuppance and Caleb’s feeble attempts to be a bad-ass.
At this point of the story, several days have occurred since Tris and Four went on the run as fugitives. Taking refuge at the Amity headquarters, lead by Johanna (Octavia Spencer). Unfortunately, before Tris, Four, Peter, and Caleb can formulate their next move, they are put on the run when Eric, Max and the rest of Jeanine’s Dauntless traitor, henchmen come looking for them; only to be met with more danger from the Factionless, who we soon learn is lead by Evelyn Johnson-Eaton - Four’s thought to be dead mother (Naomi Watts). Unsettling in certain scenes and driven in others, Evelyn, in my eyes, was perfectly cast.
In fact, as someone who has read "Divergent", "Insurgent", "Allegiant", and "Four", I was happy to see all of the original cast settling nicely into their characters, and the newly introduced actors well engaged. Sure, Uriah (Keiynan Lonsdale) could have been given more of a backstory, along with Marlene, portrayed by Brit up-and-comer Suki Waterhouse, and Lynn (Rosa Salazar), both of whom I loved in the literary version; but understandably, cuts were going to be made, and most of those omissions were in the form of secondary characters that had more time to grow on page than on the screen.
Then there was that box…. and that sex scene... OMG! Two Insurgent plot points, one more major than the other, that have no place in Veronica Roth’s book. Tris & Four kiss, but they don't become intimate. And this BOX that only a Divergent can open, which Janine assumes contains a message from the Founders, is such a significant part of the movie, especially in the final ten minutes; yet no such thing exists in the original story.
These two differences withstanding, on the whole, I was impressed with the book to film adaptation of Insurgent. The more important parts of the book were kept and preserved on celluloid - Tris (Shailene Woodley) coming into her own as a strong female freedom fighter; Jeanine’s ever-increasing need to prove herself right; Caleb’s (Ansel Elgort) ultimate betrayal; Peter’s redemption and the conception of the Amity compound, normally a place of peace now fraught with tension due to the circumstances that have placed Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter and the other runaways there. I highlight the world of Amity more so than Candor and Erudite, because the audience discovers a good portion of humor, thanks to Peter (Miles Teller), within this faction. Peter is a character who I despised in Roth’s manuscript, but Teller has found a way for me to see a different side to the character. On screen, Teller’s natural dry wit and comedic timing mirrors the unbelievers of this world, the ones who think people never change and that peace will never be found. The character of Eric, I still hate, once again gloriously played by Aussie Jai Courtney. I could tell who in the audience with me read both "Divergent" and "Insurgent", because without spoiling it for those who have not done either nor have seen Insurgent yet, revenge, by way of Four (Theo James), was delicious. Cheering in the theater occurred and it was grand!
|Insurgent World Premiere London - Photographer: Ryan McCormick|
As for Tris and Four, their relationship still has more barbs to go through, and the most trying of them is yet to come. But in Insurgent, it is a joy to see Shailene Woodley and Theo James continue their roles as the almighty duo. Woodley has a way of rooting herself naturally, into the core elements of every character she inhabits. She thoroughly understood the evolution that Tris goes through in this second installment of the series, as did James of Four’s silent resilience. While I know what happens next in "Allegiant", I can hardly wait to witness Woodley and James’ interpretations of their characters in its two-part big screen versions.
|Shailene Woodley at Insurgent World Premiere London. Photographer: Ryan McCormick|
|Theo James at Insurgent World Premiere London. Photographer: Ryan McCormick|
Insurgent was made for those who plowed through the Divergent literary series months in advance, including the Four prequel, and others just curious to understand the hype that surrounds it. Some consider The Divergent Series a weak knockoff of The Hunger Games. I refute this. Both Beatrice Prior and Katniss Everdeen can live on in the recesses of our minds as formidable, female, fictional protagonists, surviving a Dystopian existence, and for that, I have welcomed the two with open arms.
Bring on Allegiant Parts 1 and 2, Summit Entertainment. I’m impatiently waiting.
Candi's T &T's LAMB Score: 4 outta 5
Just as sampling from past Candi's Corner Posts
Candi's Corner: Interview with new Evil Dead Director Fede Alvarez
Candi's Corner: Interview Robert Rodriguez, Danny Trejo - MACHETE KILLS
Candi's Corner: Interview with Mr. Peabody & Sherman Director Rob Minkoff
Candi's Corner: Review That Awkward Moment
Candi's Corner: Review: The Spectacular Now
And be sure to follow Candi on her blog - A Confederation of Travelers
While You're Here Check Out Tinsel & Tine's Interview with Mekhi Phifer
Also While You're Here Check Out Our Review of Divergent
There's a serum administered to each young adult to determine their personality and where they best fit in, sorta like an evasive Myers Briggs test. After which, at the Choosing Ceremony you can do 1 of 3 things: Pick the Faction you grew up in and stay with your family and friends. Pick what your test revealed. Or just choose freely of your own mind. But here's where I totally had a problem with the story. READ MORE
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog