‘Insurgent’ fails to live up to the hype

by Danny Bush

 

“Insurgent” hit theaters this weekend in a blaze of dauntless glory. This glorified personality test tugs at all of its fans inner sense of belonging. It categorizes billions of people into six incredibly vague archetypes that, if a person doesn’t fit in, he or she is thrown out onto the streets and left to fend for themselves. This great idea helps book lovers and movie goers feel even giddier about the next installment of “The Hunger Games.” At the very least, “Insurgent” gives us something to watch while fans wait for next November.

That girl and guy from “The Fault in Our Stars” (Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, respectively) reignite their romantic chemistry as brother and sister (yeah, it’s awkward) in this action-packed adventure based in what used to be District 13. There are those “Hunger Games” similarities again.

In all truth, “Insurgent” is successful and respected because of its strong female lead. She is great. But, her temper is horrible. That’s not giving a good reputation to strong female leads! There is one point where she loses her temper and tries to stab her friend in the face. That is a harsh reaction from the only person in the universe to fit into more than one incredibly narrow mindset.

Of course, with every female lead, there has to be a dull male counterpart. Four, as he is so endearingly called, looks like a 36 year-old who falls prey to codependency yet again when his mom plays the guilt card. His cradle-robbing relationship with Tris is an awkward piece added into just to please certain audiences. There is no depth to the relationship; it’s only highlighted when they are sleeping or when Tris is having bad dreams.

The audience is left feeling increasingly frustrated by the clichés that permeate through even the well done action. It’s good to see when flicks don’t necessarily stick to the second movie, “Empire Strikes Back,” motif.

It’s hard to find films that mix in substantial real effects with computer animation. It seems that “Insurgent” has done a fair job of including those real aspects with the computer used only to assist. On the other hand, when constructing entire environments that don’t exist, one has to rely more heavily on computer animation.

The acting isn’t horrible. It’s bad. Kate Winslet does a decent job and using intellect as her characters main motivation for her actions. Of course, Winslet could only do so much with a character that is written to only have one prominent characteristic—she is Erudite, which means that she is smart and that’s it. Tris was born into the nice group, Abnegation, but she decides to join Dauntless (hence the face-stabbing). These groups act as natural hindrances to development beyond static characters.

There are attempts to be original in both the book and the movie. Yet, it pales in comparison to other post-apocalyptic films such as (surprise!) “The Hunger Games.” It’s worth a watch simply for the action and the chance to see something cool. It’s fun to try and dissolve and refine the human personality sufficiently to figure out which group someone fits in. That’s where the fun ends.

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