Tag: Theo James

Allegiant

The official name for this film is not Allegiant, but The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1, and that is down right terrible for a few reasons.

One, the first movie was called Divergent, not The Divergent Series: Divergent. You knew there would be more movies, you shouldn’t try to change the series names after you have already started.

Two, I didn’t name my review for the second one The Divergent Series: Insurgent, I just did Insurgent like a sane person.

And three, of course they took the third book of a trilogy and split it up. It will make them more money, regardless of how much it hurt the product (see Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2). But they have absolutely no reason to throw “Part 1” at the end of the title. You know why? Well, the title of the fourth movie isn’t even The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 2. It is The Divergent Series: Ascendant. There is no Allegiant – Part 2 officially, even though the fourth and final film is the second half of the Allegiant book.

What a fucking clusterfuck of a titled series.

Group Shot
Thankfully we have teenagers with attitude to save us.

At the end of the first film, I thought out gang was leaving the walled city of Chicago behind, to advance the plot. I was wrong, they just went to the woods outside of Chicago. At the end of the second film, I thought everyone was leaving the walled city of Chicago behind, unified and scared, to advance the plot. I was wrong there too apparently.

Right away, Evelyn (Naomi Watts) now in control, decides it is best for the gates to be sealed and everyone be locked in. Security is ramped up and there to be trials for everyone on the losing side. Mentally at this point, I was about to throw my pen at the screen and walk out. If they don’t ever leave Chicago I will freak out.

Thankfully, I guess, our small crew of characters still wants to break out and see the world. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and Tori (Maggie Q). This makes them traitors, so Evelyn has Edgar (Jonny Weston, our wannabe Jai Courtney) to hunt them down.

So what’s on the other side? Well, a lot of desolation. Some war shit happened. Nukes and all. But they are found by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a scary sounding company for sure, who let’s them know that Chicago was an experiment and more secrets about the world. I will let them stay secret. It is led by the director (Jeff Daniels), who is happy for Tris being Divergent, because it means their experiment worked!

Tris is now a hero who will save the world, and maybe save the impending war in Chicago. The remaining crew are working surveillance and security for the BGW while she has all the fun.

Returning actors include Octavia Spencer and Daniel Dae Kim. New people are played by Nadia Hilker, Andy Bean, and Bill Skarsgård.

Bubbles
The future is so weird and full of fucking CGI.

I have a lot of problems with this film and I have to get specific to let you know some of the things that really irked me. So there will be spoilers, arrr. But here is what it has to boil down to: the writers. No, I don’t mean Veronica Roth, the writer of the book. I don’t plan on ever reading them, but I have heard the final book is terrible. So maybe the studio agreed, because they hired three people to write the screen play, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, and Noah Oppenheim. The first two co-wrote The Transporter Refueled (sigh, with Luc Besson) and Exodus: Gods and Kings among other things, and Oppenheim was one of three people on The Maze Runner.

They do not have the best credentials behind them, but more importantly, none of them worked on the previous two films. So not only did they apparently stray away from the source material of the books, but they collectively just went off the rails with no regard for continuity, characters, or sensibility. This movie is, dare I say, stupid. A childish word not meant for a serious movie review like this one, but the only one that really fits. Scenes are loosely connected by the plot, but with people who seem to not remember the past in any way shape or form.

All of my best actions seem to be about Four and when he gets to the Bureau so let’s just use him. He is put on security, told it will take him a long time to get used to the new future tech before he can go on missions. He figures it all instantly, of course, he was a fantastic fighter dude. He wants to go on the next mission, is told no, but like in a “No, wait don’t do it, no” apathetic way. Literally no one tries to stop him doing anything. Getting on the space ship, interacting with the natives, seeing what they really do with the natives. There was no resistance at any way, as the writers didn’t even know what they were doing.

While on the mission, he is yelled at by a commander who thinks he shouldn’t be here because he is too new and should stay out of trouble. You know who is sitting two seats away from him? Fucking. Christina. Also from Chicago. No way as good of a fighter as Four. But apparently she also did everything in the short amount of time (despite barely acknowledging her once they arrive), can also go on missions, and is given no shit. Hell, she even gets to interact with the natives and let Four know what is up, in front of everyone, and no one still cares. It was terrible to watch as the film was full of these tiny -> big inconsistencies.

Redcamo
But hey, at least the camouflage makes sense for this film!

This happens to be the type of film where 90% of the problems would be solved if the main characters would just actually talk to each other. Of course, lazy writing prevents this, turning it into a lame RomCom, without the Com and very weak Rom.

And really what really boils my corn is the ending. Look back at my description of how the first two films ended. This one ends with everyone ready to leave the walled city of Chicago behind, unified and scared. What makes me so upset about this ending is that it is almost exactly the same ending as the second film. Sure, things happen in this film, but outside of some knowledge gained, every single relevant person is in the exact same position they were a movie ago, totally going to do the things they promised to do this movie. Shit. This film series is like a horrible time warp, making me relive the leave Chicago plot over and over without ever really getting to do so.

I fully expect the final film to begin with everyone collectively breaking their legs, so that they all have to stay in Chicago for the whole film. That is the level of quality of writing I have come to expect from this franchise and next summer cannot come soon enough so that it can finally be over.

0 out of 4.

Insurgent

The Divergent series has the honor of being the next Hunger Games series, movie wise. Even if The Hunger Games still has one more movie yet to come out. You know. Successful trilogy, third one split into two boring as fuck movies to milk more money out of teenagers. Whatever.

I wanted to like Divergent a lot more than I did. But, TL;DR, it wasn’t a completely original dystopian plot line like it made it look like. It was kind of nonsensical at points, left a lot of questions, and it ended up just being a damn high school clique movie, in its most basic form.

HOWEVER. Insurgent can be something completely different. If the ending of Divergent is any indication, Insurgent shouldn’t be a shitty high school clique movie. It should be a smarter sci-fi dystopian action movie. Class warfare shouldn’t be an issue. Just rebels vs the government. Good. This one can be a huge improvement.

Pls don’t let me down. Plsssss.

Food Fight
I was just as surprised as everyone else over the erotic lunch based three way scene.

The last movie ended with our heroes, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) escaping out of Chicago and heading past the wall into the magical world of the unknown. After all, the wall was put up to protect them from the dangerous outside that had monsters and bad people and shit.

Wait a minute. Sorry. No. They just go into the forests outside of the city? Not outside of the wall? Oh…well then…okay. I guess they are just hiding out from the hippies, trying to figure out what the hell Jeanine (Kate Winslet) wants to do, now that she took out all the working class selfless people. That’s right, only four factions now fuckers. The nerds, the jocks (which are scattered and small), the student government, and the hippies. Because it is still a high school in Chicago. Speaking of those factions, we get to see things from the hippies and the student government finally. The hippies are lead by Johanna (Octavia Spencer) and the SGA is lead by Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim, of Lost fame!).

Either way, the plot of this movie is our heroes on the run. Not physically, because apparently it is super easy to hide from almost everyone in Chicago, despite them only using like 5 buildings for most of the population. Their GPS systems must all be out of wack. Also, Jeanine found this mystical box under Tris’ old house that her parents were hiding. That is why she killed them by the way, looking for the box. Didn’t you know that they wanted it from the first movie? (I literally don’t remember it, but it may have been hinted or mentioned). The thing is, this box has a message in it, written by the founders of the caste system. It will let them know how to deal with all these Divergent assfaces. They just need a really strong divergent to open it. Hmm, wonder who that could be…

This movie has a huge number of other people of course. We get the return of Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, and Zoe Kravitz. But we also have new people, like Naomi Watts and Keiynan Lonsdale! Woo~

Wires
Oh, and didn’t you hear that this one featured Bieber?*

As soon as I finished this movie, I was immediately asked by people what I thought about it. And I shrugged. I didn’t know. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what I liked, disliked, and how I thought about the film as a whole.

Here is one thing I know for certain: Insurgent is better than Divergent. For sure. I had a lot to complain about Divergent. You might have heard about me doing so in my review of Divergent. But I still thought it was at least okay. So here is another thing I know: Insurgent is not good enough for me to give it a 3 out of 5, the like it category. It is a 2 out of 4 like Divergent, just a better 2 out of 4.

I was able to see this movie in IMAX, only my second movie to do so after Edge of Tomorrow, and it did feel good on the gigantic 3D screen. It had a lot of CGI based special effects going through these tests or whatever they were called and for the most part the looked pretty decent. It had more action than the first film. Real action, not bullshit “dangerous training”.

On the other hand, the plot was pretty basic. It was very predictable, especially when it came to reality versus simulation. The only wild card was Miles teller. We mostly just had teenage angst carrying the rest of the plot, so it was pretty linear. Major plot points seemed like they were added on as an afterthought (read: that box thing that wasn’t mentioned in the first film at all). And of course, this film still doesn’t feature outside Chicago, which to every one that isn’t a book reader, was pretty sure how this one would start. But whatever.

The film also still features a huge amount of confusing plot decisions and material. Maybe reading the books would fill the gaps, maybe they are shitty in the book too. Who knows. I know this is still entertaining enough to warrant a watch, but not enough for me to want to buy any of the series still or read the books. And the last movie being another shitty two parter means the franchise is probably at its high point right now. So sad. Please go back to Spiderman, Shailene.

* – Bieber jokes are still funny, right?

2 out of 4.

Divergent

Divergent, or as I like to call it, the next fucking recent young adult sci-fi/fantasy series to have taken off, has been turned into a movie. Weeee.

A lot of these lately have been terrible. Did you see The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones? I did, it was ghastly. So was Vampire Academy. The only recent successful one of these was The Hunger Games, which had a dystopian aspect, just like Divergent, and just like this random other movie The Maze Runner later this year.

So, will it actually be a nice parallel of society? Or will it just be made to make teens feel special? That’s the important question with these adaptions.

Poster
And here is the main characters ass as promotional material.

Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) is an Abnegation tribe member. What? Okay. This story takes place in Chicago in the future, after a big war, they have built a big wall around the city. They have split members into big tribes, each having a trait. Abnegation people are selfless, run the government, wear grey, simple lives. The Amity are peaceful, hippies, farmers. Not really talked about in this movie. Candor wear white, are honest, and just say whats on their mind. Yeah, another kind of pointless tribe I guess. Erudite are the smart people, doing smart stuff and wearing blue, the smart colors. Dauntless wear black and leather, the brave, the cities police force and protectors.

Well, Beatrice is about to go to her choosing ceremony, where she picks her faction she will live in from then on. Her parents (Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn) are big in Abnegation, and want her and her brother (Ansel Elgort) to stay in their area. Well, during her test to see who she actually fits in with most, her results are inconclusive, equally selfless, brave, and smart. It is called being Divergent, and it should be secretive, because people don’t like free thinkers?

Well, Beatrice, now Tris, chooses Dauntless, as she always liked them. Now she has new friends (Zoe Kravitz), and has found out that just because she chose Dauntless doesn’t mean they have picked her. Of the recruiting class of like 40-50 students, half will be cut after weeks of training based on physical skill, and then another half will be cut after emotional/mental training. So only like, 10 or so people will actually make it. Yep. This movie is mostly a training movie. Ha ha! Fooled you guys!

This gives us characters like Four (Theo James), her main trainer and probably love interest. Or Eric (Jai Courtney) a much meaner training guy. Kate Winslet is a mean smart woman, Miles Teller is a mean new Dauntless recruit, and Ray Stevenson is a mean Abnegation leader.

Ninjas
And shit, this movie has ninjas too!

So I felt like again, if I had read the book, parts of this movie would make a lot more sense. Just like every other damn young adult adaption. Here are brief thoughts about my ramblings, that as far as I can tell didn’t get answered in the movie. Some are just world building questions that would have been very helpful.

How often does this choosing ceremony take place? Multiple times a year? How old are you when it happens? I guess the main character and her brother are not twins, but born close enough that they have to choose the same year? Does every faction have a long ass training process for when people join? I wonder how strict it is to train to be a hippie. Why did Tris not learn about what a Divergent is until her test, and only because she was one, but as soon as she does, it seems to be common knowledge for every other person what it is? With all the cuts the Dauntless people made, they literally only gained like what, ten recruits? How the fuck is that helpful? Did the plot really need to wait for the ten new recruits for something other than training to start taking place?

If the point of the faction system is to keep people in their place and get rid of human nature, why even let them choose what faction they live in after some random age? It seems like it’d be better to have the false notion of a choice, but in general, make everyone stay where they came from. Honestly, how does early life in other factions like Dauntless even work? Are there any parent type people there at all? It seems very messy to have people trained in a faction type for blah many years, and switch to a different faction, giving them awkward skill sets, that clearly they never lose after switching factions.

Really, this movie is literally just a high school movie, put into a Sci-Fi setting. We have cliques: jocks, nerds, hippies, normal people, and I guess gossipers or something. We have a high school girl, Tris, who feels like she doesn’t fit in with just the normal people, so she tries sports. She tries to also be smart. So she is a nonconformists, and all the conformists want to get her for being different. Or something like that. That is what the movie boils down to.

It was a cool concept, but I also feel like the writer has no idea what the fuck she is doing. Just making an interesting story and hoping it works out. There is a good chance the second movie is better, given that it will take place outside of Chicago. Wait, why is Chicago now bad? They beat the main bad guys? It should be easy to fix now? Eh, whatever.

I guess I should also note the trailer is pretty misleading. It makes it look like because she is Divergent, she joins some group of underground fighters who train her and then they attack the government or something. Nah. Well, she gets trained, but the Divergent-ness seems to be mostly pretty pointless overall.

2 out of 4.