The thing about adapting a young adult novel into a film is that the novel actually has to be good, and based off the debauchery I just witnessed, there’s no indication that Insurgent was actually something worth reading. The amount of pointless plot twists and moments where the audience had to pray, “Lord, please don’t make this another dream sequence,” were so brutally thrown in our faces that, by the end of the film, I couldn’t help but question the original text.
The story opens up directly after the conclusion of the first film, Divergent, and follows our hero Triss (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) as they avoid the Dauntless faction, led by the diabolical Jeanine (Kate Winslet). If you’ve seen the first film, be prepared to experience the same level of careless dialogue that provides less depth to the characters than a puddle could provide to an ocean liner. Even the comic relief barely moved me, and it was delivered by a man as talented as Miles Teller. The real fault with Insurgent was that it tried to be something that it was not, and rarely—if ever—did it find its own form of identity. Meandering plot twists, relentless plays on reality and backstabbing characters left and right rendered me entirely disinterested down to the last bogus cliffhanger. What confused me was that the film is based off a novel that was wildly popular in its day, yet every plot point in the movie was irritatingly overdone. Essentially, they pulled out every cliché in the book and no stone was left unturned. It is as if a popular piece of literature was taken and manipulated into a film by some universal formula for cheesy moviemaking. Nothing in this film was original in the slightest and I could feel that every time it was supposed to surprise me. The sheer corniness of the entire production was enough to make the group seated to my left burst out in cyclical snickers that ran like clockwork from one end to the other. Insurgent painfully reminded me of The Host, another movie based off a young adult novel that went down in flames because it truly lacked anything that someone other than a teen might find interesting. There’s a reason why books intended for thirteen year olds sink more than they float when they’re turned into movies: the average viewer doesn’t have the interest of a thirteen year old. Even box office successes like the Hunger Games films don’t put up much of a fight when it comes to critical reception
, and, at the end of the day, Insurgent is a essentially a poor man’s version of every clone that has come before it.
By all means, if you have a kid and they love to read, take them to see their favorite book played out on the big screen, but be very prepared to regret dragging yourself along. It’s just too bad that Hollywood is feeding us two more of these. In the words of some wise general: a lot of good men are gonna die before this one’s over.