Monday, August 25, 2014

Why do I get myself in these kinds of situations?


Apparently, teen novel adaptations are all the rage right now.  This year alone we have the first part of the conclusion to the ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy (or is it a quadruplet or some other made up word like that?) as well as films like ‘The Giver’ and ‘The Maze Runner’ and earlier this year everyone went crazy (or at least a bunch of teenage girls did) when Jennifer Lawrence 2.0 (a.k.a. Shailene Woodley) starred in the big screen adaptation of ‘Divergent’.  I initially had no desire to see this, considering that I kind of loathe Woodley as an actress, but I used to hate Jennifer Lawrence too, and ‘The Hunger Games’ was partly to blame for my shift in opinion of her. 

Beside, this also stars Kate Winslet, and I’ve been in love with her since forever so I’ll stoop to watching just about anything in order to see her school everyone around her.

It’s a shame that ‘Divergent’ is a ridiculous, lazy, halfhearted, underdeveloped and over stylized absolute mess of a film, because it had the makings of something that could have been halfway decent and yet, well, this was outright awful.


Quick, squish her before she escapes!
I have so many issues with this film that I’m not even sure where I should begin.  I felt almost ashamed to be hating every second of this film, because I was in a room with my best friend and his wife and my wife and his brother and his brother’s wife and they were all kind of glued to the screen and loving this movie and I was hiding in the corner of the couch Tweeting about how awful this movie was.  I mean, I had this awkward smile on my face the entire film because I couldn’t for the life of me understand how anyone could find this remotely entertaining in a serious fashion. 

It was comical in its depiction of teen life and almost reminded me of a modern-day set Nicholas Sparks adaptation (because he just CANNOT write for modern culture).  It all feels so put on and overtly obvious.  The depiction of the Dauntless felt so early 90’s, but not in a good way.  Think ‘Hook’ and then laugh because they are serious with this mess.  I also couldn’t really care much for the film’s description of futuristic life and those factions mostly because it felt so ‘Hunger Games’ lite.  Like, we’ve seen all of this before done much better, and while I can’t say that ‘The Hunger Games’ is a relatively smart piece of literature (because, well, come on), the film (and the novel, to a degree) understands the absurdity and uses it as an advantage, dissecting it in order to present a near satire at current pop culture.  ‘Divergent’ is almost too serious minded to be taken seriously as much of anything, and it is so stale in its presentation, thanks to an absolutely lifeless performance by Woodley. 

Don't miss!
I wanted to shoot myself about three minutes in while Woodley was talking at me, explaining what her world was like.

I don’t care.

Shut up.

Please turn this off.

The production values aren’t any better, really.  I mean, so much of this was so obviously shot against a green screen that it becomes awkward to watch (that train jumping scene, both of them, were just preposterous and ugly to watch).  No one is remotely interesting, and the pointless backstory created feels wasted on this film.  I understand that this is the beginning of yet another trilogy, but at least give us something to care about here.  Instead, we have visions of beatings that aren’t explored and a family that feels divided almost immediately, for no reason presented at all.  It doesn’t help that the only performance here with any real life is Miles Teller, who has a thankless ‘bully’ role and is pretty much abandoned halfway through only to get a small shot at more screen time in the end.

Winslet does fine here, truly, but her villain couldn’t be more bland.

I guess that is the bottom-line here; this movie (story, book, whatever) is so incredibly bland.  There isn’t anything interesting at play here.  The story feels borrowed, heavily.  The ideas feel marginally developed, with no real spice or detail.  The characters are one note and disengaged.  The performances are a bore, the music is so horribly overplayed and overbearing (like, SHUT THAT MUSIC OFF, PLEASE!) and the finale is so swift it feels horribly lazy and almost rushed.

Hurry, move the net!
Another real issue I have here is the amount of time it takes to get to the point.  This is probably the film’s largest downfall, because by the time we actually get to the actual ‘Divergent’ issue, we’ve already checked out.  Who cares?  Who’s still paying attention?  I wasn’t, or at least I wish I wasn’t.  I mean, I understand that this is building a foundation for more films to come, but taking over an hour to get to the meat of the story was wasted celluloid and created content that felt like filler, and if your film is filled with 50% filler then you have a real problem.

I give this an F.  Yup.  I don't care.  Bring it haters.  This was such a wasted film.  I hope I don't get roped into seeing the follow-up films, but something tells me that I might.

16 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I actually really liked this haha.Honestly, I thought this wasn't bad at all. It's by no means perfect and feels like its missing something. Shailene Woodley was great, I was worried she'd be too weak to take on this kind of role, but I found her to be utterly convincing. I think a lot of it is due to the training portion of the film (which is most of the film), and I was really invested in her journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, and so did everyone else I saw this with, so maybe I'm really missing something. I was just so bored!!!

      Delete
  2. I'm getting tired of this YA film genre. I like Shailene Woodley as an actress but I ain't seeing this shit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just find her so dull...and all of these YA adaptations look like the same film.

      Delete
  3. My daughters have already mandated that we will watch this soon. Not looking forward to it at all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I saw this back in April, and whilst I didn't hate it as much as you, it was still pretty bad. Woodley isn't too bad an actress, she was pretty good in The Spectacular Now.

    My main issue with Divergent was how many characters there were which had no introduction of any kind. I think at one point a character dies and I thought "was he a character? I don't remember him". But apparently him dying was a big thing and the movie just skimmed over why that was - maybe I should read the book ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES!!! I was struggling to understand why I was supposed to care about anyone, or even remember them. This was severely under-developed.

      Woodley is just really dull to me. I mean, I liked her alright in The Spectacular Now, but her performance in The Descendants was atrocious, and she basically did nothing in this film, at all. She's just so bland. Her voice, her face, her acting. There's nothing there to be interested in.

      Delete
  5. I didn't hate it as much as you did, but this movie really was terrible. My issues mainly were with the characters, and how they don't seem to be believable. If I didn't read the book, I might not even gotten the essence of some parts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I should have read the book first...or maybe I should have just avoided this altogether.

      Delete
  6. LOL. This movie did not look the least bit interesting to me. (A dystopian future where you're only allowed to have one personality trait? really?) Your review seems to back up my theory that Woodley is only a good actress if the material given to her is good. She doesn't seem capable to elevate bad material into a decent performance. (That's why she was so good in The Descendants and so awful in Secret Life of the American Teenager)

    I can relate to watching a movie with a bunch of friends that are loving it, and live tweeting how awful it is in the corner. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the concept here was so underdeveloped. It just made such little sense, and it felt like the film itself was uninterested in its own plot points.

      Delete
  7. Yeah I'm not touching this one :) I really like Winslet but there are limits.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Haha, I didn't hate it, but my expectations were low going in. :/

    ReplyDelete