Second Film in ‘Divergent’ Series Suffers after Director Change

Photo courtesy of Nick Step, Flickr Creative Commons

New franchise director Robert Schwentke of the “Divergent” series, which is inspired by the books of the same name by Veronica Roth, was unable to meet the standards of “Divergent” director Neil Burger in “Insurgent,” the second film of the series.

Schwentke’s efforts did not seem to be geared toward making the fantasy environment feel real in any way. From the opening scene to the last minutes of the film, the movie erred on the side of unbelievable. “Insurgent” is a clear example that great actors and talented department heads cannot save a movie from simple dysfunction.

This installment was noticeably altered from the book, with the script being penned by screenwriters Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback, and in a way suffered from middle movie syndrome.

The plot of the film is pretty generic, easy to understand and dull. All that really needs to be known is that there is a magic box, and it can only be opened by the chosen one. The villain Jeanine (Kate Winslet) makes the chosen one open it. The chosen one turns out to be Tris (Shailene Woodley), a Divergent who much of the world depends on.

“Insurgent” raises the stakes for Tris, as she looks for partners and answers in the ashes of futuristic Chicago. Tris and Tobias Eaton (Theo James) who is also known as Four, are now escapees on the run, being hunted by Jeanine, who is the leader of the Erudite elite, the most power-hungry elite in existence. Competing with time, they need to figure out what Tris’s family had sacrificed their lives to protect and why the leaders of Erudite will do anything in their power to stop them. Haunted by her past choices, yet determined to protect the people she loves, Tris, and Four, face multiple impossible challenges as they piece together the truth about the past and the future of their world.

In spite of the lame plot, one cannot help but notice how committed and talented the cast is.

Woodley, who plays the main character, is very watchable and shows painless chemistry with not one, but all of her co-stars. Her best scene partner is James, who, just like in the first film, is unbearably useless. On the other hand, Miles Teller’s character, Peter, manages to steal every scene he is in, despite being characterized as hopeless.

Overall the film lacked interest. It is a very hackneyed idea that already has a thousand and one variations. The societies in the film are not believable, portraying the idea that the divisions (Erudit, Candor, Dauntless, Abnegation and Amity) are disjointed.

It also lacked visual interest, was dramatically dormant and just overall foolish, despite the fact that it tries to be very serious.