Thursday, April 9, 2015

(Partly) Insurgent Against Insurgent

Ugh, I thought I only got headaches from long 3D movies. Insurgent wasn't long, but I still had a bit of a headache afterwards--and do you know what? It probably wasn't even worth it.

Months ago, I saw the teaser trailer (the one where Tris is saving her mom from the burning building) (probably in 3D) for the movie and thought it didn't look like anything I would want to see. Then, as you know, I watched Divergent last month and really enjoyed it and then read the books. While Insurgent is easily a least favorite just because it's at a sad point in the story, I was still looking forward to the movie. 

And then I was kind of disappointed by it--but not for the same reasons as with the book. With the book, there's a lot of violence and you see Tris at a really low point with a lot of anger and grief that makes her act out not always in the best ways. But I was prepared for that. What bothered me about the movie is that almost all of the character development and interaction is removed. I understand that there are many characters and that they're not all necessary to a two hour movie plot and I do appreciate when a movie can movie toward a single purpose without getting bogged down by less important details. 

But in order to do that with a book to movie adaptation, you have to interpret what is most important about a story. So they made this movie about the interaction between grief and self-image. The grief is definitely part of it and the self/image, too, but I think community and relationships was a big aspect that was barely touched on. It is community and relationships that show Tris that she is appreciated (by Tobias, by Christina, and by other friends and people she knows) and help bring back her confidence and optimism. And what did the movie do with all of these relationships and communities? It glossed over them entirely, in favor of action shots and scenes that often had little to do with anything.

Where is Tobias getting mad at Tris for not telling him sooner about Will? What about his confession that his greatest regret is leaving Abnegation? Where is the reconciliation of Christina with Tris after she admits that it wasn't Tris's fault? Where is the detail about Marcus--the information he knows and Tobias's feelings toward (or should I say against?) him? Uriah is barely in the movie, much less Tris's other friends from Dauntless--and her feeling of being part of Dauntless is important.

And what's this with changing the secret that Abnegation was protecting and the thing that Jeanine is hiding? They both already knew the message: Abnegation wanted everyone to know it and Jeanine didn't want the public to know it because she was afraid of what would happen if their society changed. Given that the faction society is one of the compelling things about this story, I don't take it lightly that this crucial story element is changed. And why does the end of the movie show everyone walking toward the wall when that is most definitely not what happened? Oh, yes, and then there is the removal of Tori's need for vengeance against Jeanine--isn't that also important? True, movies try to keep the focus on the main character and not take too many side journeys, but if there was enough time to add in a long scene of Tris rescuing her mother from a burning, floating building in a simulation, then there is enough time for Tori's story. Yes, this is part action story, but not so much that all it needs are random special effects--special effects that I wasn't even wowing at with my 3D glasses. I just wanted to get back to the story and the characters.

I'm just complaining, I know. But there were some things I liked. I still feel like the movie is well cast and that the actors do a good job with what they're given. The first fewish minutes of the movie were probably my favorite: Amity was well-done. Their clothing, their setting, the way they move and talk. Peter pointing out the rainbow to them was hilarious. And seeing Tobias in a new setting helps to show that even though he played Dauntless well, he isn't entirely Dauntless. The sets were still good. It still looks like a very specific place. So I liked seeing some things, but not necessarily the way the movie played out. Someone please remind me, why is Allegiant going to be two movies when this story works so perfectly as a trilogy and when the movies seem not to be understanding how to portray this story anymore? Sigh.

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