ByAlan Mehanna, writer at
Lebanese American. Screenwriting MFA. Teacher. Writer. Actor. Dreamer.
Alan Mehanna

When word first got out that the Veronica Roth series was joining the ranks of Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games I immediately took to the web to learn more about the novels and the overall story-arc (book purists and spoiler-phobes let out your shrieks now).

I was unimpressed.

It felt like Ms. Roth was trying to mix too much into one storyline - much like Christopher Paolini did with Eragon (Star Wars + Lord of the Rings). Once the first film was released, however, I did end up screening it in the hopes that its transformation into a film would translate the story arc better.

Alas, it was not as good as I had hoped it would be.

This lead me to screen Insurgent, the second installment in the series, and to put it plainly it was a disaster.

Tris: What are you doing here?
Four: You die, I die.

I think a part of me did die.

Insurgent is an utterly over-predictable, lackluster sequel that diverges from the proper paradigm of storytelling. Not only is the film's protagonist completely unlikeable, she is also quite dull as a character. In fact, the film's only intriguing characters (Jeanine and Eric) are basically *SPOILER* killed off (which is in fact the only two unpredictable and aggravating events that occured).

Jeanine: We are all that's left of humanity.

The film's first act was probably it's strongest starting off with an action sequence with Eric leading the soldiers of Erudites to Amity in order to find Tris and company. Their escape from Amity and onto a train was the only part of the film that engaged me as a viewer. The story's paradigm just went downhill from there.

I felt bad for the esteemed actors that joined the cast for this film. Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, and Kate Winslet to name a few. They were barely given the opportunity to shine in their weakly written roles. Some of those pieces of dialogue were just cringe-worthy.

Four: Congratulations mother. You got your war.

The film's use of CGI is cheap and very noticeable. The last fly-over shot of all the people walking towards the wall, a la Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt, looked like a cartoon. And I am sorry but it is no longer acceptable for a film in 2015 to have such noticeable chroma key.

Tris: Once a stiff, always a stiff.

Final thoughts on this film is that for me not every best selling young adult series is capable of being translated properly on the screen - Twilight and this series are proof enough. They may do well in the box office but let's be honest - do we need films like this to be made? What makes series like, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner better films is the fact that they are simply better stories - which brings me to the point I constantly make to my students - a film's most important aspect is it's story.


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