All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The much-hyped adaptation of the Veronica Roth YA novel about an independent teen gal who’s a threat to the government of a post-war dystopian future society.
Sound familiar? No coincidence this is planned to be “the next HUNGER GAMES”. A century after “the great war”, Chicago (and other cities?) is walled off and the citizens are divided into five “factions”: Abnegation (The Selfless), Erudite (The Intelligent–ironically mispronounced “ery-uh-dite” by some of the “intelligent”), Dauntless (The Brave/soldiers), Amity (The Peaceful) and Candor (The Honest). Those who don’t conform to classification are “Divergent”, i.e., uncontrollable and therefore “dangerous.”
Written by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor; Directed by Neil Burger.
- Definitely hits the demographic and plays to their needs. Typical teens who feel they don’t belong will identify with “Tris” (the heroine, mercifully nicknamed from Beatrice, possibly the most boring and bland chick name in teen movie history) and her divergent pals.
- Even in the next century, the Sears Tower and other Chi-town landmarks will apparently still be standing, relatively unchanged.
- The suspense, once developed, is good at holding interest.
- Kate Winslet is a good “love to hate her” villain. Also looks like she has a nice rack, although we don’t get to see any of it.
- Speaking of boobs, some of the punching bags look pretty Freudian. Or maybe I just see boobies everywhere.
- Ashely Judd can be pretty badass. (The photos of Winslet and Judd are not from the film, but these are way better.)
- The star, Shailene Woodley, is attractive but not perfect. She’s hot enough to make teen boys drool, but average enough fer th’ goils to identify and sympathize with (and like her). Notice especially, during the mirror scene, she has the Alfred E. Newman “one eye lower than the other” thing going on. She does look good in the undies shot as well as from the back. (Too young for the Bru-man, of course, but I gotta let my teen homies know what to expect.)
- Her hunky co-star, Theo James as Four (no relation to 9 of the movie of the same name, or Number Two from THE PRISONER), is not only good at an American accent, but will be a hit with all the straight girls and gay guys in the crowd.
- Some interesting concepts explored, regarding societal rules, mores and government, though only superficially. Same with the cool biological/technological developments.
- Most of the bullies get theirs.
- The mental haloose–err, you know, like a mirage? [From Mike: he means “hallucinatory”] tests are the most interesting/fascinating part. Also, a few vicarious thrills with jumping, climbing and catching trains.
- As far as I could tell, no obvious corporate placements.
- Because it’s for teens, it’s pretty squeaky-clean. In the future, teens (and adults) do not swear. (Um, yeah.) They also don’t have sex, watch TV, play organized sports, or shed a lot of blood. (Though some of the fight scenes do get pretty brutal, at least from a gender standpoint.)
- Also in future Chicago, there are apparently no Asians, Filipinos, Native Americans, churches, artists, writers, comedians, musicians, actors, athletes or entertainers of any kind. (You’d think “Candor” would be good for comedy, but no.)
- Worse, nobody is shown with any personal electronics, a cell phone or any other kind of communication device. Yeah, RIGHT! Any doofus observing our society now, with the explosion of social media and the obsession with celebrity, could do a better job of predicting the future. Gimme a break.
- After over a hundred years of progress, the cars still look like they’re from the 1980s, mainly four-door sedans with pop-up door locks! They sound like they run on turbines or something other than gas, but who decided that automotive design would go backwards? [From Mike: Was anyone in the production design even aware of Syd Mead?]
- This flick suffers from the same problem as ENDER’S GAME (which yours truly reviewed here), namely waaaay too much set-up. The trailer makes you think most of the film is about an army of Divergents being chased by the government and fighting back, but that doesn’t even begin until nearly two-thirds in! And the “army” looks like about a half dozen.
- When the teens come of age and choose a faction, they have to cut themselves with a big knife and drip their blood into a huge bowl. Apparently ALL WITH THE SAME KNIFE. I didn’t see any alcohol or peroxide or anything. Do you have any idea how unsanitary that would be? At least twenty percent of those idiot kids would die of blood diseases before their 19th birthdays!
- Beatrice has no fear. Nor much personality either. She doesn’t show any real emotion until near the end, and even tho things get worse for her from there, she goes back to being Spock-like. No-spoilers, but let’s just say Dad doesn’t even get a friggin’ hug!
- They say the Dauntless folks are charged with “protecting the city”…from who and/or what? Yes, from each other (despite no mention of crime), but what was is the giant wall for? When one character asks what’s beyond it, another says, “Amity farms?” The other says, “Beyond that.” The only reply is something like, “No one knows. Remnants of before the war.” So in other words…the city places its main food source OUTSIDE the protective wall? WTF good is that? I’m sure more will be explained the two or more sequels of the trilogy, but at least give us somethin’.
- Da Bears are not in da future. Nor are da Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs or White Sox.
Okay, I am not the intended audience for this film. But I wasn’t for THE HUNGER GAMES either, and I still found that entertaining. [From Mike: for what it’s worth, my wife liked this better. But I’m with Bru.] You get the feeling there is a LOT more in the book that was left out. If you’re over 29, wait till this is on free TV, record it, watch the first 10 minutes of exposition/character introduction and then fast forward to about half-way through. You’ll thank me.
P.S.: Pascale can draw hot teens, normal teens, sexy babes or ugly old men to suit every taste.Get your own original to hang on yer wall or give to a bud. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Chicagoans of the future, present or past. Bru-Hed took the faction test and it said he was only good for drinking beer and doing laundry. Look for him in the exciting sequel, DETERGENT!