Thursday, August 13, 2015

Holding Out for a Heroine

Hey, how about a really late and totally unsolicited movie review? It’s not timely or topical. You’re welcome! But it is what I watched over the weekend, so there you go. I finally saw “Insurgent,” which I had been relatively-to-pretty interested in seeing since last year’s “Divergent” came out. While the first film wasn’t up to the level of “Hunger Games” (the dystopian young-adult series it will inevitably always be compared to because we have so few female heroines starring in their own film franchises), it was good enough for me to want more. Plus there is Kate Winslet looking immaculately, albeit one-dimensionally, evil.

But now, after seeing the second film, wow, am I bummed out about this series. It’s not that the simplistic nature of these New World Order future fantasy stories that is the problem. Be it Districts of Factions, we all know the things are gonna suck for society until a hero breaks us all free. We get that, that’s how these things work. But what shouldn’t be part-and-parcel with that storyline – simply because the hero in question is female – is a whole lot of emo bullshit.

“Insurgent” took the focus off Tris’ agency and instead placed it all on her angst. I get it, Tris is sad. I get it, Tris feels guilty. I get it, Tris needs to work through her issues. We get it in dream sequences. We get it in virtual reality simulations. We get it in real life. Hell, she even does the standard-issue cutting off of her hair to show deep personal turmoil. It is the opposite yet companion trope to a woman finally taming her curly hair for a sophisticated new do. Blerg.

Our heroes don’t have to be perfect. Nor do they need to be emotionless robots – regardless of the continued commercial success of the “Terminator” series.” But to take a strong character and break her down into a mopey, bad decision machine controlled by her uncontrollable feelings is not what I signed up for. This was more therapy session than action flick. I signed up for a revolution, not some insipid processing.

And thus ends this totally unrequested, incredibly tardy movie review. Fin.


Anonymous said...

I really like Shailene Woodley, she has potential and seems like a nice girl, and (of course) I luuuurve Kate Winslet... But "Insurgent" is a terrible movie, a *really* TERRIBLE movie : a painfully predictable story in an universe that feels like the frankenbaby of several other movies / books / YA franchises, dotted with plotholes the size of a whale, visually unimaginative, generally poorly acted. I will stop there - it's so poor it doesn't deserve losing more time over it.

Please, Shailene, get your act together and *pick* your effing roles - you can't possibly have THAT many taxes to pay ?

Carmen SanDiego said...

Yeah, this movie was such a letdown...

Erin O'Riordan said...

I could barely put the book down, and while the movie does add some cheesy sci-fi-ness (a scanner that tells you what faction you are? But in the first movie, they were free to choose whatever faction they wanted! Are they trying to tell us that genetics is destiny?), I still enjoy the ride that'll lead us up to the fourth and final movie. (Start stockpiling tissues now.)

Tris has PTSD. She lost her parents and was forced to kill a good friend in self defense. Did you SEE Christina's face when she learned Tris killed Will? Heartbreaking!* Emo? Most definitely. Realistic? Unfortunately, yes.

But even with PTSD, she is still my brave Tris, warrior with a heart of gold. Overused heroine trope or no, Tris Prior is still fictional bae.

*By the way, Zoe Kravitz as Christina? Flawless. Petition for Veronica Roth to write us a volume about what becomes of her after - you know.