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Chiprocks1

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Divergent (2014)
« on: March 15, 2015, 06:26:32 am »

I knew about Divergent, but I just chose to avoid it for as long as possible because I saw it as nothing more than a Hunger Games knock-off from the initial Trailer. I only ended up with a DVD copy because there was nothing else available from the library. As I said, it's a Hunger Games clone, but even Divergent f*cked that up. The director, producer, writer all had the blueprint staring them right in the face and they still can't get it right. How the f*ck is that even possible? Hunger Games isn't the best movie out there and has plenty of flaws, but they at least knew how to set up their movie the right way and tell a story, which made watching HG easier to go down. With Divergent, it's the complete opposite. The plot places such a huge premium on "making the right choice" when deciding what social class they are joining, but there is no consequence of said choice. How am I suppose to give a f*ck when they don't even set it up beforehand when one makes the "wrong choice". So when Tris and her brother make their picks, I couldn't have cared less because there was nothing behind it. It just was. This is NOT how to start a movie.

I won't say the movie is pointless, but it's definitely aimless. So, the entire plot is basically training to stay (or be chosen to stay) in Dauntless. Okay....but what's the objective beyond that? I get that Dauntless are the "protectors" of the city. But where's the threat? Where is the 'Big Bad" that makes having this Parkour Clique a necessity? Sure, we eventually learn that Kate Winslet is the villain in all this and is building an Army, but her objective to eliminate "free will from society" is still as empty as the movie itself. Saying you want to fix human nature is one thing, but at least give us the reason why this is so f*cking important to HER character. What does she have to gain from this other than keeping society in order? There is no clear objective for anyone in the movie. Even Tris doesn't know why she even f*cking chose to join Dauntless in the first place. What does that tell ya? Can't recommend this at all. Skip.
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Chiprocks1

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2015, 06:27:15 am »
Divergent DVD Screencaaps

Coming soon...
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Neumatic

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 10:33:06 pm »
Didn't we already talk about this?  I know Mac saw it and I went on a long rant about it.  I thought you'd already seen this.

Chiprocks1

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2015, 11:34:21 pm »
Nope. First time. Post a link to your review so that I can check it out. Same goes to Mac, gimme a link.
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Neumatic

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 02:22:11 am »
No, we did.  You asked for it, buddy, here's everything I wrote (I had to search for that middle one, I realized I didn't have the movie title in the message!

ONE

It's so f*cking stupid.  Everything is arbitrary and pointless. 

Right off the bat, there's this voice-over that tells us about the caste system, and that there's people with no caste.  "Everyone knows where they belong... except me."  You JUST SAID there are other people who don't belong! This is THREE minutes in!

And nothing happens!  You know what happens when you have a movie all about training?  It means THERE'S NO STAKES!  I don't care about ANYTHING that's happening right now.

I am digging the production design though, especially the clothes.



TWO


This movie p*ssed me off so much I HAD to get through it.  The big problem this movie had was that everything in it was arbitrary and meaningless.  Unlike Harry Potter or Hunger Games, there was no reason for anything in the movie to be the way it was.  I could have sworn I posted my rant about this flick up here before, but since I didn't:

Every important thing in the movie, I just thought "...why?" That one guild was going to brainwash the peacekeepers and take over the city. Why?  What were the bad guys planning on doing that was going to be so different than the way things were currently being run?  And it seems to me that if you have an army full of adrenaline junkie teenagers vying for an actual war, it would be pretty easy to get them to take over.  Maybe they would just want to because they're *ssholes who only know how to fight.

The train NEVER stops. WHY!?  When you see the army guys jump off the train at the start, you think "oh, that shows that they're ballsy and exciting" but no, it's because that stupid train NEVER STOPS.  What is the POINT of a train that doesn't stop?

You choose what guild you're in at 18, without ANY experience or information, and you have to stay there forever. WHY?  And it's not like the sorting hat in Harry Potter, where you're selected based on characteristics you might not be aware of, you get to pick yourself!  And they said most kids stay with their own guild, like, 99% of the time, so why is it even worthy of a ceremony?  There's not even like a freakin' career day or anything like that.  What if the kids had to spend a month in each of the five guilds to see how it works, then they pick?  Or the guilds make an offer, like an NBA draft?

This is supposed to feel like The Hunger Games, I guess, but the Hunger Games started really simply:  Katniss volunteers to take part in a competitive slaughter to spare her little sister from having to go through it.  Simple.  High stakes.  Whatever the h*ll is going on here?  Not simple.  Stakes feel low, interest is VERY low.  I could give two sh*ts about what happens to any of these characters.  Especially because it's training.  F*CK action movies where it's all training.  You know why?  Because training means "this sh*t doesn't really count."  F*ck you!  If it's a movie, it should count!  No one really dies in this movie, one or two might to show that sh*t's getting intense, but Hunger Games?  22 kids die, and you meet them, and you don't want some of them to die (and you don't want the *sshole ones to kill the sweet ones). 

The army guys really annoyed me, because they couldn't distinguish between brash behaviour and unacceptable risks.  "Hey, go get your knife while everyone is throwing knives in that same direction."  How about no?  I'll go into the line of fire to rescue a baby, but that's a baby and the enemy is throwing knives and won't stop.  Here?  That's just a f*cking knife and I can wait three minutes for everyone else to stop.  That's a simple risk/benefit analysis I did there.  Also, if I was in a situation where I desperately needed a knife, I would not throw it away.  All this training is doing is teaching me how to dispose of something in the most violently effective way possible.  I'm only going to throw away my knife once I'm certain I don't need the knife anymore, so retrieval is a very low priority for me.  Especially when there are other knives whizzing about.

Okay, here's one: they had this leaderboard thing, only the top 21 recruits would be accepted. That's so arbitrary

What if you had a lousy year and only 7 people were qualified, would you take on 14 unqualified people because they were still in the top teir?  What if there was a person who came in 22nd on year, but scored the same as someone who came in 15th another year... would HE be kicked out?  If it's a dead man's boots kind of thing, do you have to keep requalifying every couple of years?  Is that why there's no old people in the army?

And they keep threatening to cast you out of your guild, but it's not like the guildless people are thrown out into the wilderness to become cannibals, they're just kind of downtrodden homeless.

And WHY are there homeless people if there are empty skyscrapers EVERYWHERE?  Insert problem A into problem B, then go get a drink.

And you can't threaten the main character with that and make it effective because she's kind of Amish, she's used to living a selfless life with very little. She would be FINE.  And since her old guild already helps the homeless people all the time, she'd be back with her family, essentially.  If she was a spoiled aristocrat, THEN there'd be something interesting going on.


THREE

I've actually heard decent things about the Maze Runner, but I also turned down free tickets to see it.  Mostly b/c if I do see it, I want to be able to take notes and caps, which I obviously can't do in a theater (not that I'd want to).

These movies suck, but as a SF fan as well as a masher, I like trying to find "parts" in them and there were some good ones here, mostly costumes and locations like The Pit.







Story-wise, though, it was annoying because everything was so arbitrary and pointless.  They have a train that runs and but doesn't stop.  WHAT THE F*CK IS THAT?

Your caste is picked for you, but you have to choose, and most people wind up in the caste they were born in... so what does it matter?  She could have just CHOSEN her caste in the first five minutes and saved us a WHOLE heap of time!  And it's not like you can try out these lifestyles beforehand and make an informed choice, it's pick something and deal with it, no backsies, which is about the stupidest f*cking way to do anything.

Also, okay, so Shailene Woodley joins this stupid daredevil military group called Dauntless, which is the army, despite not showing a SINGLE ounce of interest in daredevilry or talent for fighting or sense of injustice or ANYTHING.  They're told the group are the peacekeepers for the society, but... the society seems fine!  The point of the caste system was to make it a utopia because each caste looks out for the others.  There's NOTHING for them to do INSIDE the city, and there's no outside invaders.   They say there COULD be, but it's been over a hundred years since they heard from anyone.  There's no sense of foreboding about that or anything.

They keep making this big hoopla (or hoop-blah) about the caste-less people, but... the casteless people just look like homeless vagabonds.  I don't think I saw them NOT getting help in the form of food and goods and whatnot from everyone else.   There's abandoned skyscrapers EVERYWHERE, so I guarantee they all have roofs over their heads at night too!  It's not like they're dangerous outlaws like Reavers or anything.  They're not even exiled, which would have ACTUALLY been an interesting stake.  One character commits suicide rather than risk getting cut from the team and be casteless.

Oh, THAT'S a problem too: of all the people they take in, they'll only accept 21 people.  Instead of scoring on a percentage system, they'll throw out perfectly good candidates (or accept really terrible ones) based on everyone else's performance.

And these Dauntless idiots don't understand the difference between an acceptable dumb teenage thing to do, like hopping on a moving train, and stupid pointless risks like jumping through empty roofs, standing in front of people throwing knives, etc.  There's almost NO adults in this caste, and I guarantee it's because they all killed themselves doing stupid Jack*ss stunts.  They sure as sh*t weren't being killed in the line of duty.

AND there's a whole thing about mind-controlling drugs to.
WHY!?
If you're locked into the caste system and believe it, wouldn't you ALREADY be easily manipulated?  Isn't an army with nothing to do, that DOESN'T question orders, ready to obey the bad guy without being doped?

Oh, and this movie also commits the big sin of the main character being special and everyone telling her that she is and how special it is that she's special.  Because a test said so.  F*CK YOU!  You know what makes someone special?  ACTION.  DOING SOMETHING.  STANDING FOR SOMETHING.  Being special because of a test reminds me of Penn Jillette's bit about horoscopes being racist: you're assigning an arbitrary value and qualities to someone based on how they were born.

Even though I don't really dig The Hunger Games, at least THAT movie had dramatic tension and made sense: Katniss is special because she hasn't been dehumanized by the system.  She's special because she VOLUNTEERS for the games to save her sister, which is a practical demonstration of the main dramatic issue of the story:  sacrifice two kids NOW or we'll kill all your kids.  That's the thing that audiences reacted to.  So many YA dystopia novels don't have that, they have arbitrary rules and screwed up societies, but they don't FORCE an issue like that.  Divergent is just "make an arbitrary decision NOW because I said so."
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 02:32:34 am by Neumatic »

Chiprocks1

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2015, 06:47:30 am »
A day or two after writing my thoughts on the movie,  I did random searches just to see what other people thought of the movie and to my surprise I was finding more 'positive' reviews than negative ones. And of the ones that thought it was bad, they would just say "it sucks" and not elaborate on it. Of those that liked the movie, I began to wonder if they even picked up on the obvious faults in the movie. It's so blatantly loaded with flaws that I would assume anyone with no knowledge of storytelling would still be able to pick up on it. Clearly I was wrong to make that kind of assumption. So, it's cool to see that you and I have a clear understanding why this movie failed and zeroed in on those specific flaws, ones that apparently those that rate this movie very high can't see at all. Still scratching my head as to how anyone would say this movie is worthy of anything, especially time spent on it.
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Mac

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 07:31:27 am »
So the ones that said it was good, did they elaborate? Iím guessingÖ No.

I still say itís the sad state of the culture today. People just donít care to put much thought in whatís around them. Yea, this movie is greatÖ while Iím texting my friends, having other thoughts.

You enjoyed the movie.
Yea, it was great
It was? What was so good.
(Crickets)

Life is pretty shallow for folks. I donít mean to generalize, but that seems to be my observations around me. Things are fleeting. What Iím currently doing is the best thing ever. But wait, whatís the next best thing.
Short attention span.

I have to admit, you guys put some pretty serious thought into your observations. And you write them down. Whereas I donít come near the level you guys do.


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Neumatic

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2015, 11:14:38 am »
Well, to be fair, I benefit from the notes: learning what makes a movie work and what doesn't helps me plan out my own stories.  Dissecting why something doesn't work really helps because I try to figure out how it could, it gives me things to play with. 

What sucks is that I heard the second one is better but I can't trust that.  The only way I'd give it my time is if I knew I could get more cool parts out of it.

Chiprocks1

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 11:47:31 am »

What sucks is that I heard the second one is better but I can't trust that.  The only way I'd give it my time is if I knew I could get more cool parts out of it.

I saw the trailer for the second one and have seen plenty of TV Spots for the past month and every time I see those Spots, all that comes to mind is that the people behind the movie have decided to make the franchise into something that it was never intended to be. If you are to put the first and second movies together, side by side, they have no connection to each other at all other than the characters. All I'm seeing from the TV Spots is that they have turned it into more Matrix and less Hunger Games. This in itself just tells me that the writer and / or director  does not have a clear vision and is just going with whatever will 'Wow' people to get as many asses into the seats as possible. I have absolutely no desire to see the sequel any time soon.
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Michael Scott To Meredith: "You've slept with so many men, your starting to look like one. BOOM! Roasted! Go here.

Mac

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 12:10:05 pm »
Is the 1st and 2nd by the same director?

Even then, look at Pitch Black & Chronicles of Riddick. Though not books, the stories, look and feel diverge to not even resemble each other. Studio? Same Director? Money?
I'm sure it happens all the time.

We already know how it's a crime studio's take the last book and split it in two, thus making up stuff as they go along.
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Neumatic

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Re: Divergent (2014)
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2015, 03:56:32 pm »
Problem with the upcoming third film: the book is terrible..

 

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