With the Easter holidays in I’ve been a bit slack with getting this review done, and I know, I know, you are clearly on the edge of your seat to find out what I think. To get back in the swing of things post-break I’ll try and keep it concise.
Spectacularly unspectacular is a term as appropriate as it is ambivalent. The genre “Young Adult” isn’t suffering I would say but what it is, is becoming susceptible to over familiarisation. I for one love dystopian fiction and post-apocalyptic setting and films like this (as well as Hunger Games, Maze Runner etc) do an okay job at ramping up the effects to show something interesting and different but our protagonists and antagonists are painfully similar. Teens with a lot of angst, mixed emotions about where they fit into society seems to be a fave. One dimensional bad guys who don’t really have any motive for doing what they want to except for the fact that it’s what they think is right. A set of people who need to be won over… love interests… there’s nothing that original coming out of the genre and this film is no different.
Thank fuck they changed the soundtrack back to classical in this instalment, the use of modern pop just didn’t work in the first one and hurt my brain to think as why anyone would have thought it would be a good idea. Now and again songs can be used instead if used satirically, otherwise, just … NO.
Woodley is good and conveys emotion well…but after a while she just appears to be an emotional wreck…all… the… time. I like range in an actor but this was just over the top at times. All other characters are pretty bland… the colour beige if you will … except Miles Teller, but even some of his actions are baffling and not explained away throughout. The support cast are in a funny place where many of them have out grown their roles where they have become more successful in other films, not that it felt like they didn’t give their all but there certainly wasn’t much added to each of their characters.
A lot of people complained that the first hour was convoluted and too much like the first, I actually thought it was okay and set up the final act in an acceptable way.
The world is very well done. The devastated city-scape has had a lot of high quality rendering applied and did keep me interested when perhaps there was nothing particularly exciting going on. But ultimately there’s nothing you have not seen in a movie before and it’s very predictable. Lots of parallels with The Matrix (being a chosen one, self sacrifice, revolution) are more than apparent, and while being influenced by the sci-fi movie that changed cinema isn’t always a bad thing all I can do is echo that the one thing The Matrix did was be original… this is not.
This isn’t to say don’t see it, the action was pretty good and stepped up in last third when the ‘tests’ started but overall it is just a middle of the road viewing.
Another YA adaptation which is solid without pushing the boundaries. Caught in a catch 22, you either appease the fans of the book or you try and do something to make it work above and beyond the average film. This installment is proof that it is difficult to achieve both.