Movie Review: The Divergent Series: Insurgent


I enjoyed the first movie in this series, Divergent. Based on the first novel in Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA series, it boasted good casting, energetic direction by Neil Burger, creative envisioning of Chicago after an apocalypse, and a tight screenplay. All these elements helped make it a decent, entertaining effort.

The second book in the series, Insurgent, is not as strong a novel as Divergent. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess, with a very convoluted plot and a lot of new and unmemorable characters introduced, some killed off before you got a chance to care about them (or even remember their names).

The third book is a complete miss. I wrote about why I disliked Allegiant in a detailed and spoiler-filled review here.

Still, I had hopes that when it came to the subsequent films, the filmmakers would expand on what worked in the other two books and fix what didn’t. A not-good book doesn’t automatically mean a not-good film. (Ever read the novel The Godfather? Jaws? The movie versions are much, much better.)

Unfortunately, now in the hands of director Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) the movie not only doesn’t fix the problems of the book, it actually highlights them–and adds even more.

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Mini-Reviews of Books I’ve Enjoyed Lately

Looking over the review I posted for Veronica Roth’s Allegiant a couple of weeks ago, I realized it’s such a negative one that it may have given the impression I’m a Nelly Negative, which can’t be further from the truth. In fact, over the last couple of months I’ve read some terrific books and thought I’d share some mini-reviews: 1. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King – This long-awaited sequel to The Shining follows the troubled adulthood of Danny (now Dan) Torrance, the boy who survived the father possessed by demonic ghosts while his family was snowed in at the Overlook … Continue reading Mini-Reviews of Books I’ve Enjoyed Lately

Book Review: The Twelve By Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin is the second of his post-apocalyptic/vampire trilogy. The first book in the trilogy is The Passage. I wrote a spoilerific analysis of one of the major characters in The Passage a while back. This review will refrain from divulging any major spoilers. That makes it very difficult to write this review, because, boy, are there some huge surprises in this book. Most sequels pick up where the last book left off, but that doesn’t quite happen with The Twelve. Cronin finds a clever way to bring readers back up to speed in the beginning (I … Continue reading Book Review: The Twelve By Justin Cronin

Subjective vs. Objective When Writing Reviews

Has this ever happened to you? You pick up a book, or watch a movie or TV show that has received rave reviews, from friends, professional critics and internet posters–and you don’t like it.  At all. You don’t get it.  You can’t understand what everyone else is flipping out over. Of course, it happens to everyone.  The sitcom Seinfeld even devoted an episode to it when Elaine couldn’t understand why everyone else thought The English Patient was a great movie. This happened to me again just the other day.  I was seeing rave reviews for Gillian Flynn‘s new book Gone … Continue reading Subjective vs. Objective When Writing Reviews