Ten Ways to Fix The Divergent Series: Divergent, Insurgent, Detergent, Allergent.
1) Better hair. I swim in the straight world, so I’m no follicle scientist, but turning Shailene Woodley into a professional softball player is just mean. It’s like cutting the corn off a unicorn. And yeah, geniuses, I get the metaphor, she’s all Gone Girl, a new woman, not to be trifled with, because she has NO MO’ HAIR. But this is ridiculous. Just sport Kill Bill pigtails or a Kung Fu Panda-style topknot. Those styles are way more awesome than the bob. Speaking of, even her short cut looks like it was done by a salon. She’s out fighting a guerrilla war! Where did she get that cut, bro?! How did she get those streaks and that color treatment in there??!
2) Actual sex scenes. Clearly Four and Tris have a chemistry that can’t be beat, so let’s just take this to Rail City (population: two). Do we really think the teens don’t know about sex? Are there a bunch of nine-year-olds watching dystopian YA fiction? It’s called YOUNG ADULT fiction, and trust me when I say the kids are up to a fair amount of shenanigans. Wait, no, don’t trust me. I only know what I see on “60 Minutes” with the snapchatting and the sexting. But yeah, let’s not cut the only exciting scene in the movie down to eight seconds of moderate male chest exposure.
3) More face tats. Pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re going to the trouble of full-on body art just go ahead and rock some Maori warrior action too. They could have like an “Exit Only” with an arrow on the cheek pointing mouthward for the tough kids, or a “Your Dauntless Mom Makes My Amity Mom Look Like an Erudite” for the “Yo Momma” crowd. Okay, that was an “in” Divergent faction joke, so I don’t expect you to get it. But the YAs out there are virtually high-fiving me. Believe that.
4) Better music. Vince brought this one up, but it’s still genius: not featuring “Urgent” by Foreigner is just a massive miss. Let’s watch it together, glorious horn section and all.
Why not remix this with Ludacris and make it “(Div” Urgent?) If that’s not a top 40 hit than I’m not on the TSA watch-list.
5) More Watts-on-Winslet action. They share the screen (SPOILERS) for about five and a half seconds. They are clearly the best actors the series has to offer (Sorry, Ashley Judd, don’t sue me) so let them play. Chew the scenery. Really find the marrow of the Divergent Series. Couldn’t hurt. Better than the alternative of having them stutter a few words and then shuffle off stage left.
6) LOGIC. This newest film has zero logic. The first one was just plain dumb, like a kid who runs into walls, but this version is the 9th-grader who knows everything, only he’s got it all terribly wrong. For instance, there’s this faction called Candor, and they are all about, sigh, the truth. Why not call them the Honestamatrons? Fair point. Moving on, this Candor faction has all these tools to make people be honest, so they could easily get to the bottom of the whole conspiracy that frames the series. Yet, they pretty much don’t. And even when they do, they pretty much shrug it off with a, “Eh, whaddya gonna do?”
The internal motivations of these factions seem to be based on who can ruin their lives the quickest, which makes it odd when it comes time to wanting to see them saved. It feels like, “just let those fools perish”. The farmer faction, or whatever they are called, keep right on raising crops even after the smart faction teams up with the warrior faction and does a SWAT team style raid on them. At some point farmers would say, “Okay, enough is enough” and realize they have access to a couple tons of fertilizer. That’s all I’m saying, make the rationales reasonable, as they largely are in Hunger Games.
7) How about a self-assured female? All of these YA series fall into this trap, the girls involved are all paper mache ( Papier-mâché if you’re fancy). Even Katniss is always questioning and crying and singing soulful tunes. Don’t even get me started on Bella. Tris, here, is in the warrior clan, and straight up mercs people, but she’s plagued by it. I get some PTSD, I’m there with her, but I don’t get why she’s not more confident in the moment. She struggles with everything. She’s got less confidence than the North Korean stock market (I don’t know if that’s a real thing, Vince please check).
8) More Hogwarts! How difficult is this people?! It’s where all the factions train! I wanna see Dumbledore!
9) A recap. For most franchises this would be superfluous, but the Divergent series is so thin that it’s impossible to remember anything about the plots as soon as you leave the theater. With my life on the line I couldn’t tell you five things that happened in The Divergent Series: Divergent. Insurgent is fading fast too. So help us out, just say, “Last episode, in this horrible franchise …” Like a montage, but up front. A frontage.
10) Decent villains. Finally, even after the silly factions, the bad people are just bad. There’s been an evolution in cinema over the past decades, where the villains actually have a few decent points. Think Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins or Phil Seymour Hoffman in Mission Impossible. Villains are far more scary when their motives are just a few inches off of reasonable. Just wanting to round people up and kill them is a very four generations ago idea, and it was pummeled IRL back then too. Let’s make Kate Winslet into a day trader or some of the Dauntless traitors into former SpecOps soldiers. Why not? It’s not like any of this matters as art. Might as well try a couple things. They’re gonna make a zillion dollars no matter what they do, so let’s just fix this franchise up, especially because we have a few left. Summit and Lionsgate, it’s not too late for you guys to become studios of substance. C’mon, meet us halfway. Join the fixin’ faction.
Laremy is on Twitter and he read the books too so don’t even try it.