Joined July 2007

Bernd Talasch doesn’t remember being hatched in a research laboratory in Omaha in the late 1950s so maybe that never happened....

Divergent premiere - Woodley! James! Winslet! Roth!

I’m not going to lie. I’m a grown-a55 guy and to my eyes this appears to be a particularly cynical attempt to manufacture a movie franchise-to-be that falls under the “YA” (young adult) classification. And even as somebody who’s read and liked Hunger Games, and respected if not-entirely-was-sickened-by elements of Twilight… this looks to be the most corporatised rip-off of half-a-dozen better movies. They even have groupings no different to ‘Gryffindor’ and ‘Hufflepuff’ of Harry Potter (I swear I saw four bowls that basically amounted to Hogwarts’ Sorting Hat).

However, I am nothing if not a raging hypocrite with a camera, so I headed down to Leicester Square for the premiere of this possible abomination (until I change my mind and profess it to be not half bad, which there’s every chance of happening). Still… here’s how it went down.

My home away from home. Complete with streetlamps I’d love to steal / purchase duplicates of. Excitingly / ominously, there are premieres scheduled for tomorrow, and on Tuesday (and another elsewhere in London on Wednesday).

So they’re setting up the premiere and my number in the queue is #239 behind a 90% teenage female crowd. I’m not feeling out of place so much as out of time. Is this movie seriously about classifying people on the basis of some kind of hypothetical profiling algorithm? Because unless this is about what facebook and google are already doing, I’m not particularly excited no matter how tight the leather costume Shailene Woodley is wearing on the movie poster (not pictured)

Am I hashtagDivergent? No… I’m deeply cynical about a post-war, post-apocalyptic society that chooses to divide its people into unique, easily-merchandisable logotypes whereby it’s totally freaking obvious which group the heroes/rebels come from. That was the stregth of Hunger Games – Katniss wasn’t from the “hey you’re special district” – she was the hero who rose to combat society’s injustice because she DID, not because some facebook profile threw out ‘hashtag divergent’ to help advertisers sell stuff to her based on her likes and dislikes on social media. And tell the government to keep an eye on her.

I have no idea what this sign means, but before you attack my inability to relate to today’s youth, I just want to let you know that I’d have bet a million dollars that this movie’s soundtrack would have an Ellie Goulding song on it, and you know what the first song they played was to get people excited? Ellie Goulding’s latest. Finger on the pulse, people.

Wait… your movie series has a logo consisting of BIRDS? Well, that’s NOTHING like Hunger Games #mockingjay. Honestly.. are we even bothering to prosecute for copyright infringement or can I just release my “Captain USA” comics and hope Disney/Marvel don’t notice? I’m not saying the books are bad or a copy, but the advertising of the movie suggests they are not concentrating on anything unique about this creation.

“PLEASE SIGN SOMETHING!!! Also… are you even in this movie?” Apparently they expected JJ Abrams to turn up to this thing.

Oh, good. It’s caught on in my section of the crowd, too.

If this is the author of the books (and it is : Veronica Roth) then I’m going to have to be exactly as shallow as I’ve always felt I am and retract many (if not all) of the nasty things I might have suggested I felt about this series. Personally, I think ‘Divergent’ and its sequels sound pretty delightful, empowering and uplifting and I, for one, can’t wait to see it and experience the phenomenon it for myself.

“This new bittorrent server is amazing : I can download the movie AND the books at the same time onto my mobile phone!!”
“Are you sure you should be telling me this? I could have a legal team hiding in the folds of this dress”

“I don’t know how to break this to you, but I’m sure you know from the books that you’re not the guy all the girls are screaming for. Still.. we’ve got some bottles of water over there if you’re thirsty?” Ben Lloyd-Hughes plays Peeta Malark in this movie. Or whatever they’ve named him for this series of books.

“Come on guys. Just because I’m not as good looking as Theo James, doesn’t mean I don’t end up with the girl in the end. Haven’t you read Hunger Games, which this series of books is in no way anything like?”

Lead actress Shailene Woodley has arrived, and her bodyguard is making sure everyone knows about it.

“Hi random stranger. Mind if I hug you?”. I’ve been at the receiving end of a random hug (not from Shailene Woodley, it must be said). Despite being random, they’re still quite nice to receive. Highly recommended. If you can’t get out and see this movie, totally start soliciting hugs from random people. (This advice is not medically or in any other way sanctioned)

Director Neil Burger’s hand looks disproportionately large. In addition to this, he also directed the movie “Limitless” starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro. It was actually quite decent. I recommend watching it in an airport lounge in Tokyo after you’ve been awake for 22hours+. It’s quite the profound experience. As is acute sleep deprivation.

“Hmmm… I don’t think this is a clever work of fanfiction as much as it is a copy of the book ‘Divergent’. Are you sure you should be asking me to sign it?” Director Neil Burger looks confused at how autographing stuff works..

Good news. If that screaming you’re hearing is coming from you and you’re female, that means you’ve just realised that Theo James has entered your part of the crowd. I assume he plays whatever role Liam Hemsworth plays in The Hunger Games in this movie.

OMG it’s Theo James, and at this range if you’re not staring into his dreamy eyes (or in my case admiring his tie) you’ll notice his hair is brown, whereas Hemsworth The Younger’s is much darker. They’re totally different. Totally.

It’s Kate Winslet! Our reciprocal flirtation enters its fourth or fifth year. She’s married and has a kid now. But I have neither so I think there’s a chance, no?

“I love it. Here, let me give you my phone number. Please don’t share it with anyone or use it to have prank pizza deliveries made to it”

Although we never married (or even dated), Kate Winslet and I have shared many ‘moments’ at various premieres and events, including but not limited to “Revolutionary Road” and the “2010 Baftas”. I’m not sure why we didn’t end up together, in retrospect. I think my photography might have come between us. Or my overactive imagination.

“Hey, could you check and see if my jumper has slid all the way up to my neck? It would be totally embarrassing if everyone could see my blue underwear” Shailene Woodley was in “The Descendants” with George Clooney. She plays Katniss in this movie. Oh.. .I’m sorry. Her character’s name is “Tris” because that sounds nothing like Katniss.

“Seriously? Because I can feel a breeze, man”

“Miss? I don’t want to seem forward but would you marry me?”
“Sorry, I’m actually already married”
“… and that’s why I qualified it with ‘I don’t want to seem forward’ "
It’s a bold strategy. I like it.

“I’m going to stand here and say nothing until you admit that your criticism of this movie is invalid since you haven’t in fact seen it” Bah. Next you’ll expect me to watch more of those awful Percy Jackson films just so I can hold an opinion on that franchise.

“Honestly, if you could just smile at one of our lenses, we’ll make sure to share it around. Please”

“Don’t listen to them – please smile at ours” Now that’s just being greedy.

I’ve watched “Wanted”. those blown kisses can go round corners like bullets.

“I’ll pass these spec scripts on to Jim, but I’ll be honest that Titanic sequel is looking less and less likely”

“They optioned all nine of the books and if we get Peter Jackson onboard he can turn the last three into a separate nine-film ordeal!!” Well… there is precedent.

Meanwhile, when not playing ‘Tris’ in the however-many-movies-we-can-stretch-the-books-out-to Divergent films, Shailene Woodley also makes the odd trip to Mordor to throw Sauron’s used jewellery down volcanoes.

“Am I hashtag Divergent? What the hell does that mean?? Oh. Right. The movie I’m in” It’s a mistake anyone can make.

“Yeah, we shared a moment, both at “Revolutionary Road” and soon after at the “Baftas” but then I met this guy with the surname “Rocknrolla” and I naturally assumed he was that guy, so I married him" So that’s where I went wrong. I chose the wrong surname.

“I think the word ‘derivative’ is uncalled for. I mean… all literature is essentially about good, evil, systems for repression, classification of people into groups, and one young woman taking control of her destiny” Sure, I’d agree with that assessment, but Dr Seuss’ ‘Cat in the Hat’ pretty much smashed that paradigm, so I don’t see why this movie can’t.

“Now you’re sure all those screams are for me? Because my ego’s getting a boost here, and I don’t want it to be under false pretenses”

“Until that policeman literally draws his gun I can’t show you all the hardcore ninja stuff I learned in the making of this movie, Laura…”

Well… I guess I’ll see it eventually when it hits VHS or free-to-air television or something.

Oh, and excitingly Leicester Square hosted ANOTHER premiere before Divergent, and it was for Rio2 – no cast attended, but there were some celebs, among them:

Comedian Bill Bailley….

… and the culturally significant Bill Oddie.

So… that was my Sunday. Hope yours was good. Apologies if you’re a fan of the books – feel free to tweet me and try to convince me to see the movie or read the books. But be aware that The Lego Movie is higher on my list of priorities.

On the plus side… it’s another movie for my burgeoning Archive of Movie Premieres

Twitter : @berndt2_photo

Until next time!!

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