There was a kind of feeling of quiet despair at the VMAs. Did you feel it, at home on your couch? I think it was because there was so much promise – NSYNC, Taylor and Harry, Drake – and then so much sweaty disappointment.
The four members of NSYNC who know that was their last TV appearance ever, the series of awards Drake and Swifty and Rihanna didn’t win, the terrible audio, the distraction over why Gaga has suddenly and completely lost her game…you know? It was a night of ups and downs, and I think you’d be lying if you said you weren’t squinting in confusion and a little anxiety at the screen at least some of the time.
But as such, I kind of really dug what was happening with sometime-irritant Shailene Woodley.
First of all, she got to get her professional obligations out of the way early, as the Divergent trailer was screened during the awfully familiar pre-show. I mean, good on them, I guess, for not making Kanye pretend to sit through and care about a post-apocalyptic movie trailer, but it was kind of funny. We will get to said trailer in a second.
But Shailene, who usually really gets my goat with her overly-casual speech and her smirking - and let us not forget the belly top OR the earthy, in-touch skirt - was kind of hilarious here tonight. She did her work. She debuted the haircut she’s sporting for The Fault In Our Stars that will no doubt be much-discussed. She was quite passably tolerant of the atrocious pre-show host who clearly knew nothing not only about the Divergent trailer he was throwing to but who either Shailene or Theo James were.
As a result I can’t get mad at her, including not when she yapped all through the intro to Kanye and presumably his performance. I can’t get mad at her outfit, even though it thoroughly deserves it. Am I losing my touch?
As for the trailer, however…
It wasn’t what I wanted. If we’re going to introduce the concept of “Divergent” to the world, I wish it had been about the concept. About being made for one of five worlds – unless you’re made for more. There was, instead, a lot of jumping off buildings and subways, a lot of fresh-faced long hair, and an awful lot of Kate Winslet, the better to sell you that this is a real movie.
Look, I get that the military action and the uprising are going to be a big part of the story, too but isn’t part of the point of telling it so that people who never felt like they fit one place, like Tris, get someone with whom they can identify? It all just felt kind of formulaic to me.
And I really disagree with the hair choices. Most of them. His is too short. Hers is too long. Winslet’s is not quite sharp enough. Okay, I’m stretching there.
But overall, for a book that captured the imaginations of so many people, including a good number of skeptics I know, shouldn’t the trailer have been more arresting than just straight-up militaristic? That blood on the ear? After he threw the knife (which we barely saw)? How would that mean anything to anyone who didn’t know? How are they going to sell people who don’t already care on something that looks so…shiny?
And why can’t Four have longer hair?