Synopsis: THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris and Four are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine, the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’s family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.
Release Date: March 20, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Adventure, Sci-Fi
The only thing better than a hit movie is a hit franchise. So, of course, movie producers love the new wave of young adult books – there’s never just one, they all come in series. And what’s not to love about a loyal, built in audience? Following closely on the heels of the Twilight and The Hunger Games franchises is the Divergent series, based on the bestselling books by Veronica Roth. The second installment in the Divergent franchise is Insurgent. Is it as good as Divergent? Well, let’s just say it isn’t any worse.
Insurgent picks up where Divergent left off, with the Dauntless rebels taking the blame for the uprising that occurred at the climax of the last movie. Our heroine, Tris (Shailene Woodley from White Bird in a Blizzard), is hiding out with the Amity faction along with her trainer/boyfriend Four (Theo James from Underworld: Awakening), her brother Caleb (Carrie‘s Ansel Elgort), and fellow Dauntless trooper Peter (Whiplash‘s Miles Teller). Tris and her pals need to find a way to reunite with the rest of the Dauntless so that they can plan their next move. Of course, Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet from Titanic) is frantically looking for the surviving members of the Dauntless, especially Tris, as Jeanine needs a Divergent in order to open a mystical box, and Tris is the purest Divergent in the city. Tris and her friends make their way through the city in an effort to reunite with their comrades, slowly but surely learning who they can and cannot trust as they work towards toppling the Erudites and, with them, the oppressive faction system that governs the people.
(If any of this sounds weird, particularly the stuff about the factions, Dauntless, Amity, or Erudite, please read the Divergent review in order to be brought up to speed. Or just see Divergent. The point is, a big hunk of Insurgent relies upon the viewer having seen the first film. Which is fine. It is, after all, a sequel.)
Insurgent was directed by Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) from a screenplay written by Brian Duffield (Jane Got a Gun), Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind), and Mark Bomback (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). This is a completely different team from the one that made Divergent, but there is still a cohesive style and tone between the films. This seamless transition is partially due to the fact that the entire cast has been carried over, but also because of the source material – the Veronica Roth book. Insurgent falls into some of the same traps as Divergent, particularly with its on-the-nose writing style, but it is still an improvement on the first film because it plays to its strengths. Insurgent is more action and less words, which is always a good trade-off.
The biggest problem with Divergent was that it was a feature-length setup, basically the first act of a bigger picture instead of being its own movie. Insurgent continues on with this, but is more fun to watch because it gets into the meat of the story. There are new characters introduced, including a woman named Evelyn (The Impossible‘s Naomi Watts) who leads the Factionless and her muscle soldier, Edgar (Jonny Weston from John Dies at the End). Likewise, there are characters who existed in Divergent who have been broadened and maximized in Insurgent, characters like Miles Teller’s Peter and the Dauntless tagalong/tattoo artist Tori (Maggie Q from “Nikita”). All of this helps build on the Divergent universe, but Insurgent doesn’t have to concern itself with the exposition of a first film and can dive into the nitty-gritty of Divergent‘s dystopian adventures. It still feels like the middle chapter of a saga, but at least the story moves. It’s hard to say that Insurgent is a better movie than Divergent, but there’s a lot more fun stuff going on in it.
Fans of Divergent are going to see Insurgent regardless of any review or critique. So, for the parents, significant others, and best friends who might get dragged along, here’s the important thing; Insurgent is exactly twenty minutes shorter than Divergent.
The best reason to see Insurgent is the action sequences. The cool combination of pulse-pounding chases and hard-hitting fights will get any audience member’s blood pumping. Many of the action scenes are CG heavy in a The Matrix-y way, and it gets a bit annoying at times, but the fact that most of the effected scenes take place in a virtual reality simulator in the film gives the audience a reason to forgive the almost animation-style visuals. Regardless of effects, the fight choreography is tight and the stunt work is first-rate, making Insurgent exciting to watch, even if the story and dialogue leave a bit to be desired.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Robert Schwentke
- Producer(s): Lucy FisherPouya ShahbazianDouglas Wick
- Screenwriter(s): Brian DuffieldAkiva GoldsmanMark Bomback
- Story: Veronica Roth
- Cast: Shailene WoodleyTheo JamesKate Winslet Ansel ElgortMiles TellerZoe KravitzAshley JuddNaomi WattsDaniel Dae KimMekhi PhiferJai CourtneyOctavia Spencer
- Editor(s): Stuart Levy
- Cinematographer: Florian Ballhaus
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Louise Mingenbach
- Casting Director(s): Venus KananiMary Vernieu
- Music Score: Joseph Trapanese
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA