‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ arrived in theaters this weekend, a year after the first film surprised many by actually being a decent movie in an industry where young adult book adaptations are a dime a dozen. Based off of Veronica Roth’s best selling novel, this movie gives us more of the same, doing little to differentiate itself from the the first movie.
Let me give some background information before we proceed with the actual review. I am a huge fan of these books! I travelled 5 hours to a book expo in New York City to meet the author when ‘Insurgent’ was first released. Veronica Roth is a very lovely human being and truly inspiring considering how much she has achieved at such a young age.
With the first movie, I didn’t see it in theaters until a month after it was released because I thought it was going to be terrible. I didn’t like Shailene Woodley at the time, I didn’t like who they cast as Four/Tobias, and I didn’t like the look of it. The only draw besides the source material was Kate Winslet who is my QUEEN! I finally saw it and actually enjoyed it. It made me really excited for what else they had to offer.
With the sequel, I was expecting them to follow the lines of ‘The Hunger Games’ series by delivering a good first attempt and then really killing it with the second. This is not the case with ‘The Divergent Series’. It was almost the same movie in the way that it felt. Granted this isn’t necessarily a bad thing but, you kind of expect some growth as the series progresses, not just more of the same. It makes you feel like you are just watching the same, old movie and frankly, I was bored.
In addition to the rehashed feel, there were a couple of editing mistakes that I saw while watching the movie such as when Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are being chased by Eric (Jai Courtney) and his crew of Dauntless. It happens right after the train that our heroes jump on escapes and it shows their chasers halting their pursuit. The frame before it shows all of them standing still, while the next frame they are all running toward Eric. To be honest, doesn’t ruin one’s enjoyment of the movie but sort of reinforces the series as a second rate Hunger Games. Also, a movie with a $110 million budget, shouldn’t have mistakes like this so shell out the extra cash for better editors next time.
Speaking of the budget, the nearly $30 million increase in the budget for this movie really paid off because the special effects are on point! The scene where Tris is falling through the air while all of the building around her are collapsing is amazing and there are quite a few of these large scale destruction scenes. The special effects are kind of the star of this movie and will make a huge difference in selling the movie to international audiences.
The real stars of this movie were Kate Winslet and Miles Teller. If their agents are reading this right now, I beg you to only have them play villain type roles because they are perfect for them. As I said earlier, Kate Winslet is my Queen and I would see her in anything. She could literally be standing still on a screen for four hours and I would see it in IMAX. The part when she thinks Tris is dead and you see her character lose her composer is hands down my favorite part of the movie. Also the fact that the filmmakers had her hand wrapped up after being stabbed in the hand by Tris in the last movie is so amazing! I hate when series sort of forget injuries that the characters endured in the previous installments so this made me very happy.
Winslet shares quite a few scenes with Miles Teller who completely holds his own next to such an acting titan. He matches her sinisterness but adds more humanity to it. I wasn’t sure about him playing Peter at first but now I think he is perfect. I said this in my review of ‘Whiplash‘ but I am totally convinced that Teller is a member of Hollywood’s next generation of greats and his performance in this movie just solidified this opinion.
When leaving the theater, I heard a large number of angry girls who were very pissed about the changes they made when adapting the book to the big screen. It has been awhile since I read the book but I did notice a few things such as the exclusion of Tris and Marcus’ plan but it didn’t really subtract anything for me. Also it should be noted that a 535 page novel cannot possibly be fit into a 2 hour movie without changing things. They kept the general idea of the book and concluded it with the huge surprise at the end which is all I can ask for.
So, in conclusion, ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ has good special effects and acting, but feels very been-there-done-that, leaving me bored by the end.
‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ receives 3/5 film reels.
‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ arrives in theaters March 20th, 2015 and stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Maggie Q, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney and Octavia Spencer. The film is directed by Robert Schwentke.