Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller
Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley) and Tobias “Four” Eaton (James) continue the fight of their lives in the follow-up to 2014’s summer blockbuster “Divergent.” After the discovery of a box containing society’s biggest secret, Jeanine (Winslet) remains bent on tracking down each and every Divergent, in hopes that their special cerebral skill set will help her gain access to the metallic mystery. Now the dynamic Divergent duo must adjust to their newfound life on the run while searching for answers and new allies in the war against the evil Erudite army.
Simply put, “Insurgent” is just like the book it was based on – not nearly as good as its predecessor. While last year’s “Divergent” brought hope for an exciting young adult fiction franchise that might rival “The Hunger Games,” the sequel falls a bit flat with a slow-moving plot, sub-standard acting and shoddy CGI.
So what went wrong?
As if cut from the same cloth as Katniss Everdeen, Tris goes from a lovable, squeaky-voiced heroine to a bratty little whiner that will make you question why you ever liked her in the first place. While Woodley seems like a nice enough chick in real life, her gratingly obnoxious screams and her new Peter Pan haircut serve as equal distractions from the film. (During one particular dream sequence in the film, Woodley lets out a couple war cries that will honestly make you laugh.)
Other than James, who is, the Salt Lake City DVD Examiner supposes, as undoubtedly handsome as ever and does a good job of holding his own as the male lead in the movie, audiences will have a very tough time connecting to, really, anyone in the cast. James’ good work as Four is counterbalanced by Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller, who are both flat, boring and under-developed as characters and seem to simply function as awkward, cliche-spouting supporting characters. Some of the dialogue is downright cringe-worthy.
But it isn’t just the script and the acting that failed this movie. Much of the action, albeit dystopian fantasy, is absolutely unbelievable – and not in the good way – in the sense that the computer animation and green-screen scenes look obvious and cheap. They just don’t look real. Even the untrained eye will be able to spot the special effects. Of course, there’s got to be a lot of suspension of disbelief in movies such as “Insurgent,” but some of the stuff you’ll see in this movie looks like it’s straight out of 2002.
For those that read the novel, there will most certainly be a lot to talk about after this movie. Discrepancies abound (was some of that stuff even actually in the book??) and there is one gigantic plot-bomb that should have been dropped at the end of the movie and inexplicably wasn’t, so that was weird. The movie leaves a lot out and will likely be quite controversial in the eyes of the YA bibliophiles out there. Veronica Roth’s second book in the Divergent series was hard enough to get through as it was – and the movie ain’t much better. For a series so obsessed with trains, it’s ironic that “Insurgent” could quite easily be the thing that derails many moviegoers’ interest in this franchise.
Similar movies: “Divergent” (2014), “The Hunger Games” (2012), “The Maze Runner” (2014)
DVD bonus features:
– Audio in English, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish
– Subtitles in English, Spanish
– No other bonus features available on rental version
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Running time: 119 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for “intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language,” and including violence by and against women.
Costars Jai Courtney, Ansel Elgort, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Daniel Dae Kim
DVD release date: August 4, 2015
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