Caught this film yesterday with my pal, who watched the first one with me. Having read the trilogy, we were pretty critical about the film. With that said, I decided to lower my expectation this time around because the first movie disappointed me a fair bit already (the audience was not supposed to know the name of the location because it was only revealed in the third book! But at the start of Divergent; there it was, staring at me from the screen).
Insurgent is based off the second book of the same name from the Divergent trilogy. It takes place after the destruction of Abegnation, where Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), Tobias ‘Four’ Eaton (Theo James), Caleb Prior (Ansel Elgort) and Peter Hayes (Miles Teller) escaped and took shelter in another faction – Amity, governed by Joanna (Octavia Spencer).
Since their escape, the leader of Erudite, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), got in her possession, a box that contained a message from the founders. But, a divergent was needed to unlock and uncover the contents. As such, Jeanine and her Erudite counterparts got to devising a serum test that would allow the divergent subjects to go through 5 faction tests in order for the box to be unlocked. To achieve this, Jeanine sent out her Dauntless minions to test and pick up divergents from the remaining factions, including Amity. Realizing that the soldiers are upon their doorstep, Tris, Four and Caleb escaped, leaving Peter behind. The three of them eventually ended up on a train, heading back into the city where they came face-to-face with the Factionless. Fighting ensued and the three of them nearly lost when Four told the Factionless who he was.
The three of them were taken to see the Factionless leader, Evelyn (Naomi Watts), who turned out to be Four’s mother. She had faked her own death to escape her abusive husband – Four’s father. It was there where they found out where the other Dauntless were seeking refuge. Deciding to find them, the three headed out to Candor. Halfway through the journey, Caleb decides to head back to his faction, Erudite. Tris and Four were eventually reunited with the other Dauntless but their reunion was short-lived when the leader of Candor (Daniel Dae Kim) refused to let them stay, seeing that they were wanted fugitives. Four managed to strike an agreement with him, letting the Candor leader administer the truth serum on them to prove their non-involvement with the Abegnation incident. All goes well despite Tris’ painful confession (her killing her friend point-blank) and they were allowed to stay. Unfortunately, their stay was short-lived when they were ambushed by Jeanine’s minions. Four and the other Dauntless managed to save Tris and the other divergents that were held hostage (killing Eric, played by Jai Courtney and giving Jeanine’s minions the information she needed during the process).
Jeanine eventually gets the test results of Tris and needed her to complete the serum test. With the help of Peter, who joined her Erudite army, they came up with a way to flush Tris out. The plan worked with Tris walking into Erudite headquarters and giving herself up. She was put through Jeanine’s serum test and eventually opened the box to reveal the message (albeit under different circumstances). The movie ended with the message being broadcast across the factions and people moving towards the walls – to discover what was on the other side.
Insurgent was pretty well done in terms of visual effects. The portrayal of the characters from the actors were great too. Ansel’s portrayal of Caleb often had me sniggering because of the not very flattering way that he ran. If that’s his way of portraying a nerd running, then, kudos because it was really hilarious. But besides that, there were definitely huge inconsistencies with the movie compared to the book. For example, the main idea behind Jeanine’s capture of Tris was never about the message she so desperately wanted to view but about her desire to eradicate the entire divergent population. Also, there was supposed to be more Factionless interaction in this installment but that didn’t happen. Characters that were meant to have more screen time were overshadowed by Tris and the supposed breakdown of Four and her relationship never happened. Instead he was supportive of her the entire time which wasn’t like the book.
All in all, as a fan of the trilogy, I felt Insurgent didn’t do the book justice. Instead, it became another YA Hollywood movie, missing out on the key factors of the book. There were scenes beneficial to the story that could have been included but instead, they were swapped out for visually stunning scenes and making it solely about Tris. With that said, I have my fingers crossed in hopes that Allegiant won’t be as disappointing as Insurgent.
Come on Hollywood, let’s do better.