Insurgent Blu-ray Review
Insurgent kicks off in the bright, rustic world of the Amity faction, with its huge meadow and earth-tone colour palette, but don’t let that fool you: Insurgent is darker in tone, and ultimately a more satisfying movie, than the first film in the Divergent Series.
What’s It About? Set in a futuristic dystopian Chicago, whose citizens are divided into 5 factions according to personalities and preferences, Insurgent follows Tris and her allies as they’re hunted down because they’re Divergent, in other words, they have traits of multiple factions, which means they’re considered a threat. Based on Veronica Roth’s best-selling novels, Insurgent continues the world-building of the movie Divergent, introducing new factions, each of which is cleverly designed to convey the different traits of its people. So, the peaceful Amity faction is kinda hippie and inspired by nature; the honest Candor faction is all glass and mirrors; and the Factionless is a hodge-podge of influences.
Verdict: Just as in Divergent, there are good performances all round, with the young cast matching their more experienced colleagues. Shailene Woodley is a phenomenal young actress. She completely blew me away the first time I saw her as George Clooney’s on-screen daughter in The Descendants, and she continues to light up the big screen in this movie. There’s just something very truthful and very natural about her acting. One thing I could live without in the character of Tris though – and this has got nothing to do with Woodley’s performance – is the number of times she needs to be rescued, particularly by her on-screen boyfriend, 4.
Still, Woodley and Theo James, who plays 4, continue to share a decent on-screen chemistry. Apart from a small role in Downton Abbey, so far I’ve only seen James in The Divergent Series, but he brings an intensity to the role of 4.
Ansel Elgort gets to add some ambiguity to his portrayal of Tris’s brother Caleb in this movie. And Miles Teller is also back as the incredibly cocky and smart-mouthed Peter. Teller’s another brilliant young actor, who I’ve been a fan of since I saw him opposite Nicole Kidman in the movie Rabbit Hole. And he does some spot-on work here again, adding a nice touch of humour to the film.
Jai Courtney only has one note to play as the vicious Dauntless leader Eric, but he does a good job of being suitably menacing, to the point that you really detest his character. In fact, Courtney’s performance in this film and Divergent almost makes me forgive him for Die Hard 5.
Kate Winslet may not have the most multi-dimensional character to work with, but she plays the cold and calculating Jeanine well. And Naomi Watts keeps us wondering about her character Evelyn, the Factionless leader. But I was a bit disappointed that Octavia Spencer didn’t have more to do as the Amity leader, Johanna.
The movie maintains a nice pace throughout. And if you’re looking for action, Insurgent really ramps that up, with some great, big action set-pieces. Expect speeding trains, shoot-outs, chase scenes, close-quarters combat, zip-lining, and much more.
As for the film’s visual effects, they’re pretty amazing. The simulated worlds that Tris has to enter as a test are really attention-grabbing and well-realised. And at times, the filmmakers skilfully blur the line between reality and fantasy, upping the tension and keeping us guessing.
Ok, so, Insurgent does share familiar beats with other dystopian YA movies we’ve seen over the last few years, like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, and a few plot points do feel reminiscent of the first film in the series, Divergent. But there’s also been a hell of a lot of superhero movies and TV shows in recent years, and I don’t enjoy those any less for the often-familiar paths they share. Insurgent isn’t ground-breaking in terms of plot or dialogue, so you don’t need to have read Veronica Roth’s books to know where the movie’s headed more or less throughout. But if you got on board with the movie Divergent, Insurgent does make for perfectly entertaining viewing thanks to its cast, action, visual effects, and darker tone.
Extras: Audio Commentary with producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher; From Divergent To Insurgent; Marketing Gallery; Insurgent Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind-the-Scenes Access; The Others: Cast and Characters; The Train Fight Unlocked; The Peter Hayes Story; Diverging: Adapting Insurgent to the Screen
Final Words: Insurgent is a satisfyingly dark journey into the expanded world of the Divergent series with good performances, lots of action and top-notch visual effects.
Insurgent is available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™ and DVD, courtesy of Entertainment One.