Last year Divergent became a global phenomenon, and the inevitable sequel has finally arrived – but this is a different beast from its predecessor, with it being a much more action-packed 3D sci-fi movie whilst maintaining the YA formula.
Given that the first film spent most of its runtime establishing the suitably eccentric premise of a futuristic Chicago being divided into five factions based upon your characteristics, there was significantly greater scope this time for action.
Insurgent delivered this and then some, with bust-ups on moving trains; Tris flying from burning buildings; and executions of ‘Divergents’ – to name but a few.
As ever the cast is largely brilliant, and whilst they were criminally underused, Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer proved to be welcome additions to the cast. The former as well as Kate Winslet played up their villainous roles in perfectly camp fashion so the film didn’t appear too self-serious.
Miles Teller also impressed and added light relief to what is otherwise a very dark film with a lot of emphasis on war and grief.
The use of 3D was largely unnecessary, aside from the scenes involving simulations where it really added depth to these sequences, making them stand out.
This is because the majority of the film tries to focus on Shailene Woodley’s engrossing performance, but does mean that the frequent use of extreme close ups on her face leaves the 3D redundant.
…this is very definitely just a film for fans of the first in the series because there’s nothing particularly new here to win anyone else over despite some inventive ideas.
One of the main problems with 3D generally is that it drains the film of colour. In Insurgent this almost proves to be beneficial though due to the fact that it adds to the effect of it being a grim dystopian future.
The production design also perfectly complimented this dystopian future. Whilst the landscape adheres to the formula of dusty abandoned buildings and long planes devoid of much life, the design of the sets, such as the Erudite headquarters and the simulation cell, are suitably glossy and futuristic.
However, the “adaptation” deviates significantly from the source material, with the screenwriters completely inventing a new plot line about a mystical box. Whilst it was clearly necessary for theatrical reasons, rather than having Tris wondering through a building for most of the final third, such significant changes clearly aren’t going to please all of the fans of the book.
Not doing a word-for-word adaptation can be beneficial though, due to the fact that it means the whole audience is kept on the edge of their seats as some scenes come unexpectedly.
However, this is very definitely just a film for fans of the first in the series because there’s nothing particularly new here to win anyone else over despite some inventive ideas.