SPOILER WARNING – DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN INSURGENT
Good afternoon guys! So on Sunday I finally got to see the Insurgent film, which was released on 20/03/2015. The Divergent series (2011-2013) by Veronica Roth is my favourite book series and I absolutely love the first film from 2014, so as you can imagine I was really looking forward to seeing the adaptation of Insurgent.
I have read that a lot of the fans of the books are disappointed by how much the film differs in plot. I have to admit I read the Insurgent book quite a while ago now. As a result, I don’t think the changes bother me as much as they would have if I had only just read it. The parts that are the same jogged my memory of the book and so I found them to be very enjoyable.
There are things about the film I think could have been better, but I still really enjoyed it. I divided my review into different topics of discussion, each one being something specific about the film. I just want to say before I go into more details that I did really enjoy the film and I think it is important to bear in mind (and prepare for) the fact that a film will never been the same as a book.
As I have previously said, I am a huge fan of Shailene Woodley and her films. I think she is an amazing young actress and she always portrays her characters in such a believable way. I think she is the perfect actress to play the role of Tris. Her performance in Insurgent carries a lot of the weight of the film.
I have read that some fans are not pleased that, in the film, Tris does not seem to have the same post-traumatic stress disorder as she does in the book. In the book she cannot bring herself to even hold a gun or any type of weapon. I think this could have been very effective if it had been included, however, Shailene’s acting performance of her grief is absolutely amazing nonetheless.
There is a strand running through the whole narrative about how Tris handles her emotional struggles following the events of the Divergent film (2014). Her guilt and the way she blames herself for both her parents and Will’s deaths, is consistent and realistic. It is not just shown in the opening and then ignored, which would have annoyed me, but instead it is developed and continually referred to.
You can tell that Tris is angry and is always a moment away from exploding – just like the scene in the Amity faction where she attacks Peter. I like how the camera is focused on her when she says “what?” with such intent and you just think…Peter you better watch what you say next, it may be the last thing you ever say. It makes the scene very tense and effective.
We are reminded of her sense of guilt several times which is good because it is kind of what drives her in this film. She is blinded by the fact that she cannot forgive herself and that is why she hands herself over to Jeanine. We see her grief through the nightmares, for example, the bit where she turns in bed and Will is lying next to her is so sudden and shocking as well as upsetting.
Also in terms of Shailene’s acting, I want to mention the Candor truth trail scene because it is phenomenal. The way she acts in that scene is so emotional and I actually felt uncomfortable watching her as she is in pain from trying to resist the effects of the serum. The scene grabs the audience’s attention and it is all down to Shailene’s acting. She has definitely grasped the concept of who Tris is in these films and she isn’t letting go even as the character develops.
I think Caleb’s betrayal is portrayed quite well. The person I watched the film with was so shocked by that reveal. I didn’t experience the shock factor as I had already been through that from reading the books. In the film his betrayal makes me really dislike his character. When he is explaining to Tris his reasoning for going back to Erudite, saying how she is the only person he has left or the only person he cares about or whatever and I’m like “Why are you betraying her then?!”
But, I didn’t like the way he is represented throughout the first half of the film as “the dumb one.” Just because he wasn’t previously a member of Dauntless that means that he can’t stop someone strangling his sister to death even though there is no one else there and all he has to do is pull the guy off of her.
I think Caleb needed to be a more serious character than that and it would have made the betrayal even more effective. It is okay at the beginning but it is definitely taken a step too far when Caleb is left at the dinner table with Evelyn. He is meant to be the conflicted older brother, but he becomes this hopeless, slightly awkward third wheel. I don’t think Ansel Elgort’s acting is bad or anything because he is wonderful but I don’t like the direction concerning the way his character is represented.
Leader of the factionless
Naomi Watts looks far too young to be Four’s mother. I also don’t think this character has a much impact in this film as she does in the books. As far as I remember it is a big moment in the books when you find out that A) Four’s mother isn’t dead and B) Four knew all along. These revelations seem a bit rushed in the film and there is no interaction between Tris and Four and what he knew about his mother. I am hoping they are just saving more character development on Evelyn for the next two films.
One of my favourite things about the books – although there are many – is the way supporting characters are developed. In particular I love Uriah’s character and also the story surrounding Tori and her brother. Tori’s story may have been more a part of Allegiant but she is only involved in this film as a dauntless member but she doesn’t become any more significant than that. I can only hope that her character will be developed more in the next film. In terms of Uriah’s character development it is very disappointing. I mean seriously I think he had about three lines in the whole film.
Veronica Roth invented all these wonderful characters and it is like the idea of them is used in the film but it is so half-hearted they might as well of just had ‘Dauntless member #1,’ #Dauntless member #2,’ ‘Dauntless member #3.’ Where is the development of Hector, Marlene, Lynn, and Shauna? It would have been so exciting and fun to see more from these characters in the film. The whole plot focuses on Jeanine and the action and neglects development of new characters.
The box and the tests for each faction are not in the book but I actually found the whole concept enjoyable. At least the message is still what makes up the big finale. The fear simulations have a very different feel to what they are like in Divergent. There is a lot of CGI and it is more dreamlike that in the first film. I’m not really sure how to explain it but they are just different but I really enjoyed watching them.
Peter is perfect
The young actors in this film are just so brilliant. Peter is one of my favourite characters. He isn’t really good or bad but I think he is slightly more for the good. I remembered as I was watching what happens to Peter in the end of Allegiant and I think that is going to be really sad on screen, as it is in the books.
Miles Teller is the perfect blend of funny and serious in Insurgent. It is realistic to have a character who just wants to survive. He is such a welcome break from the heavier, more emotional aspects of the film. It’s just getting a bit too intense and then in struts Peter with a wise crack or two to bring a smile to our faces. He is one of those characters that is good deep down and he can’t help but let that goodness get through sometimes.
The film is fast-paced and action packed which I think is very important. I am pleased with the pace and I think most people who haven’t read the books will find the film really exciting. It is an enjoyable film and I can never not like these films because I love the actors so much.
But, I do understand that some fans of the books are a little disappointed, especially after how good the first film went down. However, I can appreciate that a film is never going to be the same as a book. It is a different medium and a different way of telling the story.
My main problem is that there they didn’t include some of the details of other characters, especially in Dauntless. I did enjoy the film but it would have been good if it was a little more faithful to the amazing books by Veronica Roth. Also, it is not as if there is too much detail to fit in because the film was actually one minute under two hours and that isn’t even very long for a film nowadays. They could’ve added in some more scenes with Uriah & Co and the bit where they choose new Dauntless leaders. I really like the Candor trial scene though, that is probably one of my favourite bits.
I can see why it is good as a film in itself and why it is slightly disappointing as an adaptation. I love the young actors. The books are my favourite and I don’t think anything they do with the film will ever effect how amazing the books are. So I enjoy whatever they come up with and take solace in the fact that fans of book know all that wonderful additional stuff about the world which cannot be taken away from us.
I am going to give this film 4/5 stars (and I’ll give Shai and Miles 5/5 stars each).
As you can probably tell I could comfortably ramble on about this film for a long time but I have to stop some time. I may reread the books at some point and then my opinion on this film may differ so if it does I will do an updated review. Please let me know your opinions as this is one of my most anticipated films of the year so I would love to get a discussion going. Bye for now.
Here is a sneak peak for a little reminder of the amazing action and the stunning performances of Insurgent…