The Divergent Series: Insurgent Blu-ray Review
To all the current or prospective Young Adult novelists out there; we get it. We understand that adults just want to control teenagers and teenagers just want to be free. The schtick is so worn out that it’s becoming nausea inducing. With disappointing box office results, I thought the Divergent series might have died before it even began, but apparently, the film still made money and Lionsgate pushed out a sequel like a cat giving birth to an elephant. The result was very painful and hard to look at, leaving many to wonder how it even happened in the first place.
After the events of the first film, Tris (Woodley), Four (James), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles Teller) are on the run from the Dauntless faction that is still after them. Their travels take them to a reunion with Four’s mother (played by a very bored Naomi Watts), who is in charge of the Factionless. But Jeanine (Kate Winslet) is trying to open a mysterious box, which can only be opened by a Divergent. And no, it makes no sense and is just lazy storytelling, but that’s sometimes what you get when you have a preteen audience. Anyway, of course Tris is the only one strong enough to open the box and that’s why Jeanine is obsessed with finding her.
Miles Teller very famously trashed the Divergent films, saying “this sucks” in reference to the script and saying he felt “dead inside” about his part in the film. He was very publicly lambasted in the media and by fans for his comments, but looking at the performances of everyone involved, it’s very clear they all felt the same way. Shailene Woodley looked excited to be there in the first one, probably hoping it would do for her career what The Hunger Games did for Jennifer Lawrence. But here, she looks annoyed and, dare I say it, dead inside. No one has any enthusiasm and if you were forced to recite some of the terrible lines, you would feel a little empty too. But as bad and as disinterested as everyone was, I didn’t feel sorry for anyone but Kate Winslet. She supposedly only took the part because her daughter begged her to, proving that as much as you love your kids, you should never take career advice from them.
Unannounced dream sequences, where a dream transpires and shocks the audience, only to have the character wake up to reality is the laziest directing trick in the book. It’s what you do when you have a garbage script and nothing to work with. Here, Schwentke uses it several times, so any time something moderately exciting happened, Tris would wake up and we’d be back to the boring reality. On that grounds alone, INSURGENT deserves any ridicule coming its way, with most of the blame falling on the book’s author Veronica Roth, but the bad dream sequences are all Schwentke’s fault and he deserves the criticism.
I didn’t like the original, but I halfheartedly respected it. It had an elaborate setup and some moderately interesting characters, even if it was poorly executed. But INSURGENT has nothing going for it. The actors have nothing to work with, the script is lazy, the directing is formulaic and every character is punch-worthy.
Video: This is another high quality transfer from Lionsgate.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Commentary with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher: I always write my review before watching any special features and I had to chuckle at this commentary. I remember in their commentary to the first film, they were pretty lively and had a lot to say, but in this one, they had long stretches of silence and generally acted like they didn’t want to be there, which is exactly what I said about the cast.
Insurgent Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind-the-Scenes Access: This is a cool feature and offers a nice picture in picture that has features played throughout the film.
Featurettes (19:29): There are five featurettes here and I lumped them together because none of them are long enough to give too much insight. I did find it funny that Miles Teller’s character got his own featurette.