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Review: “Insurgent”

By Jeniel Terrero
Staff Writer

“Insurgent,” the sequel to “Divergent” in the series of the same name, is the latest Young Adult book to be transitioned into a blockbuster film. Though many may compare this series to “The Hunger Games” trilogy, the only resemblance I see is the fact that both stories take part in a dystopian world, and both have female heroines.

Shailene Woodley reprises her role as Tris in the “Divergent” sequel. Photo:
Shailene Woodley reprises her role as Tris in the “Divergent” sequel.

“Insurgent” is directed by Robert Schwentke, and follows up on “Divergent” as Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), who have become fugitives, are now on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet), leader of the Erudite faction. Set in the distant future in Chicago, “Insurgent” goes deeper into exploring the social structure characterized in this world. We get a view into the lifestyles represented by other factions that were not seen in the previous movie, such as the Candor and Amity Factions. We even get a look at those who didn’t fit into any of the factions, better known as the factionless.

In their mission to discover what hidden secret Tris’ family sacrificed their life for, Tris and Four travel to the other factions in the hopes of discovering allies and answers. However, Jeanine does not make it easy on them since she has publicly blamed the pair for the attacks on the Abnegation faction, which took place in the last film. With enemies on their tracks, Tris and Four face challenges in the hope that they can protect the city from corrupted leaders before they get captured.

As someone who has a passion for art cinema, I think getting away with viewing a mainstream film every once in awhile is acceptable as long as the plot is engaging and entertaining. “Insurgent” is definitely entertaining, and the fact that this film includes a star-studded cast only makes it more appealing. However, as someone who has read the books this series is based on, I can’t say I was too keen about the many changes that were made between the book and the movie. The “Divergent” series, written by Veronica Roth, is a complex story that unveils layer after layer of plots twists and turns. Many of the changes in the film adaptation rush much of the overall plot, the complexity of the storyline feeling a little flat. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe the film promotes an engaging time between viewers and the story, but if I had not read the

books prior to watching the film, I might not have understood the point of this whole thing.

One of the things I love about the “Divergent” series is that it is one of the rare famous YA series adaptations that does not include a love triangle. I think that fact alone may seem very appealing to many moviegoers. The plot itself does not focus too much on the romantic aspects, which helps recognize the more crucial points of the story. However, whenever there are intimate scenes between Tris and Four, it isn’t melodramatic, and the chemistry between James and Woodley seems genuine. Apart from that, there are a lot of action sequences in this movie, but it never feels like too much, or as if the action sequences appear just for the heck of it. There is always a reason for these specific scenes, whether it was shown through a stimulation Tris goes through, or if it has to do with Four and Tris running from their hunters. These scenes never seem overplayed because, overall, they tie up plot points.

Due to the box-office success of the first film in the series, “Insurgent” benefitted from a greater budget and scope, which in turn helped with things such as the special effects. I could tell that a lot of effort was put into making the effects look so good because they look so real. Visually, the film was impressive. I did not have to visualize what a dystopian Chicago would look like because the filmmakers did an exceptional job at making me believe that what I was seeing was real, especially with all the shots of the scenery. The film’s soundtrack music isn’t as prominent as it was in the first film, but whenever music does come in, it fits perfectly with the chosen scene.

As a reader of the book series, “Insurgent” inadequately fails at matching up to its book, and disappointed in not living up to the first adaptation of the film series. However, as a separate piece of work, it plays out above average. Although this is a film that could easily be categorized as a “Matrix,” “Hunger Games” wannabe, overall it fights to stand well on its own, original dystopian pedestal.

“Insurgent” was released on March 20th and is being shown in wide release.

Grade: B

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