‘INSURGENT’ (2015)

October 23, 2015 12 Comments

Following true to my pattern of being the last girl on earth to see popular blockbusters, I’m ready to talk Insurgent. Finally, last week I put it into my laptop, snuggled in and hit play.  

Insurgent (2015) Film Review

Beginning just where Divergent left off, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and her gang of Dauntless rebels are in hiding. Tris is haunted by the choices of her past, including the blood on her hands and the death of her mother. It doesn’t help that fellow Dauntless member, Peter (Miles Teller) taunts her about everything. Taking a bit of control, Tris chops off her hair and tries to keep her boyfriend, Four (Theo James) from discovering her nightmares. Freedom doesn’t last long and close on its heels is discovery when fraction leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) finds Tris and her friends.  


Escaping thanks in part to Peter’s distraction, Tris, Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Four set out to find the rest of Dauntless. Only Four is the one who winds up surprised when he is forced to take shelter with his mother (Naomi Watts), a woman with an agenda of her own…

Given that I’m watching these movies without benefit of reading the books, I probably have a different perspective. I remember when this played in theaters fans were crushed over the divergence the script took from the book. These many months later, while finally watching this, I can say, I still easily prefer this dystopian story to The Hunger Games. I can get behind this one more and feel more invested in the characters as well as the romance. Then there is Katniss, who is far too staid though I do understand why she’s that way. Tris has more fire, more personality and though she may run the wrong way at times, at least she’s inciting a change with a purpose. 

I don’t want to be divergent anymore. I just want to feel safe again. – Tris

This film is much different than Divergent because Tris spends a good portion of it suspended in a virtual reality.  Like our protagonist, once this section begins, we have to pause and wonder whether what we’re seeing is real or imagined, most often it’s the latter. The primary reason I adore this franchise so well is because of the romance. Four’s and Tris’ romantic liaison is more settled and mature than more young adult novels give us. Do they fight? Yes. But I never feel like I’m about to combust because one of the parties keeps their feelings a secret or they’re being stupid. Theirs is a relationship with more wisdom than its peers and I like this. 

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RELATED FILM REVIEW | ‘Divergent’ (2014)
‘INSURGENT’ (2015). Tris Prior is back in her Divergent fraction to try and make her world a better place. All review text is © Rissi JC

But naturally, this film is about more than romance. It’s about a young heroine with unique powers, and a bleeding heart that makes her stronger. I don’t know what differs from the film vs. book storytelling, but a Google search reveal Movie Insurgent’s infinite differences. I thought the story it tells is good. The cast and characters are both extremely interesting. I’m most intrigued by Peter with his flip-flopping alliances and cannot help but love-to-hate him. One character disappointed me, but no one in the cast seems a weak link. Theo and Shailene lead what is, really, a brilliant cast. While watching this, I was reminded how funny it is to know that Shailene has played leading lady to two of the men in this film; Miles and Ansel (The Fault in our Stars), who she now plays sister to.

‘INSURGENT’ (2015). Tris Prior is back in her Divergent fraction to try and make her world a better place. All review text is © Rissi JC

Anyone who likes dystopian worlds is certain to like this adaptation. It works nicely because it gives Tris time to grieve, to consider what her life was. She came away stronger (hopefully) and is ready to walk into what she’d like to believe is a better future. Naturally that’s not likely what’s in store for our heroine, but this script does have a purpose whether it follows protocol or not. There is a time and place for creativity, and I do applaud this as a film entity. I feel like I’d even admire this had I read the book because generally I respect creativity. Though not as spectacular as its predecessor, Insurgent has plenty of “wow” moments, and slower yet equally important poignant tearjerkers. It helped drive and sell the characters which is more than some word-for-word adaptations can say. 

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You can find Insurgent digitally on Amazon Video

What did you think of this movie? Do you like the idea that part one and part two of the finale now have two separate titles? Share any of your thoughts on this series down below.

Content: there is one sensual scene – a couple begins to undress and kiss before the camera cuts away, all without catching anything graphic. There is a scene or two of an unmarried couple lying in bed, sleeping. There is plenty of “violence” or fighting though again, nothing is overly disturbing; people are shot with sleeping potions, others are forced to commit suicide. Multiple virtual realities involve tense situations and people free falling through the air. Hand to hand combat features in the film’s primary action scenes. The film is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Kristin October 23, 2015 at 12:48 PM

    I enjoyed this one, probably just as much as the first one. I had heard most people talking about how the second book was their least favorite of the trilogy, so it looks like the majority of them would have been happy if the film is different from the book, ha! I've only read the first book, so I wouldn't know.

    And after seeing how this movie ends, I can't help but wonder what exactly is going to happen in the final installments? (I have been spoiled to the one big thing that happens in the last book.) Do they have enough content for two movies? Probably not. I feel like everyone is trying to follow in Harry Potter's footsteps with splitting the last book into two movies, and Harry Potter is probably the only instance when that was actually needed (Deathly Hallows is a huge book and there's a lot of stuff happening). When all of these other adaptations do it, it feels like they're just trying to make extra money. (Just like The Hobbit in no way needed to be three films.)

    Though I enjoy the movies a lot more than I expected to, I still much prefer The Hunger Games. :)

    • Rissi October 26, 2015 at 11:34 PM

      Ha! That's an excellent point, Kristin; if fans didn't love the middle novel, they should respect/enjoy this adaptation. ;)

      I agree about the splitting of the movies. It's just the industries way of trying to get MORE out of a big money-making franchise in my estimation, but I don't know that as fact. (As you point out also.) With this specific series, I feel like there may be changes ahead (although I don't know that the writer's/producer's will alter THAT big change) because they aren't going to be a "part one" and "part two," instead they have separate titles.

      Nothing wrong with preferring THG! :) I know lots of fans like it best or as well as these; I've not seen Mockingjay, Part 1 yet. But then, as this review proved, my track record in watching some of these blockbusters (those that I'm the only one interested in) is pretty bad. ;)

  • Morgan October 23, 2015 at 12:59 PM

    I agree with what you said about this movie feeling more like a bridge between the first and third, although it does give her important time to grieve and such. I was a little disappointed, but that disappointment might have stemmed more from being really disappointed with the last book and not liking the series as a whole very much. I do have hope that they'll make the last book better in movie form, but I kind of doubt it. I like that Tris is more emotional than Katniss, but I still prefer the Hunger Games.

    • Rissi October 26, 2015 at 11:38 PM

      Nothing wrong with preferring THG, Morgan. You're not alone. :) I just don't like the concept of forcing KIDS to fight to the death… that's just… over-the-top. I understand that people are being forced to do things against their will in this series as well, but something about it "feels" different. Plus, it doesn't help that I didn't like Book Katniss much at all (it's never fun when a reader doesn't like the main character). Movie Katniss is MUCH better thanks to Jennifer's wonderful performance.

      I understand that feeling (not liking the final book, which maybe reflected on your feelings for the film). I suspect that BIG ending won't change in the movie, but hey, we can hope, right!? :) If for no other reason than allowing Tris time to accept and grieve, this was a solid adaptation.

      Thanks a bunch for sharing your thoughts and visiting, Morgan.

  • Becky Ritta October 23, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    Like you, I haven't read the books. I've really enjoyed both movies so far. I have doubts about the final one, as I know the "big" spoiler, but I'm definitely looking forward to the last two films!

    As for The Hunger Games, I LOVED the books … but the movies have failed to wow me. I've liked them fine, but I've enjoyed the Divergent films more than The Hunger Games films.

    • Rissi October 26, 2015 at 11:41 PM

      I know what you mean; I feel like that final movie will indeed include THE ending we all dread. *sigh* It's sad really since I think MOST fans would be cool with the change. Either way, people will criticize I suspect. Here's hoping they decide on the direction and commit to it with 100% surety. :)

      Ironically I'm the opposite; I loved the first The Hunger Games movie vs. the book (the former was amazing, the latter, eh, I didn't fall into its snare). But I've not read the other two THG books though I hear Catching Fire is the best! :)

      Glad you shared your thoughts, Becky. Always enjoy visiting with you.

  • Hannah Barta October 24, 2015 at 4:20 AM

    It's been over a year I think since I finished the books, so I don't really remember all the plot lines in this one. That being said, I do remember that when I first saw the trailer I was like, "Um . . . are we still in the same series, guys?" But I was never a huge fan–Tris really gets on my nerves, especially after the first novel; I like Tobias much better. Also, Shailene looks a bit too boyish for my taste with her hair chopped off like that ;)

    I'd still like to see it though! I always love reading your reviews on things like this :D

    Dance A Real

    • Rissi October 26, 2015 at 11:45 PM

      I think your initial reaction was a lot of people's reaction as well, Hannah. They didn't like this as an adaptation for the book. This is why I suspect the final movies won't differ (especially in the ending) from the book as badly. I thought this was really good as a kind of "bridge" between movies. It allowed Tris time to heal and grieve.

      Tris hasn't gotten on my nerves… yet. But as this is a YA series, I suspect she will at some point because, well, it isn't a proper YA epic if there isn't drama. ;)

      Thank YOU for reading, as always, Hannah. I enjoy reading your comments. :)

  • Welcome To Our Book Wonderland October 25, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Didn't like it and we loved the books. We're not even sure that we will go see the last 2 movies. This one was so different and so the last 2 have to be different and follow this story line that it's not Divergent anymore. My girls said they want to skip these which was kinda sad since my oldest was a huge fan of the books. :(

    • Rissi October 26, 2015 at 11:46 PM

      That's what I heard! Perhaps you'll be able to tell if the final movies are worth seeing via reviews. :/ Or there's always that hope. If you ladies do see them eventually, I hope you enjoy them better. I suspect the writer's and producer's will rethink their adapting skills given the complaints as regards Insurgent, but who knows! Perhaps they think they know best.

  • Kailin Richardson November 9, 2015 at 11:43 PM

    I didn't think this movie was all that great, compared to Hunger Games…I enjoyed the first movie much more than HG, but this one was so slow paced and full of talking. I didn't like how it ended similar to The Maze Runner…

    • Rissi November 10, 2015 at 7:11 PM

      I definitely felt like this one was a "bridge" film, Kailin. Definitely had a note of that dreaded "middle" story (although considering these franchises number in four films vs. three, that's hard to accomplish). Nonetheless I did enjoy it. Glad you like THG and hopefully you'll enjoy the next film in this Divergent series; I'll confess I wasn't a fan of The Maze Runner. ;)

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