ByMirza Mohd S Baig, writer at
Mirza Mohd S Baig

For a past few years Hollywood has found a new obsession - converting novels based on distopian futures into film! The huge success of the Hunger Games franchise somehow proved its a good idea to make as many as movies possible catering to the young adult readers (of the novels), out of this mix came out another film named Divergent (2014) based on the novel trilogy by Veronica Roth, about a post-apocalyptic future Chicago; where all of society is divided into factions, based on a citizen's personality and skills (which eliminates the threat of individuality). While Divergent seemed like a 'cooler' version of the Hunger Games, it was hard shake off the touch tedious and lacking pace, and ambiguous similarities. Nevertheless, for a viewer (like me) who had not read the novels, Divergent was not a bad film, probably because I saw that knowing what I expected. However, the sequel is some what better, as it throws out the focus on the confusing plot & the slow pacing & brings us an exciting mix of action, romance, and politics. The story takes place a couple of days after the 1st one ended, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Milles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) are on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet), leader of Erudite faction. They are holed up at Amity faction, where the code is to remain peaceful and forgiving. It doesn't take long for the small Dauntlet group to find themselves at odds with the nature of the Amity villagers and to be discovered by Dauntless' soldiers, led by Eric (Jai Courtney) and Max (Mekhi Phiffer). and the guards hunting them down on behalf of Jeanine. Eric, and his squad, have also located an artifact; that Jeanine had them searching for. Jeanine believes the mysterious box, they found, contains a message from their ancestors, that will end the 'Divergent' problem for good. She also needs a 'Divergent' to open it though. While Eric and his men continue to hunt for Tris, and her associates, they also search for other 'Divergents'; to open the box. At the same time Tris and Four team up with an army of the 'Factionless', and their leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts). It soon becomes obvious which 'Divergent' is the only person that can open the box, and end the faction war. Tris is, also, dealing with the guilt of the slaughter of her mother and her friends in the raid, which wiped out Tris's old faction, Abnegation. A little more is revealed about Eric, which adds a twist to the story. Some old friends will betray Tris, but she will, also, find new allies. In Insurgent, the world is revealed as bigger than we imagined in Divergent, and you will be left panting for the next film - Allegiant (which incidentally is being split into two parts for 2016 & 2017). Frankly, based on the reviews the film is receiving, its a bit too harsh. Yes! It's not brilliant, but neither are the Hunger Games (which were hardly original, considering ). It's aimed at a teen audience. And yet, the political structure and the societal order are much more interesting in the Divergent series. A new director Robert Schwentke (known for previous mainstream hits like "Flightplan" and "RED") took over from Neil Burger (who directed "Divergent"). Schwentke guides us through the criss-crossing web of events, building up effectively to the climactic five Faction simulation that Tris had to hurdle. The movie clearly had a bigger budget and threw in a lot of neat special effects and spectacular sights. It was a pleasure to look at. I don't really care for FX that much but for a futuristic design and visuals can be very important and they certainly didn't cut corners in that department. The simulations in this film looked more sophisticated and complicated, with over-the-top visual effects, especially in that exciting Dauntless "sim" where Tris had to rescue her mom from a burning house hurtling in the air. Seriously, the film is actually not that bad, it does what it need to do - tops its predecessor in every department! Yes! the film has its own set of flaws, namely, its characters. Apart from Tris, all the other characters are too one-sided, predictable and not well elaborated. The only interesting character among the others is Jeanine's (Kate Winslet), but I think her motives, her way of thinking should have been presented more detailed. After the first film, it was a big question for me what her story is, her character had so much potential, but I think the writers did not make use of it at all. Luckily, Kate Winslet is an amazing actress who is always able to give a remarkable performance. What works in Insurgent is the same thing that made Divergent work, and that's Shailene Woodley as Tris. I've praised this young actress as being her generation's diamond-in-the-rough ever since she played George Clooney's daughter in The Decedents & The Spectacular Now. She occupies a role naturally, so that you never feel that she's acting. Even with the action around her, she still maintains the vulnerable girlishness that makes her role more sympathetic. Theo James as Four definitely brings eye candy to the role, as well as the rogue attitude that girls fall for. However, he too falls into one emotion, only breaking the mold when he has to get angry. Naomi Watts is attractive as a brunette and though she looks too young to have a son of Theo James's age, it's just so good to see her on screen. Maggie Q doesn't have enough lines but she is welcome presence and believable. Miles Teller has a few comic relief lines and is quite awesome. Ansel Elgort is suitably weak looking as the brother. Sometimes their romantic roles in other movies with Shailene come to mind. Theo James and her do have a good on screen believability as a couple. On the whole, Insurgent is basically we get what we should expect from such a sequel: another two hours of 3D visual awesomeness and captivating storytelling, along with a lovable female main character played very well again by Shailene Woodley. It has visually grand with mind-blowing special effects. It stands very well on its own, even if you have not yet seen the first film. It tells a complete story, with a defined resolution of events. It ends with a cliffhanger which makes you anticipate the next film.


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