Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Jai Courtney
Written by: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback and (based on the novel) Veronica Roth
Running Time: 119 mins
Release date: 19th March 2015
Released last year, Divergent was another YA dystopia drama that I missed the first time round, so had to catch up just recently in order to view this sequel. One thing that stood out for me when watching the first film was how unmemorable it was. This was really brought home when the new film started and I couldn’t remember what happened. So I hoped that this time around, things would have picked up. Alas, they haven’t.
Tris, having been identified as a Divergent, is now on the run and hiding from the all-powerful Jeanine, who wants to stop her from leading the revolution that is slowly building. Then Jeanine finds a box that can only be opened by a true Divergent, which could hold ultimate power. Tris, who could lead the fight against the authority, could also be the only one to crack the secrets held within the box.
The first film spent most of the time with Tris running and jumping in order to train for her new role as a heroine for the people. This time round, we spend half the film watching Tris running and jumping from the most incompetent soldiers around, who shoot hundreds of bullets at her and none ever hit their target.
The film takes a spin in the second half, as Tris is used to open the box, so she is hung from the ceiling with black tubes, going through a series of emotional hallucinations. Like the first film, however, it just doesn’t have enough plot or spectacular set pieces to lift it higher than mundane.
Many of the fans of the successful series of books have complained that people have compared these adventures to The Hunger Games. It’s easy to see why. Both have strong female leads, both are set in a society where the powerful are slowly crushing the weak and both have a sense of revolution. Yet The Hunger Games has such a strong identity and knows where it’s going. The Divergent series seem to spend most of its time trying to get as far removed from the comparisons that it ends up running head on into a carbon copy of the more successful big sister.
The cast is valiant with their efforts. Shailene Woodley has been compared to Jennifer Lawrence and she does well with bringing Tris to life but you can’t help but play on those similarities. Kate Winslet is still having fun playing the villain of the piece, Jeanine, while Naomi Watts, almost unrecognisable with dark hair, is an interesting addition to the cast.
With an obvious bigger budget and shorter running time, Insurgent is an improvement on the first film, which did spend most of the time concentrating on the training. Here we get a film with a little more action but very little character development and sadly just as unmemorable as the first film. We have been promised two parts to the final book in the trilogy (why aren’t we surprised?) but to be honest, they should release just one film and get it all over with.