The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Shailene Woodley in Insurgent (NuMetro)
Shailene Woodley in Insurgent (NuMetro)

What it’s about:

It's a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues, Tris Prior is warned that she is divergent and will never fit into any one faction. 

When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader to destroy all divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four, and together they must find out what makes being divergent so dangerous—before it's too late.

What we thought:

PLEASE NOTE:  This review may contain spoilers for Divergent, which is the first movie in the trilogy.

Veronica Roth’s Divergent series is one of my favourite series to date.  Having devoured both the books and the Divergent film adaptation (which I surprisingly really enjoyed), I’ve been looking forward to seeing how the Insurgent movie would play out. 

While it isn’t without its flaws, Insurgent is probably one of the better book-to-film adaptations I’ve seen. 

I admit this grudgingly because I’m a book purist at heart and as such, tend to appreciate films that remain as true to the novel as possible. This is exactly why I spent half my time enjoying the cinematic and visual fest and half my time thinking “this is not how it was in the book.” 

With Robert Schwentke in the director’s seat this time around, Insurgent isn’t so much of a direct adaptation as it is an interpretation of the novel.  In fact, Divergent’s film rendition is probably a lot closer to the book than Insurgent is.

The essence of the book is certainly there, and if you’ve read the book, you’ll certainly recognise many of the elements the movie includes. 

What changes, however, are the following:

The dialogue and character interaction.  This didn’t bother me as much as I expected to, but I think that it’s because so many of the actors and actresses I’ve seen in motion picture screenings based on books, fail to accurately capture the tone of the book dialogue (I’m looking at you Fault in Our Stars, which ironically enough, features Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who are cast in the role of brother and sister in this trilogy). 

In fact, I dare say that Tris and Four (Woodley and Theo James) relate a lot better towards each other on-screen than they did in the first movie, where a huge chunk of the novel’s dialogue formed a large part of the film.

I have to go on to add that I was also impressed with Kate Winslet’s performance in the role of the cold and ruthless Jeanine Matthews. While James and Woodley’s acting is certainly strong, Winslet, for the on-screen time that she gets, certainly adds an extra oomph that I really enjoyed seeing.

Something else that changes in the movie is that the people responsible for killing certain people in the books aren’t the same in the movie.  I’ll leave you to work out who I’m talking about (top tip: you should probably give the book a reread before you watch the movie).

The biggest disappointment for me though, is that with this interpretation of the movie, characters that played huge roles in the book are downplayed and relegated to minor roles, something which I felt, took the whole “team spirit evident in the books” away from the movie.

The books clearly show how certain characters from various factions unite and stand together to fight, while in the movies, this is mostly glossed over. 

Visually, the movie was an absolute blast. 

With 3D effects, CGI and beautiful and scenic panning, Insurgent certainly is an epic and cinematic  piece of entertainment that should definitely be experienced on the big screen.

If you can look past the niggles, I daresay you’ll probably enjoy it more than Divergent.  

My final take on it is that as a book adaptation it fails, but as an interpretation of the novel (and there IS a difference)? It’s a pretty decent effort.

Go out and see the movie. You could do a lot worse.