HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Insurgent 3D
HTS Overall Score:87
Media is awash with young adult entertainment these days. I can’t turn my head without finding my wife’s nose in another trilogy, or another book being adapted for the big screen. Many of them blend together in one long blur as you notice the repetitiveness of them all. Dystopian future, teens/young adults need to find a way to break free from an apocalypse of terror where evil adults are trying to control their minds, spirits, wills or just plain existence. Rinse, repeat a dozen times. All I can say is, thank goodness we’re out of the sparkly vampire phase. I’ll take these dystopian futures any day over another moment of Edward and Bella mooning over each other. Also, thank everything you can think of that they didn’t create the spinoff series about Jacob and his clan, or we’d still be stuck in that era! The “Divergent” series has stood itself apart from the mix of repetition by being just a little better than the rest. It, unfortunately, doesn’t rise to the same level as “The Hunger Games” series, but it does a solid job at being entertaining. “Insurgent” is just a hair worse than divergent, suffering from the main downside to movies that are PLANNED trilogies (or in this case, known because there are 3 books). It acts as a bridging mechanism between the expositions of the first movie, and the big hyped up finale of the third entry, thus leaving it kind of light on any real depth due to the fact that it’s just there to tie the beginning and end movie together.
Last time we saw Four (Theo James) and Beatrice Potter (Shailene Woodley), they were on the run from the psychotic leader of the factions, Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and even on the run from their own faction, dauntless. Hiding out with the surviving dauntless members in Abnegation, Beatrice and Four are wondering what to do next when the choice is taken from them. Finding their location by sweeping, Dauntless, under the control of Jeanine, hunts them down and sends them once more into a full tilt run for survival. Going from the frying pan and into the fire, our heroes are thrust once more into an uncomfortable situation as they come face to face with the factionless, a group of underground freedom fighters made up of divergent and outcast people alike. While we had the shock of Four’s dad being the Ex leader of Amity and the old president as well, we find out that Four’s long though dead mother, Evelyn (Naomi Watts), is their leader. Pressed with becoming a leader and symbol for the freedom fighters (much like “The Hunger Games”), Beatrice is faced with the impossible choice. Fight the good fight, or become a pawn for someone else’s game.
Thanks to some nasty injected tech from Jeanine during their last encounter, Beatrice is blackmailed into giving herself up to the ice queen in order for Jeanine to conduct an experiment on an ancient device that holds an incredible secret that Beatrice’s parents gave their lives to keep out of her grasp. It seems the device requires a divergent to run, as the person who is being tested (much like the tests of the first movie) needs to pass the test for ALL the faction types. Something a regular person wouldn’t be able to do. Agreeing to do this for Jeanine in trade for the lives of her compatriots, Beatrice begins the task and soon finds out that the secret Jeanine is craving, may be a bitter pill to swallow.
One of the main downfalls of these sequels is way too much time rehashing what went before it. Thankfully “Insurgent” has the good sense to hit the ground running with a great action scene and fully expecting you to know what happened in the movie before it instead of slowing down the plot with needless exposition. The initial first act of the movie was better than all of “Divergent” before it, with some great action as Jai Courtney’s jerk of a character hunts them down. The action scene in the train with the factionless was one of the highlights of the entire film, and for a PG-13 young adult film felt BRUTAL. The blood isn’t shown of course, but some of the deaths had me raising and eyebrow as the ante was raised and the methods were definitely one where you don’t walk away from. Then it started to dip with the doldrums that happen when you’re filling in time until the third movie. The truth serum section was fairly meaningless and the only real explanation it gave was that they now had a whole army to pull from with the factionless if they needed to and to give some more emotional times for Beatrice and Christina (Zoe Kravitz).
The ending is really where I started rolling my eyes though, as you can obviously tell things were cut from the book. The double betrayal by a certain main character felt awkward and out of left field, and I confirmed with my wife that there was a lot more explanation on that change in the novel, something which the movie only made happen in a few minutes. As much as she’s popular, I just can’t see the appeal of Shailene Woodley. Theo James is all hunky and what not, giving off that stoic hero sort of vibe and is certainly passable, but Shailene is NOT an actor that I find that good. She had one good movie with “The Fault in our Stars” and suddenly she’s thrust in the spotlight. It didn’t help that the cropped hair she had for the movie looked AWFUL on her and the rasping sobbing she does the whole movie gets really irritating, really fast. The saving performances are actually by the veterans. Winslet is fantastic as the ego maniacal and just pure EVIL Jeanine. Playing her character up with such a wonderful level of tact that you sort of feel sorry for her for a few moments, but then just LOATHE her with every fiber of your being the next. Naomi Watts just can’t turn in a bad performance, and even though she’s given limited screen time, here performance as Evelyn is believable and very comfortable. I can’t say that I disliked “Insurgent”, but some of the cheesy moments drew me out of the story and had me liking “Divergent” just a little more, even though there was lot less action in freshman film.
One thing that I am REALLY glad about, is that the movies made enough for them to film “Allegiant” (which is actually being split up into two parts just like every other popular franchise these days to boost profits), which is actually filming as we speak. This is something that was VERY annoying in the young adult genre, as many of these movies were inspired by a series of novels and ones that required you to read all of them to get the full story. With young adult films being made left and right, most of them didn’t profit enough to make a sequel ,and left viewers hanging, waiting for what comes next only to be disappointed. Here at least we get to see the series come to a proper end.
Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50817[/img]“Insurgent’s” 2.40:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray presentation is a great one, and one that hovers just on the verge of being perfect. Colors are bright and warm, with very little color grading whatsoever (which is rather rare these days, especially for big budget blockbusters). The detail is astounding with close up shots, able to see ever little stray hair on Shailene’s cropped hairdo, and ever little line on Kate Winslet’s face (although she looks stunning for her age). Wide angle shots look almost as great as the close ups, with great fine detail and little to NO softness in the image. Black levels are inky black with tons of shadow resolution, but there is a problem with banding in the dark scenes. I know it was an issue with “Mocking Jay: Part 1”, but luckily it’s not as blatant. When you shift to dark, night time sequences, the banding can be noticed, but it doesn’t take over the whole screen like it did in “Mocking Jay’s” break out of Peeta. This is the ONLY thing in my opinion that kept this from a 5 star video rating, as “Insurgent’s” good qualities vastly outnumber this flaw.
The 3D presentation of “Insurgent” is unfortunately a bit stilted. The image is quite good, with some solid use of layering at times, but the fact that the movie wasn’t filmed in 3D and was converted at the last minute is undeniable. There is a distinct lack of depth to the image and most pop out effects are of the more “standard” variety. Think of scenes like where Beatrice I leaping out of the glass window where she was being tested. Those kind of “oh yeah, seen those” type of effects. The image itself isn’t wildly darkened in the 3D conversion, which is a nice feature, and I did notice that the slightly darker image did accentuate the recognition of the banding, which kind of counterbalances the whole thing.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=50825[/img]The audio, on the other hand, is just stunning. Being one of Dolby’s latest Atmos tracks, it was fine tuned for home theater and commercial theater’s alike to sound the best that it possibly could. The layers of immersion are incredible with highly detailed surround usage that pulls you in from the sides, and a rocking LFE track with nuanced and multi note bass lines. Gunshots can sound deep and weighty, while the rest of the track doesn’t feel overwhelmed with low end. The cacophony of the battle between Beatrice and dark Beatrice are incredible, with razor sharp accuracy and a fantastic sense of directionality. Dialog is crisp and clean, with a wide range of play amongst the main speakers, and some great dynamic balance with the rest of the effects. Those of you without Atmos setups will have to make do with the 7.1 Dolby TrueHD core, but that is nothing to sneeze at here.
• Audio Commentary with Producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher
• "Insurgent" Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind-the-Scenes Access
• From "Divergent" to "Insurgent"
• The Others: Cast and Characters
• Anatomy of a Scene: The Train Fight
• The Peter Hayes Story
• Divergent: Adapting "Insurgent" to the Screen
• Marketing Gallery
“Insurgent” isn’t going to break ground in the Young Adult genre. It’s not “Maze Runner” or “Hunger Games”, but it is in no way as bad as “Mortal Instruments” or “Twilight” either. Stuck firmly in the middle it gives a reasonably entertaining experience for those who enjoy this genre of film, and certainly is head and shoulders over much of the drek put out today in that particular subset of media. The disc itself has some FANTASTIC audio and video scores, with a great array of extras. One of the best displays of extras that I’ve seen in a new release in quite some time. The 3D is a bit middling, but I have to say, the price difference on release week is only $2 difference between the 2D and 3D, so if you’re even mildly interested in the 3D I would go for it. Not only does the 3D pack include the 3D disc, but a DVD version as well, something the 2D release is lacking. Good for a rental
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort
Director: Robert Schwentke
Written By: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsmith
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos, English DD 2.0, Spanish DD 5.1
Runtime: 119 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Buy Insurgent 3D Combo Pack Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Insurgent Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Worth Checking Out
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