I’ve never laughed so hard at a movie that wasn’t trying to be funny. I knew Insurgent was going to be cheesy from the trailer, but I wasn’t prepared for how cheesy it actually was.
You know that cringe-worthy scene of Four jumping in front of a train from the trailer? That’s just a preview of what to expect from the Insurgent movie. It’s filled with Matrix slow down effects and overprocessed, cheesy action scenes, and I cringed every time it appeared. From Tris starting fights, to the simulations, and every time there was a gun fight, this effect would be used every time. It was ridiculously over the top and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
While Shailene does her best to convey the tortured, selfless soul that Tris (Shailene Woodley) was, I just wasn’t a fan of her character here. Tris is suffering from guilt from the death of her parents and her friend Will, which permeates through the entire movie. She’s full of angst, self hate and constantly makes impulsive and rash decisions that don’t make any sense at all.
In the book, we’re lead through her thought processes, but onscreen they just looked like stupid decisions driven by no logic. These include:
- Starting a knife fight with her frenemy Peter, when they’re meant to be undercover
- Starting a fight with a train full of factionless, versus Four, herself and the weak and puny Caleb
- Going back into the lab, which she just escaped, to steal a mysterious box (A WEIRD ADDITION)
- Standing there staring at the box instead of escaping, while the Erudite are bursting in
Compared to the first movie, Insurgent was a physically demanding role for Shailene, who heavy-hands her way through fights with her Dauntless training. We love Tris for her strength of her character, her intelligence, her heart and steely resolve, but here her brawn was emphasised a bit too much. Given Shailene’s small and skinny form, it was kind of hard to believe as she takes down multiple enemies with a sleight of her hand.
You all know how much I love Theo James, but he wasn’t given much of a chance here to demonstrate his character. His role pretty much consisted of his signature puppy dog look and intense stare. As much as I admired his jawline and physique, he played the stereotypical white knight in this one, stepping in at the last moment to save Tris every single time. I missed his leadership and cockiness from the first movie.
I was stunned with his mother Evelyn (Naomi Watts) though, who actually manages to look younger than her on-screen son. I completely struggled with this relationship dynamic because of how young and flawless she looked, especially next to Four.
It wasn’t all bad though, as the Insurgent movie really opened up the rest of the world, by showing us what the headquarters of Amity, Candor and the factionless looked like. I liked seeing the technology, the experiments and the truth serum at the Candor headquarters; it’s the scientific parts which sets it apart from other dystopians.
Compared to the first movie, Insurgent really ramps up the action sequences, the CG simulations and the matrix effects, giving it a cheesy feel overall. Despite the big name actresses in there, Shailene Woodley was the only one that had depth of character, and even she constantly made silly, annoying decisions that defy logic. The movie is all over the place, with a looser plot than the first one, but we did get to see a lot of the other factions and the equipment.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though, as the visuals were done really well and the concept was executed brilliantly on screen.
Verdict: Leave your brain at the door.