‘Insurgent’ more realistic, less empathetic
Peak and reek form the foundation of the successor dynotopian society from which heroic young adults rise to overcome. Whether a “Hunger Games,” “Maze” or “Divergent” universe, the aftermath of apocalyptic events have led to a ruling tyrannical class and segregating those of difference into lesser quadrants.
Under the Divergent society, young people have one personality trait. All those with similar traits are herded together in their sector, not questioning the ‘order’ of leadership, social groupings, and economic division. Separately, factions have gaping vulnerabilities; once merged, their strengths compliment and weaknesses lessen.
Tris (Shailene Woodley), a rare multiple faction survivor, has with her boyfriend Four (Theo James) challenged segregation and arbitrary placement. Faction leaders theoretically accept – more in thought than deed – the virtues of diversity. Meanwhile, the arbitrary despotic decisions of Prada mimicking Jeanine (Kate Winslet) rule. She, like other females, generally holds highest power; men advise or fight.
Unlike “Divergent,” which spent most of the production orienting viewers to the faction concept and the pitfalls thereof, “Insurgent” unleashes civil war drums. Tris and Four struggle convincing opposing vocations, retaining fragile solidarity and juggling relationship hormones.
Candids and Amity factions do not march on the Dauntless to engage the intelligent Erudite. Further vexation occurs as Tris – one of the land’s most wanted -surrenders undetected. To jab more opens a reality spoiler, though, nothing belittles the impressive virtual reality spectacles, illusions summoned, or surreal superhuman jumping, swinging and pelting.
Symbolically, the etched, detailed special effect ruins surrounding the great city (Chicago), reflect the infrastructure deterioration within many nations. Search the internet and you easily discover pages dedicated to abandoned factories, malls, houses and skyscrapers. Some of the disuse has come through migration often determined by shifting economic engines, i.e. from manufacturing to service to technology. The vision is (partly?) a future; some living conditions are (shudder) now.
Ms. Woodley has a wide acting arc demonstrating toughness, riding and jumping rails; rage, as her daunting acrobatics stretch fearlessly attempting to save her mom (Ashley Judd) from a fiery death as the cityscape implodes; and guilt-filled conscience displayed in reoccurring nightmares. Strength resonates, but she’s a bit clumsy embracing leadership except when rallying forces in reaction to vast devastation.
Visually Woodley’s endurance strapped onto a power simulator thunders a neat effect just as the CGI generated ruins. However, boots on the ground interaction stays sticky, more realistic than “Divergent,” yet not emotively snatching widespread empathy.