Hey everyone! So much like how I did for Divergent, the first book of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, I thought I’d compare the second book of the series, Insurgent, to its movie adaptation.
You can go back and read my review of Divergent here. If you haven’t read Insurgent yet then you may not want to read on beyond the first paragraph below. There are plenty of spoilers ahead!
So, like most sequels, I didn’t like Insurgent as much as I did Divergent. It was very action packed and we saw so much of the lives in the other factions which was nice but it seemed so inconsistent with the first book at various points. I have the book three out of five stars. The movie adaptation didn’t exactly follow the book but that was both a good and bad thing. I felt it did a good job of trying to get things to make sense that didn’t in the book but took a lot of liberties changing things that were fine to begin with.
Now for some spoilers. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now!
It’s difficult to know where to start. I think I’ll start with the good parts of the book and movie.
I loved seeing how Amity and Candor live. Candor was my favorite of the two. Amity, it turns out, drugs its members to keep everyone relaxed and happy. I thought the Candor part of the movie was very true to the book.
Casting for the movie was pretty good though. The only person I questioned was Four’s mom. She didn’t look much older than Tris herself, so it was a few moments before I realized who she was supposed to be. But everyone else that was new for this movie seemed to fit the characters really well.
I also loved how the remaining Dauntless finally got to return to their home. I liked the scene better in the book, when it was such a celebration. Dauntless everywhere destroying the cameras in the building and setting up the lives together again in the face of continuing danger. In the movie it was much more abrupt but just as firm, the Dauntless belonged in that building and it still would have had the same impact when the Erudite took control of the three Dauntless and tried to get them to draw Tris, specifically Tris, out. Ultimately it did not because we knew the characters in the book, while in the movie we did not, but it still made an impact to have their home invaded in such a way.
Like Divergent, the last main portion of the movie was changed, and for the better I think. Now it has been a while since I read the book and watched the movie (I have to remember to write these reviews right away!) so I could be off on this but from what I remember the goals were completely different. In the book when Tris turns herself in she turns into a volunteer Divergent experiment so a new simulation serum can be developed. Jeanine isn’t trying to get her specifically, but rather any Divergent, although she is pleased that it’s Tris who arrives.
In the movie, she is actually hooked up to a box that creates simulations for each faction, so only someone 100% Divergent can open it and view a message hidden in it. The Erudite leader, Jeanine, wants to view it to decide whether or not to share it with the city, if it helps her quest for power. The test is a simulation for each of the factions. In order to unlock the box, Tris must successfully display traits from all the factions in turn.
Another huge difference in this part is Tris’ fake death. In the book, Jeanine gets frustrated that the tests didn’t work and orders Tris’ death. Peter changes the serums to fake Tris’ death. In the movie, he still switches the serums but he does so without Jeanine’s order to kill Tris, he actually makes the decision to do so as Tris is injected with a simulation serum when she is hooked up to the box, and Jeanine is actually quite angry when Tris “dies”. I thought that was a cute change and all, but the book version is more in line with Peter’s character. He is a Dauntless who can only be brave in bursts and if the opportunity presents itself, he isn’t the type to go out of his way to save the day, so the movie version was a little strange.
Honestly I liked the movie spin on the experiments performed on Tris better. But that could be because the book version likely wouldn’t have been as much fun to see it on screen.
And onto the not so good.
Unfortunately the movie cut out a lot of characters and parts that I would have liked to see. Tris meets up with one of her Abnegation friends when she gets to Amity in the books. Caleb also acts more like a brother to her in the book than in the movie. Oh and Amity drugging Tris and her telling Four that she’s “not very nice” and then later yelling at him to get out of her room, mortified, when he teases her about it was hilarious. But the movie was already packed with action scenes so they did have to leave it out I suppose.
Earlier I said that the Candor portion of the movie was true to the book portion. I did feel that it was, but one thing was different. In the book Tris doesn’t really struggle with the truth serum. She seems to feel it’s strong suggestion that she reveal she killed Will but maintains to Four later that she could have kept that to herself if she had really wanted to. In the movie, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Candor leader prompts her to stop fighting the serum while she is clearly in pain on screen, telling her it’ll hurt more to fight the truth than to tell it. She doesn’t seem to have a choice.
One thing that really bothered me was how Tris seemed to be an almost different character. In Divergent she is a strong female character, quick, witty, and ready to take on whatever comes her way. In neither the book nor the movie, does she show these traits at the level she did before. She is still assertive in the book, demanding to know what is going on and what is happening to her in the Erudite headquarters. But in the movie she doesn’t even get the chance to display that at all. It also bothered me that she didn’t call Four out on his hypocrisy and tell him when he’s out of line at times when she would have in the first book.
The movie also made Tris more essential to the story. While she is the main character, in the book she is the one taking on Erudite because of her bravery and it is her decision to remain involved. Various times in the book she says the only way she was brave enough to be selfless, something that should have come easy to her as she was born to Abnegation, was to join the Dauntless. But in the movie she is forced into action because Jeanine is searching for her. At first it seems to be because Jeanine is angry that Tris is causing so much problems. Then in the movie it is because she is looking for the highest percentage of Divergent traits in everyone, hunting down all Divergent. I liked it better when it was Tris making the calls rather than Jeanine.
As for the ending, I think it was better explained and more exciting in the book, especially when Tris comes to the realization that only the factionless have the weapons. But the result is the same. A video message is played for the audience that changes everything for them.
And that’s my review! Overall, Insurgent was enjoyable enough but not at the same level as Divergent, for sure. I’m going to read Allegient and Four next, although I do already know what happens in the next book. It felt a little long, but there was plenty of action to keep you entertained and push you onto the next section. I definitely feel that the movie enhanced the book, like Divergent, I felt the world made more sense blending the two worlds of the book and the movie together.
I really love doing these comparison reviews! I definitely want to keep doing them. Any suggestions of what book and movie adaptation reviews I should do next are welcome!
Thanks for reading!