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Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant (Blu-ray Reviews)

The Divergent SeriesBeing a Divergent virgin, when I was recently asked about covering the Blu-ray release of the third film in the series Allegiant (out on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 12 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment) my immediate thought was to pass.  How could I review the third installment when I hadn’t seen the other films?  The response was simple – Lionsgate sent me all three.  So below is my rather unconventional, but series comprehensive set of three reviews of Divergent, The Divergent Series: Insurgent and The Divergent Series: Allegiant all taken from the point of view of fresh eyes.  Included are the reviews of the films themselves plus my personal pick for the best featurette on each disc.  (And with some discs containing up to four hours of features it was a daunting task to pick and choose to say the least!)  And again for those looking for specific specs they are detailed and provided at the bottom.  Which movie faction will I choose – read on fans!

Divergent

DIVERGENT

Coming at Divergent from a place of total ignorance (no book or prior film knowledge!) the story here is a fascinating one. Young adults are placed into ‘factions’ based on personality tests and immersed in a new life for supposed peace and harmony. (Sounds like a recipe for anarchy!) There are of course good and bad points within Divergent. On the positive side leading lady Shailene Woodley plays a confused teen like no other (see White Bird in a Blizzard!) and has a engaging and believable journey from wide eyed kid to system bucking warrior woman. Plus some of her supporting cast – Ashley Judd as her spirited mom, Miles Teller as sassy self-pleasing Peter Hayes and especially Kate Winslet as the power hungry Jeanine Matthews – all provide ample entertaining backup for the films’ female star. Negatives here include an at times distinctive effort to remind the audience that the film is a ‘teen youth novel flick’ (not enough to merely be dystopian – you have to look young and hot too!) and even though he plays the role well enough, Woodley and her love interest Theo James have lukewarm chemistry that hurts the more romantic bits of the film. (And in all the other films for that matter!) So while a tad teen and lacking some love, Divergent is an interesting, engaging and entertaining outing.

(Best Featurette: The massive and meaty forty-seven minute doc “Bringing Divergent to Life” covers everything a fan could want – from book to screen.  Plus it can be watched in its four separate parts or as one single featurette for your convenience.)

 

Insurgent

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT

Possibly the weakest and most uneventful of the series thus far, Insurgent feels a lot like a been there, done that deal.  The main crux of the story here is a rehash that involves Woodley’s Tris getting caught and going through even more testing trials to open a mysterious box in a visual setup that feels like a cross between the confrontations in both The Matrix Revolutions (Neo tied up in wires anyone?!) and the breaking down of Faye Grant’s Julie Parrish by Jane Badler’s evil alien Diana in V.  The rest of the film merely exists to quickly introduce new characters (Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer join the cast) and story stall in what should have been a quick and obvious bolt to the wall.  (Trying to rhyme but you get my point!)  In the series of films, Insurgent just feels like a watch-once one-note wonder.

(Best Featurette: Thought that the previous Divergent doc was big?  This sucker houses a seven part (story to characters) way too comprehensive featurette titled “Insurgent Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind the Scenes Access” that clocks in at a whopping one hour and fifty-six minutes – it’s a series fans Graceland!)

 

Allegiant

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

With the large amount of scathing reviews of this outing (especially since this is the book they notoriously cut in half to make two films!) I was expecting a slow moving slugfest – not so.  With it’s constant forward movement both in characters and sensational new surroundings, Allegiant adds so much more than Insurgent.  We get Woodley and company not only scaling the wall, but coming across a new world (the sexy entrance feels like something out of Ridley Scott flick!) and then having to deal with the personal politics within.  Heading up the ‘too perfect’ creep compound is the honest yet eerie Jeff Daniels and his addition here is a welcome one.  Plus we get a lot more mischievous Peter Hayes, some Prior parents backstory and a set up for a good old-fashioned rebellion. But at no time did I ever feel like this part one was a mondo stretch for an easy cash grab – Allegiant, much more than Insurgence, gave me my money’s worth.

(Best Featurette: Not so large (but still tasty!) is the doc “The Next Chapter: Cast & Characters” that goes through new cast with the help of the old – prepare for some interesting insight!)

 

Divergent Blu-ray

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio 

Audio Formats(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 Optimized for Late-Night Listening, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Neil Burger
  • With Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher

Bringing Divergent to Life (HD, 47:17)

Faction Before Blood (HD, 14:51)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 4:27)

Beauty Hart Music Video (HD, 3:48)

Also From Lionsgate (HD, 7:34)

Marketing Gallery – Contains trailers, posters and the like.

Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD Copy

Slip Cover and Divergent Temporary Tattoos

 

Insurgent Blu-ray

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio 

Audio Formats(s): English Dolby TrueHD Atmos Mix, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher

Insurgent Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind the Scenes Access (HD, 1:56:32)

From Divergent to Insurgent (HD, 5:09)

The Others: Cast and Characters (HD, 5:40)

Anatomy of a Scene: The Train Fight (HD, 4:01)

The Peter Hayes Story (HD, 2:40)

Diverging: Adapting Insurgent to the Screen (HD, 4:00)

Also From Lionsgate (HD, 6:57)

Marketing Gallery – Contains sneak peeks, trailers and picture galleries.

Blu-ray and Digital HD Copy

Lenticular Slip Cover

 

Allegiant Blu-ray

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Audio 

Audio Formats(s): English Dolby TrueHD Atmos Mix, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, English SDH Spanish

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher

Allegiant: Book to Film (HD, 4:51)

Battle of the Bullfrog: The Stunts and Choreography Behind this Thrilling Sequence (HD, 3:56)

Finding the Future: Effects & Technology (HD, 10:32)

Characters in Conflict: The Motivations Behind the Film’s Antagonists (HD, 5:58)

The Next Chapter: Cast & Characters (HD, 7:56)

Building the Bureau (HD, 11:56)

Also From Lionsgate (HD, 9:36)

Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD Copy

Lenticular Slip Cover

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I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include Starpulse.com, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend and partner James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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