Insurgent - Blu-ray Disc Review

The Second Installment Of The Divrgent Series Gets The Deluxe Blu-ray Treatment

Insurgent 2D/3D Blu-ray Disc
Insurgent 2D/3D Blu-ray Disc. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The second installment of the popular young-adult targeted Divergent Series, titled Insurgent, has made its way onto Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D, Dolby TrueHD/Dolby Atmos, and the inclusion of a comprehensive visual commentary. To find out if it is worthy of your Blu-ray Disc collection, check out the following review.

Story

Insurgent continues the story that began in the first installment, Divergent, which is set in a future dystopian society where people are placed into factions according their personality traits. To enforce this, everyone is tested before they officially become adults so that they can be properly assigned to the correct faction.

However, not everyone fits the formula, so when Beatrice Prior (Tris) discovers that her test results indicate that she is "Divergent", she must grow up fast and not only fight for her own survival as a result of not having a place in the societal structure, but finds herself a leader in the fight to dismantle the unjustness of that society.

Insurgent starts fives days after the events outlined in Divergent. Tris and her allies find themselves on the run from those in charge of enforcing the faction system, and in the process form a uneasy alliance with someone that is also seeking power. However, adding more to the mix is a mysterious artifact that may contain a secret that could unravel everything - the destiny of Tris, her allies, those in control, and those that hope to be. For more on the story and additional perspective, read a review of the theatrical presentation for parents by Kristin Gaughn (About.com Kids' Movies/TV)

Blu-ray Package Description

Studio: Lionsgate

Running Time: 119 Minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Genre: Action, Adventure

Director: Robert Schwentke

Discs (3D Edition): Two 50 GB Blu-ray Discs (one 3D, one 2D), One DVD.

Digital Copy: UltraViolet and iTunes

Video Specifications: Video codec used - MVC MPEG4 (3D), AVC MPG4 (2D), Video resolution - 1080p, Aspect ratio - 2.40:1, - Special features and supplements in various resolutions and aspect ratios.

3D: The film was shot in 2D and converted to 3D as part of the post-production process. Conversion performed by Legend3D

Audio Specifications: Dolby Atmos (English), Dolby TrueHD 7.1 or 5.1 (default downmix for those that down't have a Dolby Atmos setup), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish), Dolby Digital 2.0 Optimized for Late Night Listening, English Descriptive Audio.

Subtitles: English, Spanish.

Bonus Features - Accessible on the 2D Blu-ray Disc:

Audio Commentary - Traditional running commentary by Producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher commenting on the cast, character, and shooting decisions.

Insurgent Unlocked: Ultimate Behind The Scenes Access - A complete visual commentary that runs the entire length of the film (shown in a PIP box) in which all aspects of making the film, including production and set design, story boards, rehearsals, pre-visualizations, stunt choreography, and addition behind-the-scenes footage is presented, sometime directly comparing shooting vs completed footage (very impressive). If you want to know just about everything that it takes to put together a big-budget film, this is a must after you have watching Insurgent.

Diverging: Adapting Insurgent To The Screen - A discussion on how Insurgent was adapted from book to screen, and what changes needed to be made to make the story more effective for a film presentation. Includes comments by Divergent Series Novelist, Veronica Roth.

The Others: Cast and Characters - An examination of the key supporting cast and characters in the film - both friend and foe.

The Train Fight Unlocked - A detailed look at what it took to put the Train Fight scene on film - Much of this segment is actually included in the Insurgent Unlocked documentary.

The Peter Hayes Story - An examination of the Peter Hayes, a key enemy in the story.

Marketing Gallery - A collection of marketing materials for Insurgent, including five trailers, motion posters, a special promo for Regal Cinema, a promo piece put together for HBO, and a still image gallery.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - Video

In terms of video quality, Insurgent is very well presented on Blu-ray. The transfer is clean, with excellent detail and a very natural color palette. The production and set design are excellent.

Also, another visual standout of the film is the seamless integration of physical and CGI effects. It turns out that even the though the film story is set in Chicago, much of the filming actually took place in Atlanta, Georgia.

Also, the film contains several virtual-reality type sequences that push the limits of mixing both practical sets and CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), especially one visually impressive sequence involving a virtual reality experience where Tris is trying to rescue her mother from a burning house floating in air amongst the ruins of Chicago that also incorporates standout stunt choreography.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - 3D

As far as the implementation of 3D goes, it is rather subdued throughout most of the film. The 3D isn't bad (no excessive artifacts, such as haloing or excessive motion blur, but a little dark at times), and, in fact, does work well for the portions of the film that take place in a virtual reality environment, and to a less extent in providing depth to the sprawling ruins of Chicago. However, overall, the implementation of 3D is just not as effective as it could have been, given the epic nature of the film. It is important to note the 3D Blu-ray package also comes with a 2D Blu-ray version of the film as well.

Blu-ray Disc Presentation - Audio

For audio the Blu-ray Disc (both 2D and 3D versions) provide Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel soundtracks. If you have a Dolby Atmos home theater setup, you will experience a more precise and immersive listening experience (vertical height) than with the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 option.

However, I found that the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack I had access to on my system was both wide and immersive in its own right and is definitely effective, matching the visuals perfectly, from the interior ambience of a huge warehouse/parking garage and a train car, as well as excellent sound object placement within the numerous battle and virtual reality scenes.

Also, the LFE subwoofer channel is very active, and provides just the right dramatic emotional impact, especially for the battle scenes (vehicles, explosions, gunfire).

Also, those that do not have a home theater receiver that provides Dolby Atmos or Dolby TrueHD decoding, your Blu-ray Disc player will send out a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix.

Final Take

In terms of the story, I would not consider myself a big fan of the Divergent Series, as it is too similar for me to The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and even Jupiter Ascending, but I will say that it is definitely an enjoyable home theater experience and well worth the time, especially if you have a family with pre-teens and teens and enjoy getting to together for family viewing nights.

However, my suggestion is if you haven't seen the first chapter in this series Divergent, watch that film first, as that it does make Insurgent easier to follow.

Insurgent is also a great video and audio demo worthy disc that shows off the capabilities of your home theater - especially the visual environments of the virtual reality lab and experiences.

As a final note, if you are bonus feature fan, this Blu-ray package is for you - especially the feature-length "Insurgent Unlocked" documentary, which, at almost two hours, definitely requires its own set-aside viewing time (I would suggest watching a day or two after viewing the film).

However, if you don't have time to watch the entire Insurgent: Unlocked feature all at once, you can opt to watch it in segments as follows: Building a Bigger World, Creating the Big Screen Experience, Exploring the Factionless, From Factionless to Candor, A New Landscape of Weapons and Stunts, Composers and Simulators, A Fight to the Finish

For those that like digging into more, the bonus features even include all the marketing materials, such as motion posters, trailers, and promos target to movie theater owners.

Insurgent on Blu-ray (whether you buy the 3D/2D or 2D Blu-ray Disc packages), definitely deserve a spot in your movie disc collection.

DISCLAIMER:The Blu-ray Disc package used in this review was provided by Dolby Labs and Lionsgate.

Note: Additional films released so far on Blu-ray Disc with Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtracks include: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Step Up All In, The Expendables 3, the 2014 incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, On Any Sunday - The Next Chapter, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Gravity: Diamond Luxe Edition, Unbroken, American Sniper, Jupiter Ascending, and The Gunman

NOTE: Insurgent on Blu-ray makes use of an operating structure referred to as Seamless Branching, which determines how a Blu-ray Disc player navigates the content on the disc. As result, it is possible that some Blu-ray Disc players (Sony PS3, OPPO BDP-93, and possibly some others) may not be able to playback the Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD audio option on the 3D version of the film. However, for those players that are affected, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is accessible.