First I'll review each special feature, then I'll give you my overall impression of them all plus if I felt like anything could've been changed or added. You know me, I can't review something with just one or two sentences. If you're wanting to watch all these features without knowing what they're about or what's in them (and even quotes), then don't read ahead! Wait and watch for yourself first!! My overall review is that they're all excellent and totally worth it!
I'll be watching the Producers' commentary at a future time and I'll write a separate post for all the interesting facts I learn from it.
Insurgent Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind-The-Scenes Access
This is a viewing of the entire movie (it's in a small picture-in-picture box at the bottom left or right of the screen) with interviews of the actors, producers, Veronica Roth, and basically everyone else involved in this production plus lots of b-roll footage of the behind the scenes action during each part of the movie it corresponds to. It's really very interesting, and there's a ton to learn about the making of this movie.
- 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
In the first movie they had to introduce the factions, the people... the whole world. "Divergent was about the experience of coming out of a box, and so the movie was claustrophobic in a wonderful way." Insurgent is about self realization.
Shailene about Tris: "Tris in Divergent was a young lady who was naive to the extremities of the world. Tris in this new one is not naive any more. She's an incredibly strong female protagonist."
The producers discuss the evolution of Tris from the beginning of Divergent to the end of it. Brian Duffield, screenwriter of Insurgent, talks about how Insurgent picks up merely 5 days chronologically after Divergent ends, so for him the story was all about Tris and making it as much as possible about what she was going through and struggling with.
Shailene talks about how Tris is in such a fragile and fragmented state at the end of Divergent after all that's happened to her and how it's now hard for her to connect emotionally with the people around her. Four tries to be there for her but there's a wedge driven between them already.
Brian Duffield felt that writing this relationship was interesting because it's not just a basic "will they or won't they" scenario; it's a story about a couple going through life together and figuring out how to get through the obstacles and figuring out how to be better for each other.
The Others: Cast and Characters
Veronica Roth weighs in about how exciting it was to flesh out the characters in the continuation of the Divergent series.
- Uriah: Lucy Fisher acknowledges that they were unable to include Uriah in Divergent due to the abundance of characters they already had to introduce. She was well aware of the fans' disappointment in his absence and she felt the same way. Keiynan Lonsdale's first day of shooting was the rooftop scene between Uriah and Tris. He liked that the movie gave their characters a new way to develop a friendship, separate from what had already been written in the books. Shailene describes Keiynan as having "eyes that smile".
- Lynn: Played by Rosa Salazar. Lynn is older sister to Hector. Rosa and Emjay Anthony, the actor who plays Hector, became incredible close on the set, like real life siblings.
- Marlene: Played by Suki Waterhouse. Her biggest scene was also her last scene, unfortunately.
- Hector: Played by Emjay Anthony.
- Edgar: Played by Jonny Weston. This character was not actually written in the books, but he's loosely based on Edward's story line. He shares his thoughts on the Divergent story and that he admires that even though it's a huge story set it still involves elements and stories from the lives of people who are very real.
Anatomy of a Scene: The Train Fight
Ansel, Theo, and Shailene's thoughts on filming the fight scene in the train. Production design + special effects come together to create an interesting space for the fight to happen in. They tried to create as many layers, nooks and crannies, and areas for the actors to interact with and in as they could. "Everything we did was very safe, but also felt daring at the same time," Shai on the fighting. They began preparing with the actors and stunt doubles about two weeks prior to shooting the scene by taking the story boards and creating a fight around them with the stunt coordinator's expertise. They used computer technology to generate what the fights would look like and worked with Robert Schwentke, the director, until the simulation looked exactly like what he wanted to see in the movie. Then when the day of shooting comes, the director already has an idea of exactly what angles to shoot from because he knows what and where all the fighting will take place. The stunt coordinator shared that he was asked by the actors to make it "more real". For instance, Theo requested it to be more like that (smash cut to shot of Four smashing the Factionless guy's head into the side of the train), or Shai wants it to be more gritty and less trained (smash cut to Tris kicking the girl out of the middle of the train).
The computer generated pre-visualization of the fight scene also gave the story tellers a chance to focus on Caleb's story within the fight. He was forced to defend himself when a Factionless man attacked him, and he killed the man in his retaliation. I don't know why I never really realized Caleb killed him, but only just now hearing Ansel say it does it really hit home for me. The producers, Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher, felt that that moment would be a perfect climax for the fight scene.
The Peter Hayes Story
Octavia Spencer (Johanna Reyes, leader of Amity) refers to Peter as the "evil Dauntless". Brian Duffield, screenwriter, describes Peter as one of the most clever characters, that he's always a step ahead of everyone else.
Miles Teller speaks about Peter's development and growth from the beginning of Divergent to the end of Insurgent. "Peter goes on a true arc. He starts one way, he starts stabbing people in the eye, by the end of the movie you realize that he doesn't really like himself and the actions hes doing are just a manifestation of some deeper issue that he's just avoided."
He feels that Peter is the instigator for Tris, that he's always riling her up. "Yeah I think in 90% of my scenes I'm bleeding from Tris beating me up," he says about the action in Insurgent. He also jokes about how he'd like to see Peter's story continue...
Divergent: Adapting Insurgent to the Screen
As they began the process of creating this world and all of these elements, the producers never forgot that Veronica Roth sold 25 million books. Veronica was always open to change, though, as long as she felt it created a better and stronger story. According to the producers, Insurgent was a very difficult book to adapt into a movie. There were so many characters and ideas. Luckily, they always had Veronica to consult with whenever they had to make changes. For instance, in the book, Tris' divergence is no different that anyone else's, but in the movie they needed to give us a reason for why Jeanine would be so fixated on just this one girl and not the rest of the Divergent population.
Veronica about the movie "What I liked about some of the changes in Insurgent is that in the book there is these series of simulations throughout: so there's Jeanine playing around with Tris' mind to try to create a simulation that Divergents are not immune to. That's all in the book. But in the movie, they're just condensed and brought together with the use of "the box".
Todd Lieberman, producer of Insurgent, recalls the day Veronica saw the Factionless set for the first time and how speechless she was.
Here's a video clip from this part of the special features. More from it here!
My Overall Thoughts
I won't lie though, I can't believe there are no deleted scenes. I mean, COME ON! That's the thing everyone most looks forward to! We want to know what was filmed but didn't make it past the cutting room floor. I also wish they would include a bloopers reel. I know that those are more meant for comedies, but it would add a fun factor to this production that's missing. And lastly, I would give anything for them to have some of the actors get involved in the commentary. Hearing stories from their experience filming is the best part of owning the discs. I'm sad they've left that out. On the whole, I'm happy with the special features they've given us.