Picking up five days after the thrilling conclusion of Divergent, we find Tris and her companions in exile with the Amity group while they decide what their next move will be. Riddled with guilt over the death of her parents, Tris does her best to look strong, but she’s carrying around some serious emotional baggage. When the authorities finally catch up to her in the second act, the back story of the isolated community starts to make more sense, and as shocking as it sounds, Tris is the gateway to the past as well as their hope for the future, despite the Erudite’s leader doing her best to silence the rebellion.

Robert Schwentke takes over the director’s chair for the second installment and does a commendable job with the weakest of the three-book saga. Without Shailene Woodley’s ability to command a scene, I doubt the film would have been half as entertaining as it is with her in the lead, and she does a fantastic job of playing the reluctant hero.

Like the first film, the digitally shot production is quite impressive, with razor-sharp edges and great onscreen depth. The film is available in 3D as well (not reviewed here), and there are many scenes that probably shine in the seemingly dying format. Regardless, the 2D is no slouch, with plenty of detail in clothing and facial pores, and the CFI-intensive shots are extremely well done.

As much as I enjoyed Woodley’s acting prowess, it’s the Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 core) track that’s the true star of the show. The use of pinpoint discrete effects that object-based audio provides really places you in the scene and gives you that “being there” feeling. The film opens with Janine, the ruthless leader of the government, broadcasting a message to the masses. As the camera moves through the scene, her voice moves from the center speaker to overtop and then left to right, depending on the camera’s perspective. This is the first of many such occasions throughout the film that showcase what is arguably the best Atmos track on Blu-ray.

The robust supplement package contains an audio commentary from the producers, a fantastic behind-the-scenes documentary, five informative featuettes, and a marketing gallery, along with a UV Digital Copy of the film.

Of the recent teen book adaptations, this is probably my favorite due to the compelling story, excellent acting, and fantastic CGI-integration. Recommended.

Studio: Lionsgate, 2014
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1
Length: 119 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet