Defy Reality: Inside the SIMs
"The stakes are higher in The Divergent Series: Insurgent," says 2nd Unit
Director/VFX Supervisor James Madigan. "Tris is in real jeopardy when she goes
into the SIMs the first movie, she could just say 'this isn't real' and crack
the code, but in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, if she dies in a SIM, she
In order to open the box, Tris must pass the SIMs for Dauntless, Candor,
Abnegation, Erudite and Amity by demonstrating bravery, honesty, selflessness,
intelligence and peacefulness.
Creating the simulations required a combination of live-action footage
involving elaborate stunts and practical effects and spectacular post-production
visual effects. "We started our conversations on this film talking about the
SIMs, because they are the hardest puzzles to solve, but also the greatest
opportunity," says Hammond.
"The first movie gave the audience a glimpse of what the SIMs could be; but
now with Erudite's radical tactics, they've become fully evolved," states
Waldman. "The amazing part of working with visual directors like Robert
Schwentke is that they take reality up to level 10. You want the audience to
sometimes wonder if it's real."
The Amity SIM begins with Tris falling midair through the city center.
Everyone has those falling dreams where you're falling in a way that is
horrifying but also slow and never-ending," comments Madigan. "When we started
exploring different ideas in pre-viz, we realized the SIMs gave us a great
opportunity to relay the emotional content needed inside fantasy elements. We
knew the SIMs were a great chance to show Tris' emotional struggle and take a
deeper look at what she was internalizing. There are no rules here, just her
emotions and her struggle to survive."
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