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“Divergent” – Review (NEGATIVE)

April 2, 2014

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 7.34.53 PMBORING. That’s the word I could use to describe “Divergent” in a nutshell. In this “Hunger Games” world we’re living in, the young adult adaptations are all the rage for the studios. Already we have yet another (potential) franchise in the making, “The Maze Runner”??? What the shit is that!? At least with “The Hunger Games” the film has intricate themes, absorbing characters, and a mixture of vibrant juxtaposed with a gritty visual aesthetic. “Divergent” fails to draw you in from the start, and it’s a shame, because the films director, Neil Burger has done better work than this.

Set in a futuristic dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions that each represents a different virtues. The societies teen youth are forced into deciding what faction they want to live in for the remainder of their days. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) makes a choice that surprises her entire family. Tris selects ‘Dauntless’, a group filled with daredevils and hot heads, whose soul purpose is violent defense of their society.

‘Dauntless’ sets up a competitive initiation process the top 20 selected will stay, while the remaining 20 (out of 40) are banished to a faction-less group. Tris undergoes extreme physical and intense psychological tests that turn her into a person she never imagined she could be. However, Tris has a secret… she’s a Divergent, which means she doesn’t fit into any one group….or something like that. As you can tell, by this highly convoluted premise description, I’m sure you’ve already lost interest.

The two and half-hour runtime does the movie no service, especially when the first two hours is constant exposition for a series this jumping point of a movie is trying to convey. It’s a desperate attempt to sucker in the fans of the books, which I hear aren’t bad books, at least better than “Twilight”, but I’m sure we can all agree, anything is better than “Twilight”, however the movie is trying to fit in so much intense detail without out staying its welcome. The opening of the film, when we’re being taught about the five factions, already after the name of the second faction, I could not for the life of me keep up.

I attend a matinee with my friend Nira, both of us sat there, constantly laughing at such awkward moments, riddled by hammy dialogue. The movie has way too many young adult clichés, that it almost becomes embarrassing to sit through, but like I said before, anything is better than “Twilight”, at least the actors in this film can…’act’? The biggest name in this movie is Oscar winner Kate Winslet, as the films main antagonist, who’s Hitler ideals, is overdone, and simply not convincing enough, without clear indication why she does what she does.

In all honesty, this movie is just a plain old pile of mess-glop, or shit. No, I don’t want to say shit, because there was some effort put into the film, and maybe the next two films will shed some light on some unanswered questions, but I’m really not hopeful at the slightest. You’ll see me at a “Hunger Games” movie, way before another entry in the “Divergent” saga.

GRADE: D-

Aaron Shore, is a contributing blogger for the film sites of Hudak on Hollywood & Midnight Reviews.

You can follow Aaron on Twitter @DoubleAAProd

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