Movie Reviews: Divergent




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     Lionsgate (2 hrs. 23 min.)
     In a post apocalyptic world people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues.
     Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney
Bottom Line:

J.R. Johnson

Books targeted at young adults have found huge success, but also huge failures. For every Harry Potter or Hunger Games, there are dozens of popular books in line hoping to swim their way into the live-action realm of cinema. But when they arrive, they sink. “Divergent,” the film-adaptation of Veronica Roth’s popular novels, is the latest to make the jump to the big screen in hopes of triumph.

“Divergent” follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), and her journey in a dystopian world divided into special factions based off of the merits of humanity. A specified test is used to place the future generations in the divisions. But for Tris, the test are inconclusive, making her a divergent and a threat to the new world’s vision that must be eliminated. Tris attempts to hide in one of the many factions before she’s discovered.

For a film intertwined with a heavy layer of science fiction, “Divergent” turns to a road filled with missed opportunity and dullness. It requires a forgiving audience to imagine and interpret this post-apocalyptic future.  The story is telescoped, and it suffers deeply along with its relatively strong cast.

Imagination is almost a requirement, which is unique for a big budget movie, if you want to sink into the essence of this film that is sorely absent.

“Divergent” is certainty not the “Hunger Games” usurper many had predicted to be. If anything, there are many familiar places where you can tell it gets its inspiration from, but it barely finds a way to tailor itself into its own.

“Divergent’s” first step is more of a stumble, nearly a fall. Fortunately things can only go up from here.

Roth has already completed her series, and the two films following “Divergent” are already on the way with their production wheels in the midst of turning. However, their accomplishment is forced to climb a mountain instead of a hill to prove itself. If the first attempt to bring the adaptation to life is any indication, there is a lot of work to be done.

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