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“Divergent” review - an action pack movie, that falls short in development

Divergent

Rating:
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Divergent is based on the NY Times best-selling book by Veronica Roth. It follows Tris (Shailene Woodley, Spectacular Now) who lives in world that is divided into five factions, one each that focus on either honesty, selflessness, bravery, intelligence, and peacefulness. At a certain age, you take a test in order to find out which faction you belong to, but Tris’s results come out inconclusive, making her dangerous.

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To hide what she is, she goes to Dauntless (the brave) and tries to hide there, but soon finds out that she may have chosen wrong. She makes friends with smart-mouth, Christina (Zoe Kravitz, X-men: First Class) and enemies with prideful Peter (Miles Teller, That Awkward Moment). She enlists the help of her teacher, Four (Theo James, TV’s Downtown Abbey) and her mom (Ashley Judd, Olympus Has Fallen) to try and hide her Divergence from Jeannine Matthews (Kate Winslet, Labor Day) and Eric (Jai Courtney, Die Hard with a Vengeance).

Divergent had a lot of pressure riding out it’s shoulders having to show the world that it’s not like those other Young Adult fiction adaptations we have been seeing lately. This new series hopes to be successful like The Hunger Games, but knowing that it might not reach that height, while also trying to compete with the success of the book.

Divergent is an action-packed story that has strong, powerful characters that each believe that they are doing the right thing for society. Tris is a very strong female character that doesn’t take any slack from anybody, especially those in authority. Obviously, this makes her stick out, but is also one of the reasons why fans like her so much.

The best part of the movie is the action and the fighting sequences. It is obvious that the actors took training in fighting and the camera angles that director Neil Burger did were phenomenal in the fighting sequences. The best scene in the movie is at the end and not to spoil the big moment, but it’s definitely one of the better fighting sequences that I’ve seen in a while.

Shailene Woodley had the hard task of playing Tris. While she did a great job at portraying Tris’s character, really bringing her to life, the fact that she was in every single scene may have been too much. Sure, they develop Tris’s character and we see her transform from Abnegation (the selfless) to Dauntless, but it takes away from the story. What would have helped is if the movie did what The Hunger Games did and added scenes from say Jeanine’s point of view from Erudite. That way it’s not a Tris overload and it helps give the audience a more rounded version of the story as we can see that Jeanine is not doing what she’s doing because she’s evil, but because she thinks she’s saving the society.

Perhaps the worst downfall of the movie is the lack of relationship development. One could argue that this is a good thing because they focused more on the story and explaining Divergence to those who have not read the books, but it took away from important relationships, especially Tris’s relationships with Christina and Four. Her relationships with those two characters are really important in the rest of the series and it seemed a bit rushed and didn’t get the attention that it deserved. Perhaps if they had more of Tris’s time at Dauntless rather then her time at home would have helped.

Four’s and Tris’s relationship is very key in the story and while it’s there in the movie and slowly develops, it doesn’t reach that level that the book did. In the first book, you are supposed to see Tris and Four fall in love and realize their feelings for one another. While the movie has it, it just felt a bit rushed. Tris and Four’s relationship is very passionate and perfect for the two of them. You get the sense they care for one another, but not the same level you get from the book. Hopefully they show more of their passion in the next movie.

If you are a fan of the book, it’s important to go into watching the movie with an open mind. It’s very hard for a film to really capture that essence from the book that we love so much, but it can still be entertaining to see the story unfold on the big screen.

Overall, the movie was ok, but certainly no where near The Hunger Games status of being excellent. There were quite a few flaws with the movie and hopefully they can be fixed in the next movie, Insurgent.

Divergent stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Ashley Judd, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, and Zoe Kravitz and is rated PG-13.

To get more information on Divergent, you can go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1840309/

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