Thanks to properties like the Twilight franchise it has spawned an attempt to bring every popular book series to life. Some like The Hunger Games have been successful, but others not so much. The latest, Divergent looks to capture that same magic and bring their trilogy to the big screen. The film sports a decent cast including Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd, and Mekhi Phifer, but can it jump off the pages and onto the big screen to capture the fans appeal or will the book be closed before the final chapter?
Divergent follows a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, where teenagers have to decide if they want to stay in their faction or switch to another for the rest of their lives. When a young girl makes a choice that surprises everyone she and her fellow faction-members have to live through a highly competitive initiation process to live out the choice they have made. But she has a secret that she is Divergent, which means she doesn't fit into any one group. As she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, this secret might help her save the people she loves or it might destroy her. As with most of the films in this genre this one follows a pretty generic formula without ever really bringing too much new to the genre. The story is decent enough to keep you engaged and while does have some of the love story element, manages to keep it under wraps a bit as opposed to forcing it on you at nauseum. Most of the cast do a fine job with their roles most notably Jai Courtney playing the tough drill sergeant of sorts for the group. He is probably the only character in the movie that is really cool, but still never really gets to do much other than yell at people. Shailene Woodley does and ok job, but really just seems to be phoning it in and never really sells the overall role.
There is plenty of action here but most of it takes place within them training as a part of this new faction. Essentially that is all that the majority of this film is, just one long training session to build up to a somewhat rushed finale. During this time most of it works fine enough with the exception of the fight sequences that are just horrible. Thankfully later in the film they get a bit better, but never really get as strong as they should be considering the characters. There are some obvious attempts at some originality here in the story, but loses some of its steam with the more clichéd moments that felt like a cop out. There are some aspect that don’t make some sense in related to characters suddenly getting out of something that others could not or changing sides suddenly, but not enough to completely ruin the film.
Much like the many others of its kind this film is geared towards the fans of the books and the younger fans, who in turn will likely love it. The run time is way too long than it needed to be and does get a bit slow in parts, but will no doubt be another fan favorite. There is word that they are already in the process of developing the next book in the series Insurgent to a feature film so it will be interesting to see how this one does. Luckily this one ends with an open end, but not so much of a straight cliffhanger so if not it won’t feel as incomplete as some others have.
For more information head over to http://divergentthemovie.com/