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Movie Review: Divergent: You'd better divert!



Divergent is a sappy, pubescent aberration that attempts to capitalize on the success The Twilight franchise. It’s a silver screen manifestation of a teenage girl’s fantasy, a complete and utter waste of an interesting premise about life, choice, and consequence. It is yet another film that caters to the teen focused love stories which use the oft told coming of age story in the mold of the archetype that has become more increasingly popular since within the last few years. The movie is based on the novel by Veronica Roth. The movie stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Theo James (Underworld: Awakening), Kate Winslet (Contagion), Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher), Ashley Judd (Olympus Has Fallen), Ray Stevenson (Thor: The Dark World), Zoe Kravitz (After Earth), Miles Teller (Footloose 2012), Tony Goldwyn (The Mechanic 2011), Ansel Elgort (Carrie 2013), Maggie Q (Priest), and Mekhi Phifer (Clockers).
Divergent is post-apocalyptic story that is merged with a coming of age. It’s a film that is set in a world that is divided by factions based on virtues.
It’s a sappy absurdity that caters to and is made strictly for a specific target audience. It doesn’t have a lot of appeal to viewers outside of it. The story behind the five factions was an intriguing premise. The movie would have been better served to focus on the good post-apocalyptic, sci-fi tale that could have been better utilized instead of the angle that was taken to establish this exploration of self-discovery for Beatrice (Woodley).
The best thing about this film is the theme of the movie. It’s really just an everyday story with some details altered to give some false perception of a level of originality. This calamity is about discovering one’s self and finding purpose. This aspect of the film is very well crafted and it should resonate with young adults. However, the delivery of the theme is the big issue. The film is crafted strictly to cater to young girls. The approach, delivery, and selling points of the film are made to engage youthful girls and Divergent never strays from that. For everyone outside of it, good luck with trying to find a reason to enjoy this. After nearly 45 minutes in and it only minimal entertainment, it’s really a borderline snooze fest for the most of the movie. Divergent wastes far too much screen time trying to get the audience to connect with Beatrice. It spends a third of the film establishing Beatrice training as opposed to focusing on the great premise that it set up. The factions, what drives the factions, and why a “Divergent” is special is an intriguing set up. Consequently, over an hour in and no clue as to what "divergent" is or really means. It does have a decent climax that attempts to add value to this dismal waste. However, it’s nowhere near enjoyable enough to justify this travesty.
I will say that I have never read the book so Divergent is a bad combination of the hunger games at best and a good version of The Host at worse. Either way, the results are bad. The movie plays out like a teenage girl’s wet dream. Acceptance, worse to first, pretty girl gets the pretty guy, blah, blah, blah. It had great potential but instead of focusing on developing the interesting concept that it lays the foundation for; it takes it takes the easy way out and becomes just another less than spew inducing, mundane coming of age story. It has a running time of over 2 hrs (2hrs and 19 min to be exact) and the film would have been so much better served if they would have condensed the first hour of the film and dove right into the meat of the story. The first hour is truly where they lose most of the non-target audience. It’s not a movie with much appeal beyond the blushing teen girl age. So, if you’ve never read the book nor aren’t particular fond of this type of film then steer clear FAR CLEAR. I feel like I was robbed of my money and two hours of my life.