Divergent (2014) Review

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Divergent (2014)

Directed by Neil Burger

Based on Divergent by Veronica Roth

Starring:
Shailene Woodley
Theo James
Ashley Judd
Jai Courtney
Ray Stevenson
Zoë Kravitz
Miles Teller
Tony Goldwyn
Maggie Q
Kate Winslet

Running time: 139 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Beatrice Prior is warned that she is Divergent and thus will never fit into any one of the factions and soon learns that a sinister plot is brewing in her seemingly perfect society.

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My Opinion:

See that up there in the plot synopsis? “Dystopian post-apocalyptic“! I freaking love dystopian. And post-apocalyptic. And especially the two together – dystopian post-apocalyptic!!! And in my usual anal list-making ways, I already did a list of My Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Movies HERE. I also love current YA fiction so Divergent is right up my alley, which is probably why I enjoyed it more than it may have deserved.

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First of all: I’ve not read the books. I used to read a lot more and I always try to read a book before seeing the movie if it’s the type of book that interests me. But I just don’t have the time to read anymore (I’ve been reading Doctor Sleep since December. I’m finally almost finished – should be done by June!). I LOVED The Hunger Games books (and the movies have been very good adaptations, especially Catching Fire, review HERE). But as good as they are, I never quite fully enjoy the movies as much when I’ve read the books since the books are better 90% of the time. So, with Divergent, I thought “screw it!”. It might be nice to just sit back & enjoy a movie series without having to overanalyze and constantly compare it to the books and to not know how it’ll all end. So I quite enjoyed this story even though it’s a not-as-good Hunger Games with a story that doesn’t come together as well and characters that aren’t as well-developed or acted. I know it’s YA fiction but it feels more “shallow” than The Hunger Games, which does make you think a bit. I don’t know if maybe it works a bit better in the books but the story was at least entertaining enough that I do want to see the rest of the movies to see where they go with it.

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I liked Shailene Woodley but don’t think she’s as strong of a lead actress as Jennifer Lawrence is in The Hunger Games (sorry – it’s VERY hard to not compare the two). The hubby especially didn’t seem to like her for some reason so… I don’t know. I think she may be one that female viewers like more than male viewers do whereas both sexes seem to love J-Law. I would think Divergent will have far fewer male fans than The Hunger Games does, which seems to appeal to everyone. Divergent FEELS more like young adult fiction aimed mostly at girls than The Hunger Games does. Well, I don’t care what the hubby says – I’ve liked Shailene Woodley so far in what I’ve seen her in & she at least seems like a “real world” teenage girl. I think she also has very lovely, expressive eyes & I’m looking forward to seeing how she does in The Fault In Our Stars (another YA book I loved. Review HERE). I think that type of thing may suit her more than something like this, which has a lot of action and far more violence than I was expecting. (It’s actually very violent, for any parents who may be reading this & wondering. The content is as violent as The Hunger Games and there’s a lot more hand to hand combat, almost making it feel even more violent than The Hunger Games).

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As for all the other characters, I found them a little weak & underdeveloped compared to Woodley’s. Ashley Judd as Woodley’s mother was one of the better characters but we don’t get to see as much of the two of them together as I’d have liked. Her brother & especially father may as well not even be IN the movie for as little as we learn about them. And, I’ll keep this as spoiler free as I can but… One character has a secret yet has a tattoo that gives away that important secret?! Whaaat? That seemed stupid. And Kate Winslet was fine but a total cookie cutter character. Zoë Kravitz wasn’t too bad and she’s pretty cute (it helps to have really attractive parents, I suppose). I just really felt no connection to anyone beyond Woodley – hopefully we get better character development in the sequels so I don’t have to read the books.

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Summary:

I enjoyed this movie but it definitely has its faults. The story is a bit of a mess and doesn’t come together all that well (I was a little confused at times). I’m hoping the sequels will be better and that the characters will be further developed. Basically, it’s just not as good as The Hunger Games and feels more “YA”. But I do like the overall concept and the amount of good YA fiction these days with strong female characters is a great thing to see.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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36 thoughts on “Divergent (2014) Review

  1. Good review. The young adult genre seems to be getting a bit stale by now, and this is one of those clear signs as to why. Even if it has a little bit to bring to the table, it’s not much.

  2. Wanker,

    I actually liked the hunger games movies for some reason but this one – seems…. not for me. I’ll probably still watch it though. Nice work, for a wanker.

    Yours,

    Tosser

  3. Good review 🙂 I enjoyed this movie too, but you are lucky that you didn’t read the book because then you would have been disappointed with the adaption.

    I hope Woodley does a good job in the FIOS – I loved that book!

    • Thanks. : ) Yeah – I’ll stick with just the movies on this one so that I hopefully won’t be disappointed. ; ) I think she’ll be very good in The Fault In Our Stars – can’t wait to see that!

  4. I also enjoyed this one probably more than I should have. It was fun though and I actually really liked Shailene Woodley in it.

    • Good – glad I’m not alone! : ) Seems anyone who read the books really didn’t like the movie (you’ve not read the books, have you?). I really like her too! Just think she may be a BIT better in a different genre. I’m SO mad we never got The Spectacular Now in the UK – I really want to see that. I have a feeling she’s probably even better in that sort of role.

  5. Been meaning to see this but I cant seem to muster the energy to see it. I might just wait for DVD at this point. Your review is making me think that more and more. I like Shailene too, she’s so adorable, but J Law is way better. I think she just has that “it” factor that you can’t compare to many actresses, so to put Shailene against her is a tough match because J Law will win. Shame to see Tony Goldwyn doesn’t have a bigger role, I really like him! Good review T9M as usual. 🙂

    • Thanks! : ) I do recommend this as I think you’d enjoy it but it’s one that can wait for DVD. I just think Woodley doesn’t have that “kick ass” thing in her but she’s very good in dramas from what I’ve seen so far. : )

  6. Great review! I enjoyed it enough but it’s far from flawless. I feel that a lot of the characters are under-developed but I figure since it’s a trilogy they might be fleshed out more in the end. Kate Winslet feels like the weakest link here for me tho I generally love her and she’s obviously an excellent actress, but I think she just wasn’t menacing enough to make an impact.

    • Thanks. : ) Agree completely with everything you’ve said! I do look forward to the next movie because I’m also hoping for far more character development. I like Winslet too but think they just didn’t do a great job with her character here. Here’s hoping the sequels are a bit better. : )

  7. I haven’t seen the movie but I did just finish the book. In my opinion, I think its overrated and I don’t quite get the appeal much.. I almost wanted to give up in the first 100 pages, it was so boring…then it really does pick up and from what you say, underdeveloped characters? Ton of those in the book so not a fault of the movie.. haha! I’m hoping it’ll get better for the second book. The premise is a decent one though.

    • Hmm – that’s interesting. Glad I didn’t bother with the books, then! : ) I wonder if maybe you’d enjoy the movie, then? It’s not BAD – I did quite enjoy it overall. A bit of a no-brainer but fun. : )

  8. Nice job, Mutant! Yours might be the most positive review of seen of this. It doesn’t sound too bad, but I still don’t really have any interest in it. I think maybe Hollywood should ease up on giving YA dystopian books the movie treatment…

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