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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Much like similar teen girl action movie series this one kills itself
early on by introducing so many holes that the house of cards that they
then try to build has no foundation.
Before the credits are even over the story makes less than no sense. Having destroyed civilisation in a world war (ok) Chicago survives. The survivors had enough materials to build a massive wall around the city, 300ft high, but can barely feed themselves. Now they have split into 5 factions (actually 6 because they throw a lot of people out and call them 'factionless') and this somehow magically creates peace.
So none of that makes sense, and much like Hunger Games, having built a nonsensical premise we now follow a teenage girl as she turns into a super-soldier capable of jumping of buildings fighting off trained armies single-handed (using a cheap looking paint-ball gun). All the while with her buff and perfectly capable new boyfriend doing as little as possible to help her.
Oh and I forgot a quick detour while we ride a pointless zip wire through some buildings for absolutely no reason than to try and spend some of the left over special effects budget.
And occasionally Kate Winslet pops up, but is shot from funny angles all the time while they try to make her baby look less visible. Not that they need to as her bad blonde hair is distracting enough.
All in a total waste of 2 hours. Just go and watch Twilight or Hunger Games for the same movie done slightly (but not a lot) better.
The main problem from Divergent is that its premise is too far-fetched, improbable and illogical. If the story had been ingenious enough to justify so many conditions and unearthly circumstances, there wouldn't have been any problem. But no... this is simply another juvenile tale about the typical main character who must overcome her insecurity when she finds out she's "special", and her actions escalate until she practically saves the world... without forgetting, of course, the "unexpected" romance in the road to her destiny. Well, I'm speculating about saving the world. Divergent is based on a series of "young adult" novels I haven't read (and I will never do so), and the producers obviously expect to shoot sequels, so this first film establishes the (absurd) post-apocalyptic world, the bland characters and the obligatory conspiracy in which NOTHING IS LIKE IT SEEMS (translation: everything is exactly like it seems, from the predictable villain to the gallant who starts being a hateful lout, until he softens himself and shows his romantic side). In other words, a simpleton and innocuous teenage fantasy made for female spectators; and another attempt to create the saga which will inherit the crown from The Hunger Games... something which isn't precisely bad. Divergent was made for a very specific audience, and I sincerely hope that the female fans of the novels are left satisfied by this film. For the rest, the production values are pretty high, the special effects are competent and the cast is composed in a big part by attractive multi-cultural young people who seem taken from a catalogue of Urban Outfitters (what a luck for the post- apocalyptic world). I don't know how the casual spectators can take Divergent; in my personal experience, it bored me very much (specially during the "exciting" conclusion full of action), but I'm very far from belonging to this film's objective audience. Each one will know his/her posture and tolerance to this kind of film; I personally regret having wasted my time and my money on it.
Four is the name of an important character in the movie. Apparently, it
stands for poor writing, poor directing, poor casting, and poor acting.
Let's start with the poor writing. Obviously this movie would be more enjoyable if one had read the book. Well, I hadn't, and therefore I was confused because the back-up story was non-existent. The movie takes place in an dystopian society. However, nobody tells what really happened to the world. Without adding any spoilers, it is hard to specify why the quality of the writing is constantly so poor, but let's just say that the story is so full of holes it looks like an emmental cheese.
Poor directing. Good directing could have compensated for the ludicrous writing, but in Divergent they seem to form an unholy alliance. The scenes lack credibility - especially the action ones. Because of this, Divergent is a movie for the children at best.
There are three characters that look somewhat the same. It took constant effort to keep on track on who is who. The absurd changing of the scenes didn't help. However, the biggest mistake of the casting crew was hiring Shailene Woodley. Sure, it is cool to see a relatively new face in a big budget movie, but there is a reason why it is so rare - they cannot act.
The previous statement takes me to the final part, which rendered this movie close to unwatchable. The actors consist of young and inexperienced actors mostly. Because of the cheesy writing and directing, their acting seems even more horrible than it already is. Again, without including any spoilers, I won't go any deeper, but just watch the so-called "chemistry" between Tris and Four... Makes you feel awkward, huh?
Finally, I want to clarify that I usually like dystopian films. In this case, I was expecting a rating of 7 or 8, so I'm still quite shocked because the movie fell below my expectations so badly. It just makes me so disappointed that this kind of budget goes to absolute waste because of these flaws I mentioned above. All in all, I wouldn't recommend this movie unless you are a big fan of the books!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As I said, the movie was extremely predictable. I knew what was going
to happen before it did and I honestly felt like I was watching it for
the 3rd time! There were no twists, no suspense, no surprises. I could
not believe that there would be so many clichés and unrealistic scenes.
Instead of an "action/adventure film" I saw a boring love story. I
can't imagine how unbearable it must have been for those who read the
*SPOILER* The following scenes are examples of why the plot was so obvious and boring:
We knew that Tris would not go into the same faction as her family, we knew which one she'd choose, we knew that she'd fall in love with Four, we knew that she wouldn't get kicked out of training, we knew that Four would find out that she was a Divergent but wouldn't tell anybody etc... Moreover, the scene where Tris and Four fight is so unrealistic and again, the fact that he started fighting on her side was way too PREDICTABLE.
*END OF SPOILER*
To me, Divergent looked like a bad version of the Hunger Games and I am really surprised that so many people liked it. Unless you are a teenage girl who finds Theo James hot and unless you have never read any books or watched any other movies in your life, I see no reason why you would want to waste 2 and a half hours of your life watching Divergent.
I went to see this movie misled by the high rating on IMDb. Unfortunately it looks like Hollywood makes movies for people with short memory. I admit I haven't read the source book, but I guess I wouldn't, judging by what came out of it. I hereby venture myself in saying that the book is also a bad SciFi novel. It has way to obvious imports from well known themes that have been exploited to the brim by today (like the "perfect" society that sacrifices diversity for peace, the "different" guy that stands-up to the system, the genuine technology that controls individuals (poorly described, by the way), the fear confrontation ad the list could go on and on. It is not essentially bad to bring these themes in a movie, but I see nothing new, original here. So... if you have seen Equilibrum and the Hunger Games then you know it all. Movies today are just mobile phones... keep reproducing "features" from the competition, while it is supposed to be an art. Another thing can't stand in movies in general is the poor IT incursions. I am talking about the scene in which Jeanine is asked to turn off the "control system" which consists of a huge touch screen in which she just hits some "cancel" button. That was really pathetic... Anyone could have done that right? Another thing that I can't stand, is the cheap psychology things in these movies. They are all based on some sort of psychoanalysis which is long time deprecated in therapy. But it is somehow considered to be "cool" and "trendy" by producers to insert these kind of flavour into the movies to make it more profound. Or are they just as stupid and ignorants as the target viewers? Anyhow... to me, this is bad taste in art. If you want to really go for it, you must do way better that that and if you can't, then at least make it more interesting. It is also true that movies like "Inception" don't occur every month, but once they do... they set a trend and everybody will just take a byte of it. Don't get me wrong, it is a "watchable" movie, perhaps a little too long for its story, which, by the way, is very predictable and full of clichés. I read some users claiming it resembles "The Hunger Games" and so it is, especially with the modest ending that awkwardly announces a sequel. I could predict how the story developed and ended after the first 15 minutes and that's what makes this movie mediocre. Script is mediocre, but at least it does not abounds in stereotypes so it's bearable. What can be said about acting... there is no acting in this kind of movies, you only need to be young and good looking, be able to learn your part and you're done. It's not that the actors are bad, but the movie itself is not based on any acting mastery and just because of that, the girl gets a plus for making something out of it. I am curious if the ratings will stay as high as now in time.
This is perfect storm of bad movie making: a stupid story, bad acting
and bad directing. Who is ultimately to blame? Money grubbing CEO's.
Thanks to the mega-success of the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, Hollywood's scouring young adult books, like some pedophile in a playground, looking for new material to get their greasy hands on.
Divergent is one of those series. I've not read the books, but in the movie, you belong to one of 5 factions. Our heroine does not - she's divergent - and that apparently frightens the powers that be.
Why? Because individualism is seen as a threat. In much the way independent film makers are perceived a threat in Hollywood.
What follows is one inane, dumb, idiotic scene after another. I was rolling my eyes most of the time or laughing out loud at some of the nonsense I was watching. I almost got up to leave, but it was like watching a train wreck. That would be more entertaining.
When reading the book, I had concerns about how well it would translate to film. It's a book without much action and most of the narrative is internalized to the protagonist. Books like that tend to struggle to adapt well and Divergent is no different. The director tried to make changes to the story in order to try and make it work but I honestly think it was futile. It's just not a good story for a 2-hour interpretation. Even at that, I would rather have seen the story stay true and struggle to adapt than change and struggle. All in all, it was set up to fail from the beginning. Shailene Woodley and Theo James gave solid performances and the special effects and action sequences were done well but they made the film watchable and slightly enjoyable at best.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have read all three books written by Veronica Roth. I came in with
expectations of character profiles and I reviewed the characters on
IMDb. I understand that all book-to-movie adaptations make it difficult
to fit in all the elements and are not perfect. It's impossible to
portray the book word for word. Despite knowing all of this, I came in
with a low expectation.
As I suspected, the tall and beautiful Shailene Woodley is definitely not the small and weak Tris we imagine while reading the book. A lot of the character profiles were 'off.' However, Shailene gave an excellent portrayal of how she developed from a shy dependent girl to a confident fearless warrior.
The opening to the movie indicates we are in 'Chicago,' and that we are separated into the five factions because of the war. There is no explanation of why the war happened, where and who with. Just that we have the huge fence to keep each other safe and we don't know what's out there.
Elements were definitely rushed and lacked intensity. The characters that were not featured in this movie are revolutionary figures in the second, making it impossible to have a movie without them. Key characters were left out or barely mentioned. Drew, Edward, Molly & Susan don't exist in the movie. There's no relationship at all with Susan and Caleb, as they left her out. Peter's entourage is completely removed. Edward has a couple brief mentions in the movie including the capture the flag game and on the leader board. Otherwise, the entire eye stabbing scene doesn't exit. We don't see Peter for who he really is. The intensity of taunting Tris and making it difficult for her at Dauntless headquarters is glossed over. We see Peter make a name for himself when he beats Tris in the fight. Molly has barely two lines in the movie. One of the lines Molly has complimented Tris. In the book she's part of Peter's entourage and they hate each other. I find that Peter is too soft in the movie and he isn't enough of a jerk. In the book he's way more nasty.
Elements of the Dauntless training were not victorious as they're supposed to be. There was no focus on how vital Dauntless training is and that they do it well. There was no desperation to survive the training like there was in the book. You saw the rankings change, but the intensity in the fights and the will to survive was never built up.
Members of the family have the choice to visit on visiting day. This scene was replaced with Tris' mother sneaking into the Dauntless compound to be updated about her progress in the Dauntless training. She warns her about doing too well and asks her to remain in the middle of the pack. It's not revealed that the mom isn't going to visit Caleb, nor does she ask Tris to visit Caleb and ask him to find out what's in the serum. Instead, Tris on a whim visits Caleb.
The movie was way too focused on the romance of Tris and Four. Four softens up to Tris way too easily. He's supposed to be edgy and guarded. Details about Four were supposed to be revealed in his fear landscape. Four seems unfazed by his fear landscape. This scene is so critical in the book, it's the first time we are supposed to see how vulnerable Four really is. Four never tells Tris to call him Tobias. In Tris' fear landscape, she sacrifices herself for her family. In the movie, she faces her family and the gun is aimed at them.
I can't even talk about the ending. It was completely changed. I might have appreciated the ending if I hadn't read the books. There were elements of the ending I quite enjoyed, but it's still very rushed. I understand that they needed to end the movie with no cliffhanger, but my sister who had not read the books still had questions about the ending.
Overall, I rate the movie as a C+. Other discrepancies include Tris taking credit with Christina after the win in the Capture the Flag scene, Will dying at the same scene as the mother (rather than in the Dauntless compound), Tris not showing her displeasure with Four and yelling at him, as well as Peter not begging for his life to be included with Tris, her dad, Caleb and Marcus. As well the initiate who jumps from the train and falls to her death, Al's crush on Tris, Four getting drunk, and overall many scenes that never showed the struggle of being that character. Near the end when the dad, Caleb, Marcus & Tris have to catch the train to the Dauntless compound, there's no struggle from any of the characters jumping on or off the train. Dad and the others jump like they have done it a million times and Caleb never complains. When they jump into the netting below, Tris asks each of them, 'you good?' 'you good?' There was a lot of odd phrases that Tris never used.
There were quite a few memorable scenes including the aptitude test, the fear landscapes, the simulations, the tense moments Tris and Four had that were very true to the book including the capture the flag scene, as well as the zip lining experience.
...made into a pretty stupid film!
Where authors(sic) get these unbelievably lame ideas? A world divided into 5 factions? This is ridiculous.
This is another politically correct tripe. The plot is based on countless Hollywoodian stereotypes. Actors all look like they came out of catwalk fashion show. They have as much substance and personality as bobble head dolls. The film is tedious, move at a snail's pace and do not even fall into the category "so bad it is good"
It is embarrassing to know that there are those who classify this sophomoric attempt at literature as a dystopian science fiction novel.
Pure waste of time, money.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although lacking any real sustained exciting action parts, this would
probably appeal to under 16 year old's.
I really have a problem with the voting, as according to it's current evaluation by over 48 thousand viewers it is 7.5 which essentially means that it should be better these movies which were rated less than 7.5: Man of Steel (2013); Captain America: The First Avenger (2011); X-Men; X-Men 2; X-Men 3; X-Men Wolverine; Iron Man 2; Iron Man 3; Oblivion; Superman Returns (2006); Independence Day (1996); Transformers (2007); and Stargate.
This movie is just awful; no substance, and worst of all it's set up to allow for the making of a sequel.
The only good thing about a sequel is that they won't have to do too much to make the sequel better than this.
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