03 October 2014

Movie Review: "Divergent"

Rated: PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Zoë Kravitz
Released: 2014
Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley, The Secret Life of the American Teenager) lives in a war-torn remnant of America, that is divided into five different factions.  She was born into Abnegation, the giving faction, but, at the age of sixteen, she has the choice to join any other faction she wishes.  After taking an aptitude test that involves various situations, she is told that she does not fit within a certain class, but is Divergent, which means that she has various special abilities.  Unfortunately, that comes at a price, as Divergents are considered a threat, and are therefore hunted by the government.  At the choosing ceremony, she decides to join the Dauntless faction, which involves rigorous physical training.  Though it may seem that all is well on the outside, Tris and a fellow Dauntless, known only as Four (Theo James), uncover a conspiracy that puts innocent people at risk...and only they can stop it.
Based on the book by Veronica Roth.

The Good
What an amazing flick this was! Even more chilling than The Hunger Games, with a likable heroine who is strong and capable but definitely not a Mary Sue, this film paints an all-too-real picture of a likely future of our planet.   The production values--the sets, the acting, the action sequences, etc.--were all outstanding, save for the soundtrack, which had a couple of annoying songs on it.  Even some of the "violence" was toned down, as camera angles were used to spare viewers from seeing things in grisly detail.  The ending definitely left me waiting for the next installment; thankfully, I have a copy of the second book on hand at the moment.  Not much to complain about, except...

The Bad
As with the book, some unnecessary content was thrown into the mix.  Though the violence was restrained, a few scenes were slightly bloody; probably the worst of it was when a knife goes through a woman's hand.  A few profanities were also on hand, and some of the girls' outfits--sports bras, off-the-shoulder or low-cut tops--seemed to make them serve as eye candy.  Where the "sensuality" comes from is two scenes where the heroine kisses a guy passionately, but she puts a stop to things before they get too serious.  This is one case where you should take the "PG-13" seriously.

Shailene Woodley seems to be the "it" girl for young adult entertainment these days.  Not only was she the main star of ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but there were previews for two movies--The Fault in Our Stars and The Spectacular Now, both of which are based on popular YA novels--that had Ms. Woodley in them.  While I wouldn't watch those other productions for obvious reasons, her talent shines in this film, the crackling start to a dystopian series.  If you're a fan of movies such as The Hunger Games, you should definitely check out Divergent.  Negative parts aside, it's as upsetting as it is enthralling!

Score: 4.5/5

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