Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Divergent (PG-13, 139 Minutes)

3 stars

The latest Young Adult dystopian society romantic survival book turned film is called Divergent.  Many people are interested in this film, mostly to see if it does well after all the other movies of the same genre that have preceded it.  This does have a somewhat built in fan base after the trilogy of books that have come out.  Seems kind of formulaic, or to be more precise Hollywood.  They always love a trend on which they can capitalize.

On its face this seems like a film that the filmmakers would cheapen by changing much of the book to fit the film into a nice little mold that they feel will sell really well to the audience.  After seeing the film they did better than that.

If you have read the book you know that this story is set in a Chicago that has fallen apart and is still recovering 100 years after the war.  There are five factions that people are assigned to when they reach the age of 16.  A test is administered that determines which of the 5 factions you belong to.  The next day is the choosing.  The day in which you choose which faction you will join for the rest of your life.  It is suggested that you follow the results of your test but you are free to choose whichever faction you wish to join.

Beatrice Pryor took her test but her results were inconclusive.  The test did not reveal one single faction that would be best for her, instead it showed three.  This is known as being Divergent, and that is bad.  If you are divergent the government cannot control you and make you do its bidding.
Beatrice grows up in the Abnegation faction which is a group that is selfless and puts the needs of other before themselves.  On the day of choosing Beatrice selects the Dauntless Faction.  These are the protectors of the collective group, the warriors who are fearless.  When she joins the group she changes her name to Tris.

Tris and the other initiates must go through training to become full members of the faction but not all of them will make it.  In the training the Dauntless look into your brain and see your fears.  This is bad for Tris because she may be revealed as divergent.  She must hide this fact and she gets help from her trainer Four.  Yes the number four, it is his nickname.  She and Four have a connection and I doubt you need to know more than that.  If you read the book you do know more.

Despite being part of a genre that is not known for making great films, this is not a bad movie.  It isn’t great either but it is better than one might have thought.  The filmmakers did follow the book fairly well with some changes to the story that were not drastic.    There are some cheesy moments but nothing like the angst of “Twilight.”  Plus the story does not really get physical except for the fighting that takes place.  

When it comes to violence this film does contain a lot of it.  As such many feel this film is much like “The Hunger Games” As you can see below the violence takes on many forms, and some people do die.  This film does overcome its formulaic base though and becomes somewhat entertaining.  The characters are interesting enough to draw you into the story and make you care about them.  Plus you may start caring for the relationship that is starting.  Of course you will have to wait to see whre it ends after all this is a trilogy.

‘Divergent’: 3 points for parents
Violence/Gore – Many fights resulting in injuries, some severe.  Violence used for intimidation. Characters are trained in combat both with weapons and hand to hand.  Many injuries and bruises are shown.  War games are held with dart guns.  Knives are thrown at people.  Crowds are seen being made to kneel with guns drawn on them.  The body of a man is shown after he has jumped down into a chasm.  Innocent people are shot.  No shootings on screen but there is before and after.  Some characters must shoot family members in a simulation.

Language – Some profanity.  Many threats and belittling of other people. 

Nudity/Sensuality – A man removes his shirt to show off a tattoo.  Men and women share a dorm room and must change in front of each other.  Some kissing that is passionate but is stopped.  A man forces a woman onto a bed but the scene stops, no clothing is removed. 

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