Release Date: Friday 21 March 2014
Run Time: 140 Minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn
“The Hunger Games”, “Twilight”, and “Harry Potter” are all examples of popular young adult novel series turned wildly successful films. Given the incredible success of its predecessors, it would stand to reason that “Divergent”, which opened in theaters across the nation yesterday, would follow suit.
“Divergent”, the first in a series of three (books), follows the story of Tris Pryor, a sixteen year old living in the futuristic dystopian society that was once Chicago. After a series of wars and societal problems, the city divided into five factions based on qualities that they believed maintained peace. At the age of sixteen, children in this society are tested to see with which of the five factions their instincts most closely match. With their results to guide them, the children must then choose a faction to live in as they become official members of society. Not everything is as it seems and during her initiation into her chosen faction, Tris’s life is turned upside down. Conflicts within the city and plans to overthrow leadership put the bravery of Tris, her friends, and her loved ones to the test in a series of twists and turns that keep the audience focused on the story.
For those reasons, the first book was an incredible read. It was a captivating page turner that kept my attention right until the very last page. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the film. My biggest complaint about the movie is that the screenwriters diverged (see what I did there?!) a little too much from the book. They failed to provide any substance to the characters that readers came to know and love through the books, and they put too much on the table taking some of the suspense and drama out of the story. I cringed at the changes that were made to the plot, the fact that they simplified the story, and that they failed to capture some of the things that were so great about the first book. Although the movie was mildly entertaining (ignoring the fact that I’d read the books), it was truly disappointing.
Would be fans with a few hours to burn will find that their time is better spent reading the books, which are far superior to the first film. Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again, I give “Divergent” a 1.39025 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Facepalm”.