At the time of this writing, it’s been about seventeen years since J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a children’s book that would end up having way more impact than anyone thought. The book grew with its audience, organically aging alongside its characters and the people reading it. Thus, as time advanced, it became less a children’s book and more a book for teens and young adults. Now, seventeen years later, this system of aging a story has opened up an entirely new genre – or, at least, brought it to prominence. The spawn of this newfound “Young Adult” genre has been… mixed, admittedly. However, this aforementioned prominence and the foreseen potential for success in each YA book has led to all of them being similar in many elements, and it’s also led to almost all of them getting movies. The movies, too, have had mixed reception, though primarily leaning towards “terrible.” We had Eragon, which was an absolute flop. The inexplicably popular yet wildly successful Twilight saga only made things worse. Things got more serious with The Hunger Games, then dipped back into teenage schlock with The Mortal Instruments. But has our savior come? At long last, a YA sci-fi fiction film that follows the standard formula, but is actually… good? Or even, dare I say, well-written? With a decent plot, good dialogue, and – gasp – good characters? Is it possible? When I saw the trailer for Divergent, I groaned. Here we go, a new Hunger Games, just what we needed while Hunger Games is still in full motion. A new pseudo-political, pseudo-sci-fi, pseudo-serious teen movie with a bland, “chosen one” protagonist, a ludicrously evil villain, and a shoehorned romance. I saw the whole thing flash before my eyes. Being forced to sit in the theater and wade through two hours of absolute garbage. Thus far, City of Bones was the only film of its type to have any sort of stylistic originality (in my humble opinion, of course) and I wasn’t looking forward to another overly-popular belch from Harry Potter’s recent ashes. Divergent surprised me. Not at first, of course. The first twenty or so minutes include some bizarre-as-hell plot points, a droning exposition of the way this world works and the various factions (there to force the audience to choose which one they’d belong to, despite the fact that the film’s faction system would not actually function in any real society as it features no standard laborers/shopkeepers/craftsmen/etc., but I digress). It also introduces us to the most boring protagonist any of these books/films have managed to introduce us to yet, Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley). And yes, I mean she’s even more boring than Bella Swan. Beatrice is literally only able to wear gray full-length dresses, cannot look in a mirror, wears her hair in a bun, has no friends, is remarkably introspective about the faction system despite not really having anything important to say about it, and has no real traits that stand out. Even her faction, “Abnegation,” fails to deposit any sort of real informed templates on her to begin with; both because she’s a teenager and has yet to choose her real faction, and because Abnegation is an incredibly boring faction. So we’re not off to a good start. I continued to not be impressed as the plot shown in the trailer starts chugging along like a freight train, almost immediately showing that Beatrice is a “divergent” (which is supposed to mean she’s a free-thinker, but actually means she has weird, ill-defined psychic powers of some sort). Maggie Q has two brief cameos as Ms. Exposition, but I’m still glad to see her getting work after the end of Nikita. This is when things start to turn, and I allowed my mind to open a little bit. Characters start making decisions that are not completely obvious, and we start to see that this film actually has a grasp on things like subtlety and foreshadowing. Beatrice chooses her new faction (the baddest-ass one) and changes her name to the much badder-ass “Tris,” a firm statement that she has made the decision to be more badass than she was before. Good for her. At this point I start to actually get surprised. Despite being the protagonist in a YA film, Tris is the best at… absolutely nothing. Actually, she sucks at pretty much everything and nearly gets kicked out on multiple occasions. Success isn’t given to her; it isn’t her birthright; she isn’t the chosen one. She’s divergent, yes, but it doesn’t apply to everyday life besides her ability to make decisions and think outside the box (usually literally). She actually has to (make sure you’re sitting for this one) focus, work hard, and prove herself. In addition, this doesn’t happen in a twenty-minute montage, it takes the entire film to accomplish. And by the time the finale swings around, Tris really is Dauntless. When tested against normal people she shows that she actually has made a great deal of progress, and that through her training, she’s more physically competent than the average human in this world. She becomes brave and efficient, and while she isn’t merciless, she’s not afraid to do what has to be done (I absolutely loved this part, and it surfaces on multiple occasions. All the evil characters seem to think that Tris is as mousy as she seems, and that she’ll be as much of a little-goody-two-shoes as most other teen protagonists. She has a tendency to quickly prove them wrong.), and she gets things done not by luck of the draw, help from friends, or a prophecy. She gets stuff done because she’s genuinely pretty friggin’ awesome. The side characters in this also serve their purpose. While few of them actually stand out, they all have distinct personalities and are real characters, most of them with unique designs that make them distinct at a glance. The romantic aspect does feel a little bit forced, but nowhere near as much as in a lot of other, similar films. It also has to pack a lot into its run-time and it honestly does a great job with that time management, as it manages to fit in a world, a story, and an outstanding amount of character development within 139 minutes. So, is Divergent the new Princess Bride? No, it’s not. You won’t find a poster on my wall and I won’t be adding the soundtrack to my iPod (not that I own an iPod). But I watched the movie, I enjoyed the movie, and I actually cared enough about the movie to think about the movie, which is a hell of a lot more than most other films can boast. P.S. I’d choose Erudite. Divergent (2014)4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 5 Responses Shawn EH May 6, 2014 But did you read the books? Log in to Reply Alex Wolfe May 7, 2014 I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t. Familiarity with the source material adds a whole new layer to a movie experience and taints your view of how the film stands alone. Log in to Reply Shawn EH May 7, 2014 I feel the same way about Hunger Games; I have a feeling the movies are better. The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015) - Psycho Drive-In April 5, 2015 […] never tried to hide the fact that I enjoyed Divergent. It surprised me, despite a trailer with very little promise. I liked that it wasn’t Hunger […] Log in to Reply Asanka Godage August 7, 2017 Love this movie climax. good one. https://netflixmov.com/divergent-2014-movie-online-33.html Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.