In an industry dying to find the next big thing, Hollywood has understandably latched on to YA: read by entire demographics who heretofore claimed romantic comedies as their their own, Hollywood correctly recognized its potential. However, its ability to reel those fishes in has been rocky to say the least: for every Hunger Games, there's Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, and Vampire Academy. With such a track record, it's clear that moviegoers haven't embraced the genre the way it's worshiped super hero films as of late. Hoping to reverse that trend is the blase and imitative distopia of Divergent, a film that will make a lot of money only because of its rabid fan base and certainly not because of its pedigree.
Your reaction to Divergent will probably depend upon whether you've read the books or not: if you have, there's no convincing you of the film's myriad issues. For the vast majority of us who haven't read the series and don't get the rabid following, one cannot help but compare Divergent to Hunger Games, both in plot and tone. Yet another distopian tale of youth caught in the middle of something bigger than any one of them? Ugh. Unfortunately, Limitless Director Neil Burger doesn't get near to that visually-stunning work, merely subsisting on Writers Evan Dougherty and Vanessa Taylor's half-starved fruit tree; but it's also Burger who's to blame for the rather flat effort we're given. He includes scenes we don't need, two important deaths in the film's limp third hour, and leaves out other important character interactions that make several actors look like victims of the editing room. Teller's character will supposedly play a greater role in the sequels, but here he's simply a foul-mouthed bully that Tris somehow physically dismisses after getting walloped by him in a previous fight. Tris' difficult relationship with her parents leads to tragic ends, but such revelations should have been shelved for the sequel. Their fates take too long to develop, while so much time is spent on exposition, leaving us wondering if this 139-minute epic bit off too much.
Divergent is rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality and has a runtime of 139 minutes.
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