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At first glance, Divergent would seem to be riding on the coattails of The Hunger Games. Here’s another dystopian YA novel-turned-wannabe blockbuster, with another rising star—Shailene Woodley, in for Jennifer Lawrence—at the center. But with Divergent, director Neil Burger proves there’s more than one way to ride this wave. Veronica Roth wrote Divergent while still in college—and probably right after reading Ender’s Game—and she brings together the overthrow of an oppressive government and a freshman-year identity crisis. The movie’s opening shots show a dystopian Chicago divided into “factions” of like-minded citizens. Woodley plays Beatrice from “Abnegation”—the plainly clothed nurturers responsible for elderly citizens and factionless hobos. But “Dauntless,” the leather-fitted warriors who protect the city, catch Beatrice’s eye as they sprint through the city like steampunk parkour runners, and the 16-year-old opts to leave her faction to join them. Despite Roth’s thinly developed characters, Woodley is enchanting, and while her relationship with Four (Theo James, who looks like some in-vitro love child of James Franco and Paul Walker) isn’t any remarkable surprise, it sets a refreshing example for a young target audience. Conceptually, Divergent employs elements from Harry Potter, G.I. Jane and Gattaca, and visually, it offers a memorable take on the post-apocalyptic landscape without overdosing on CGI. And there’s just enough here to excite the mothers or older cousins who end up at the movie with their young charges, as in one scene atop a decommissioned Ferris wheel. As Four and Tris look out over a dilapidated carnival, the camera glances to his hand on her hip for an appreciated, steamy millisecond.
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Science fiction
  • Release Date: Friday, March 21, 2014
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 [ Intense Violence and Action, Some Sensuality, Thematic Elements ]
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Starring: Shailene Woodley [Tris Prior], Kate Winslet [Jeanine Matthews], Jai Courtney [Eric], Theo James [Four], Ray Stevenson [], Zoë Kravitz [], Miles Teller [], Maggie Q [], Tony Goldwyn [], Ashley Judd [], Ansel Elgort [], Mekhi Phifer [], Ben Lamb [], Ben Lloyd-Hughes [], Christian Madsen [], Amy Newbold []
  • Directed by: Neil Burger [Director], Evan Daugherty [Screenwriter], Vanessa Taylor [Screenwriter], Douglas Wick [Producer], Lucy Fisher [Producer], Pouya Shahbazian [Producer], John Kelly [Executive Producer], Rachel Shane [Executive Producer]
  • Watch the trailer

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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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