• Divergent (2014) - A rip-off of a rip-off - 5/10 (25/04/14)

    Divergent (2014)

    Dystopian teenie movies are all the rage these days. In my opinion, "The Hunger Games" and Company can't catch up with classics like "A Clockwork Orange", "Equilibrium", "Fahrenheit 451", "Rollerball", "Soylent Green" and so on. "The Hunger Games" was already almost just a rip-off of the famous Japanese book and movie "Battle Royale". At least, "The Hunger Games" had a few great actors, stunning costumes and settings and loads of action. "Divergent" is now a rip-off of "The Hunger Games" series. My advice for you is to watch the originals instead of what Hollywood wants to be the next blockbusters. 

    So basically, this is a rip-off of a rip-off. But "Divergent" features less impressive actors and actresses that portray more or less convincing characters. I could not connect with any of them but maybe the target audience of teenage girls would see things differently. The costumes and settings are much duller than those in "The Hunger Games". The action scenes are a lot less urgent. Even the story is rather frustrating in here, feels rather random and is even a little bit hard to follow at some points. The movie's villain has not much charisma either. 

    The film wants to introduce the female main character Tris as somebody special. She passes a mental test that should indicate one of the five factions she would best fit with. People in dystopian Chicago are either brave, intelligent, peaceful, selfless or truthful in an isolated and precisely structured society after a great war that is not further explained. Tris doesn't fit to any of these factions in particular and is divergent. This is already rather strange. The so-called test lasted for maybe one minute and the main character acted in a completely normal way where I would have taken the same decisions if this test was for real. One doesn't really believe the movie that Tris is so different and special. She is an ordinary looking girl with ordinary skills who is about to go through an ordinary bad meets evil plot and to fall in love with an ordinary good-looking young man. The base of this story is already rather odd. 

    The entire story is not much better. The so-called divergents are considered being a danger for the elite and are chased down by governmental forces. Tris joins the brave faction and tries to hide her secret. One day, the intelligent faction tries to overthrow the leading selfless faction with the the help of the mentally manipulated brave faction. Tris and her boyfriend who turns out to be the son of the leader of the selfless faction (what a surprise) will obviously save the world in a few minutes. 

    Between the initial test and the final battle scenes, this movie is filled with endless mental and physical games and simulations that portray the main characters everyday life among the brave faction. The fighting scenes vary between being visually stunning and being ordinary. The supporting characters in the brave faction are superficial and don't add anything to the plot line. The failed assassination attempt of the main character feels completely random and out-of-place. Basically, the first and maybe the last thirty minutes of this movie are addicting while the rest tries to kick off some character development and dystopian world exploration that is mostly uninteresting because both characters and the dystopian world are rather ordinary.  

    This all sounds rather negative and it is. So you might ask why I still gave this movie half of the points. The reasons are simple. I'm a big fan of dystopian books and movies and even the worst examples still attract my attention. The special effects are well done and worth to be seen in the cinema. The capture-the-flag game at some point in the movie is my personal highlight set in an interesting atmosphere and location. As I said, the first thirty minutes of the movie are rather entertaining and promising. The final thirty minutes are filled with action and tension. Even though the outcome of the story is highly predictable, the last thirty minutes will get you on the edge of your seats. There are even a few emotional moments in there when some characters need to do some important sacrifices. Not everything is bad in here. Half of the movie is well done, the other half really ordinary. 

     

    In the end, it's up to you to decide whether you would like to watch the rip-off ("The Hunger Games") of a rip-off ("Battle Royale"). If you liked the rip-off, you might also appreciate most parts of "Divergent". If you thought the rip-off was of an average quality or below, let me tell you that this movie here is clearly below the rip-off's quality. Don't waste your time on it then. As a fan of the genre, I had a little bit more than two and a half mostly entertaining hours. The movie was made to watch it in the cinemas because of its solid sound and visual effects. On the other side, I would certainly not watch it again and I wouldn't buy or rent this film either. If there was a sequel in a few years, I would probably feel like watching it for the sake of having already watched the first part but I would feel hesitating. Don't get yourself into the same situation. I would rather suggest you to avoid this movie and watch something more original which basically means that you should look for the original dystopian movies. 

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