A Dyke Reviews: Divergent

In this review, I will be covering “Divergent”, the movie version of the (bestselling?) YA book by Veronica Roth. Having never read the series, this review will most likely contain one detail or another that happened in the book that I didn’t understand. However, in my opinion, a movie should be detailed enough to hold its own and reach all audiences with no confusion. Basically, even the slowest person should be able to catch on at some point.

With that said, let’s do this! Dun dun DUN! ENJOY!

The movie opens up with a scene of the landscape, the camera panning and zooming until we see a fifty-story tall fence surrounding the post-apocalyptic Chicago area. As the voice-over begins, explaining the whole “war story” about one thing or another, this raises the first red flag for me. If this is some poor, destroyed city with minimal resources, then how did they build the huge fucking fence? Was that where all the materials went?

We then are told about each faction: ABNEGATION, CANDOR, DAUNTLESS, AMITY, and ERUDITE. The main character, Beatrice, is seen bragging about each faction, specifically DAUNTLESS. At this point, we already know that Beatrice is a fan of that particular faction, and when she goes on to talk about the “choosing ceremony” or something like that, we already knew that she would choose DAUNTLESS.

The whole lineup scene felt like empty camera time to me, showing just a few closeups of Beatrice and a short scene of a faction member bullying a young ABNEGATION member. The DAUNTLESS suddenly arrive on a train/trolley and leap from it like gazelles. My thoughts at this point were, “Why are they even there? DAUNTLESS seem so overly-obsessed with acts of badassery and daredevil situations, I can’t imagine any member of that faction leaving.” There wasn’t a need for that, but it’s probably in the book, so…

Beatrice’s brother ends up choosing a different faction than their parents (shocker!) Beatrice chooses DAUNTLESS, yadda yadda yadda. We cut to the DAUNTLESS exiting the ceremony and climbing up a bridge to catch the train. The scene cuts to the newest faction members going into the DAUNTLESS’ territory to train. Turns out, in a twist turn of events, not everyone will stay in the faction. Woah, what?!? I know, stay with me. Take a breath. The “candidates” are posted on a scoreboard of rank, with Beatrice being the, surprise, weakest candidate.

The movie now falls apart and turns into predictable scene after predictable scene. We know that Beatrice–or Tris–will make it to the next level of training. We know that when the male candidate refuses to receive a thrown knife during training, Tris will stand up for him and volunteer herself. We know that when Tris is rejected from further training, she will continue on, anyway. We know that there is something “evil” about the DAUNTLESS leader. We just KNOW that the movie will squeeze in a pathetic attempt at romance between Tris and Four, even though it just feels clunky and awkward.

So we get some mediocre training with cheap-looking paintball guns, a useless zip line scene to waste more CGI and special effects money, and here we are at the big scenes involving the mental/psychological aptitude test.

My disappointment came out full-force when the aptitude tests happen. I feel like they could have done so much more! I know that Tris is a Divergent and therefore can pass the tests in record time, but it still felt like the “fears” were there and gone before I could even focus on one thing. Why was Tris scared of birds? Or fire? Was this explained in the book? I’m confused.

Four and Tris continue their awkward moments of love through the rest of the film, when Four teaches Tris how to control her reactions in the aptitude tests so the Head Honcho doesn’t discover her. We learn that Four is a Divergent (shocker!) and he knows the same about her. Of course, he doesn’t tell anybody because that would destroy the awkward romance and trust built over three weeks! Tris gets a small scene where she and Four are inside Four’s mind. We learn that Four’s dad was the man that everyone was talking about; the one that beat his kid. Well, the kid is Four, and the “suspenseful” reveal scene with his dad holding a belt lasts ten seconds. I honestly felt nothing, other than confused. Were we supposed to be surprised or scared? Didn’t happen. The two then stand on a balcony and Tris admires Four’s tattoo of the factions. He mutters some “deep” stuff about how he doesn’t want to be just one thing. Biceps, back muscles, and an ab shot. Teen girls probably screamed during this part. We are treated to a kissing scene where Tris whispers, “I don’t want to go too fast.” Thank god…

Tris visits her Brother in ERUDITE and learns that ERUDITE is looking to overthrow ABNEGATION. Alrighty, then. Why? Because ERUDITE is smart and can take better care of it? No, because the people in the faction are drugging the rest of the factions into thinking by suggestion. We see more of this when the DAUNTLESS leaders inject the faction people with the drug, turning them into sleeper soldiers. This whole shabang is just stupid, using mostly silence and robotic movements to convey the mind-control.

Tris and Four are captured by the Head Honcho, a blond Kate Winslet. Tris predictably escapes, and is rescued by her mother, who, surprise, was a member of DAUNTLESS. Tris and her super mother shoot off enemies with cheesy-looking paintball guns for a couple of seconds until her mom is shot. An uncomfortable and awkward scene ensues with Tris bawling and wheezing over the dead mother’s body before she runs off to find her father and the ABNEGATION survivors.

The group breaks into the DAUNTLESS territory and shoots more people before Tris goes back to the main aptitude-testing area. She finds Four under the trance of the test drug, and the two get involved in an unrealistic fight-scene, where Tris should have broken her back at least four times…Tris manages to wake Four up, and the two go after Jeanine, the person in charge of the entire test/government blah blah blah. The big “shutdown” scene has Jeanine simply pressing a “cancel” button on a huge touchscreen. Seriously? That was it?

The movie ends with Tris, Four, her brother, and Four’s father traveling on the train, heading beyond the huge fence. Another voiceover starts, which is cliché enough, and ends uncomfortablly at best, obviously aiming at the sequel. I’m already dreading it.

All in all, a movie full of plot holes, clichés, and awkward scenes mashed together. The romance just wasn’t there, and the acting was sub-par. Most of the money seems to have gone into…what? Special effects? It certainly wasn’t in the acting. A good million was probably spent on the Botox for Four’s pouty lips.

There we have it, Divergent. Hope you enjoyed reading. Feel free to tell me your thoughts if you’ve seen the movie/read the series. I give it a 4.5, what have you?

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12 responses to “A Dyke Reviews: Divergent

      • Woo hoo… I found it. Bad news is it’s on a private forum. Good news is, I can copy and paste. Meh news is it’s long. Enjoy 🙂

        We watched Noah yesterday. It was a bad movie, like laughably bad. Only good thing about it was that I got to spend time with friends and didn’t buy the tickets. I wish we’d seen Divergent instead. The movie was bad enough the friends were wishing the same thing (I’d gotten out voted).

        There’s all the “in the beginning” stuff then they get to Cain killing Abel and Cain runs off. Him and his descendants are protected by these fallen angels who teach them about technology and stuff. Then their third son Seth (was there actually a Seth in the Bible?) goes off on his own.

        Cain’s descendants do very well. Seth’s on the other hand… well he only has the grandfather Methuselah, Noah, and his three sons (and a funky glowing snake skin that’s proof of their heritage, but that’s stolen when Noah’s father is killed). They wander around, studying botany and living in tents… while wearing jeans and acrylic sweaters along with perfectly styled hair. Cain’s descendants wander around as a mining army. They mine these glowing explosive rocks that are vitally important for no explainable reason.

        Noah’s son finds a girl who’s been wounded and they magically know she’s going to be barren at the age of around 7 years old because she got a gut wound. Even though it was on the left side of her abdomen and didn’t look like it was near her uterus.

        Methuselah hangs out in a cave on the side of a mountain and has magical powers and the fallen angels are these rock-like creatures that look like they wandered over from The Neverending Story (except for their glowing eyes). They apparently fell into mud when they fell from heaven and now want to help Noah because Cain’s descendants screwed them over and tried to kill them (also for no explainable reason).

        An army shows up, complete with the king who killed Noah’s father, before the ark is done. The rock angels scare them so they go hang out in the woods making weapons, meanwhile giving Noah ample time to finish the ark.

        The girl grows into Hermione and Noah’s wife begs Methuselah to let her sons have children because Noah wants the whole human race to die and isn’t going to find them wives before everyone gets flooded. Methuselah goes and hangs out in the woods looking for berries which aren’t there then he heals Hermione, who promptly screws her boyfriend (the middle son) and gets pregnant. The oldest son sneaks into the woods and rescues this terrified innocent teenage girl. Her leg gets caught in a trap. Noah finds her and his son and drags him away leaving her, trapped, to get trampled by an entire army.

        They all knew Methuselah was hanging out in the woods and none of them express any regret about leaving a mostly blind and elderly man to drown alone, even though they had ample time to rescue him.

        The king manages to sneak aboard the ark and tries to convince the oldest son to kill his father. Oldest son is tempted considering Noah wants to kill Hermione’s baby if it’s a girl and he left the girl he was rescuing to die. He changes his mind when the king starts talking about owning his mother and brothers plus his brother’s future children.

        Hermione seriously looks like she stuffed an inflatable beach ball under her sweater. She had her arm hooked around it to keep it from falling out and it kept shifting. She and middle son try to escape but Noah torches their raft so they can’t leave (he really wants to kill his grandchild at birth) then Hermione’s water breaks. She does the worst imitation of labour ever then gave birth to twin girls, both conveniently born already wrapped in knit blankets. Then she just stands there and waits for Noah to kill them. Noah’s wife, meanwhile, figures the twin girls are exactly what their needed. You know, as wives for her already adult oldest son and for her 10 year old youngest son… who are their uncles.

        By this time they’ve landed. Noah is about to stab them but kisses them instead and feels bad for not slaughtering his twin granddaughters because he betrayed “the creator”. I was just bummed because he never did fall out of the ark like I’d hoped. The oldest son leaves then Noah blesses them with the glowing snake skin that they got back from the king. He recounts the story of Eden (complete with a glowing Adam and Eve, a snake that opens it’s mouth to set another snake free, and a throbbing fruit of knowledge that looked disturbingly like a beating heart) and the movie ended.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What imagery…Though I can side with you on the whole “things happening for no reason” with how many random loose-ends there seem to be.
        This film has probably killed brain cells by the millions. I’m surprised somebody hasn’t sued yet for brain damage and cruel and unusual punishment.

        Liked by 1 person

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