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on March 22, 2014
"Divergent" will inevitably be compared by many to that other YA book series, "Hunger Games." And while both books have strong young heroines, the books and movies are actually quite different. See the movie and judge for yourself. I went to see it with my family, but the theater had audiences of all ages - from older 40-50 something couples, to groups of high school-college friends, to middle schoolers with their friends or families. I would recommend this to the same audience that went to see "Hunger Games" - PG-13 and up.

For those not familiar with Veronica Roth's book, "Divergent" is the story of Beatrice (Tris) Prior, a young lady living in futuristic Chicago. Due to post-war effects, their society is divided into 5 factions that represent 5 virtues - Abnegation (selflessness/service to others), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace) and Erudite (knowledge/learning). Those who do not belong to a faction (basically, ostracized from society) are called "factionless." When they come of age, they attend a ceremony to select the faction they will join for the rest of their lives. Most choose the faction they are born in, while others may "defect." During the pre-ceremony aptitude test, Beatrice is told that her test results were "inconclusive", meaning she doesn't see to belong to a specific group. They call this "Divergent." Their society views "Divergents" as dangerous so Beatrice must keep this secret to protect her life. When she chooses her faction, she meets her new mentor and trainer Four and the brutal Eric and forms friendships with other new initiates Christina, Will and Al. The physical and mental training (think "boot camp") is intensive and challenging and Tris needs to find a way to survive. She eventually finds an ally in Four, who isn't quite what he seems.

The movie does a great job introducing the faction-based society to audiences, so you don't need to have read the book to enjoy or understand the plot. Having read the book, I would say I am very satisfied with the casting choices and the outcome of the film. I would consider this a faithful adaptation to the book - some scenes were excised due to time constraints and/or continuity/flow, but this is understandable if you take into account the differences between the book vs. film medium.

In terms of casting, I admit I was skeptical about Shailene Woodley (Tris) at first. Physically, she doesn't quite match up to book Tris (who is supposed to be small and waif-ish). But Shailene has the ability to take on this role of a vulnerable and conflicted young woman at the beginning of the film who grows in strength and confidence as the story goes on. Some would say that Theo James is much older than his book counterpart, but I can clearly see why he was chosen to play the complex Four. Theo plays Four with quiet strength and charisma - he is an imposing authority figure, but there is some vulnerability a well. He won me over from the first scene and he and Shailene have an undeniable chemistry. Kate Winslet (Jeanine Matthews), Jai Courtney (Eric) and Miles Teller (Peter) are also stand-outs. The remaining main supporting cast are Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd (Tris' parents), Ansel Elgort (Caleb - Tris' brother), Ray Stevenson (Marcus Eaton) and Tris' fellow initiates Zoe Kravitz (Christina), Ben Lloyd Hughes (Will) and Christian Madsen (Al). They capture the essence of their book counterparts very well and, while they are currently relative unknowns, I can see bright futures for the young cast. (And, yes, girls and boys, whether intentional or not, there is a lot of "eye candy" in this movie. I get it. Even Jai Courtney's Eric looks good in a dangerous/tough guy sort of way). Four is my favorite character in the book series and I am pleased to see that Theo James more than lives up to expectations.

The film was shot in Chicago so the filmmakers had to perform some digital magic to make it look and feel like a post-war, dystopian society. Costumes and sets all look spot on. It all works. Director Neil Burger injects pace, energy and a sense of foreboding and danger to the film. As soon as Tris leaves her faction, the action kicks off. There are lots of fight scenes between the initiates and among various characters, and yes, there is violence akin to what you would see in the "Hunger Games" series. There is also a budding romance - and while it is not as heavy a focus as it is in the books, it is equally satisfying.

As a big fan of the first 2 books ("Divergent" and "Insurgent"), I was very satisfied with the outcome. So many books out there get ripped to shreds by the time they make it to film, so I am glad to see that the screenwriters were very diligent in capturing the essence of this dystopian world and the characters that we love so much, and did not feel the need to change the story drastically. The plot follows that of the book and several key scenes are intact (albeit shorter and more compact) - whatever changes are made are relatively minor in comparison. The main characters are there, and there are more minor characters that may have been excised or will make an appearance in the next film. We hope this movie does well enough so that "Insurgent" is made, because that follow-up brings us more dimension to the story and fleshes out the role of these characters. For example, Marcus Eaton, Jeanine Matthews, Caleb, Peter and the Candor, Amity and Erudite factions, and Four's background are expanded more in the second book and new characters will be introduced.

My family and I came out of this film having a few discussions afterwards. Overall the reaction was very positive and we all enjoyed it immensely, so much so that we are all planning to see it again. I would highly recommend this movie not just to the book fans, but those who enjoy futuristic, dystopian films. Young and adult alike in my household enjoyed this film so it works for a broad range of audiences.
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This is the only Divergent series film really worth watching more than once. The other films in the series you will watch just to see what happens. But the original Divergent has some real meat to it.
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on December 7, 2017
Awesome Movie! One of my favorites! If you like sequels then this is definitely for you! This is the first of 3 movies that are currently available to watch. The 2 main characters have a awesome chemistry and a building relationship onscreen. It’s romantic in ways for the hopeless romantics, but jammed packed with action for those who favor that type of movie. Great Cast, Love
Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet as Suppoorting actors! If anyone has any questions about this film please feel free to ask me! I’ve watched it a million times and still Love it! Definitely a Great Movie!
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Decent movie. Another similar movie to the Hunger Games. Most of the movie is predictable...Like, the girl gets the very attractive and slightly older guy... Many people die, lots of fighting, the pacifist turns into a butt-kicking fighter.
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on September 5, 2014
So, first things first, I have never read the book! I think that this movie is a great movie. I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. There was a good pace about it, and it was just an all around interesting movie to watch. The filmmakers did a great job overall.

Things that I liked about the movie are:

- Was a good pace.
- Had a good storyline.
- The romance was not over done, but it was a little awkward.

Things that I liked about this particular purchase:

- Contains digital copy (on iTunes)
- Contains a decent amount of special features

Like I said above, I would give this a 4.5 star rating if I could, but I cannot.

My wife originally LOVED this movie. But that was before she read the book. If you cannot enjoy the movie without separating it from the book, then you probably shouldn't watch the movie (although you most likely already have if you read the book anyway). From what I hear, there are a good amount of changes between the book and the movie (nothing major, but just that she doesn't say I love you in the first book but she does in the movie, etc.)
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on October 27, 2016
The books were fun. The movies are less so. Leading actress Shailene Woodley is only somewhat believable as the Divergent heroine at the center of the trilogy, and the love connection between herself and actor Theo James seems like a cardboard cut-out of love. Lots of action and suspense; probably quite entertaining for the pre-teen crowd!
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on August 8, 2014
Divergent the movie was, in my opinion, a lot better than The Hunger Games movie. I've read both series and liked both equally well, but the movies rank different for me.

While Divergent is a little disjointed, it was easier to follow along. There are some little holes in the storyline, not too disturbing for me though am sure others who have read the book will find them bothersome.

I found some of the dialogue did not flow well, like it was all forced and out of place. I don't know if it was because some scenes were moved around or if the actor's had that hard a time selling it. I'll pay more attention during my second viewing it might be I was just distracted by the scene(s).

While I gave this film 3 stars, I enjoyed it, was entertained by it and would not turn up my nose to view it again (where as I'd have to be really hard up to watch The Hunger Games ever again). If you've read the books, try to put aside your own vision about the characters and sequence of events and enjoy it. If you've not read the books then you should enjoy it more.
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on January 7, 2016
Having just read the book as usual the movie is a disappointment. Not that it's a particularly bad movie, but because of necessity it cuts so much of the detail that made the book such a good read. Don't get me wrong, Theo James as Tobias is handsome and Shalene Woodley as Beatrice is impressive but so much of their interaction including their romance is truncated in the movie. As usual certain scenes are altered to move the plot along. No matter how good CGI and stunt actors may be your imagination is always better. Mind you the ride down the zip line is spine-chilling.

The remainder of the crew are not as well cast and most of the other initiatives play background roles.
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on August 10, 2014
I watched it on the movie theater four times so I definitely wanted to buy it. I got the digital version when it came out because I didn't want to wait for my dvd to arrive. While the digital version have some really nice extras, with interviews and commentary, the dvd comes with very few interesting extras. The only part worth watching was the deleted scenes. Everything else was very underwhelming. While I love the movie and for that alone it's worth for me to buy it, had I known what the extras would be, I would have stick to just the digital version. I heard thw blu ray format has some nicer extras. I don't have a blu ray player so I can't attest to that. Four stars because the movie is great but for the actual dvd, I'd give it a 2.
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on June 28, 2015
We love movies in my household, especially Sci-fi. We have been waiting for Divergent to come out so we could watch it. I can say, that it doesn't let you down. It is a combination of action and sci-fi rolled in one. It has a very creative story line on a socialist society and shows how there will always be a group that will not conform, can not conform and will not conform. Shows how we all must choose our own path, but we are responsible for these choices. I liked how it showed that based on these choices you left your previous life behind, no belongings, and no contact with anyone from you past. Many of us sometimes wish this could happen in our own lives. If you love scifi and a great original story try this one. Can't wait for the sequel!
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