Monday, September 22, 2014

Movie Review: Divergent

My Review (4 stars):

     Divergent (2014) is a thrilling, dystopian, action movie based on a book of the same title by author Veronica Roth. The book series is simply called Divergent as well, and consists of three main books, Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant; plus an additional few short stories.

     So, in the movie Divergent (2014), we meet Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), a teenage girl who lives amidst a precarious faction system within the walls of a great city safely cut off from the ruins of what once was America. The factions are Erudite, the knowledgeable ones; Amity, the peaceful crop-tenders; Candor, the honest; Dauntless, the brave protectors; and Abnegation, the selfless. Beatrice's parents are part of Abnegation, which makes Beatrice, and her brother Caleb, part of it too. —Until they get the test and choose a faction at the choosing ceremony. The test tells teens what they're most like (it helps them choose right at the choosing ceremony). ...But to some, like Beatrice, it tells something entirely different. Some dangerous. A condition punishable by death.

     This film brings us along with Beatrice as she struggles to cope with being divergent, and live in spite of it. After joining a new faction, she begins to realize that some things are very wrong with the way her city is living, and she has to decide whether to stay undercover, or take a stand.

     First off, I found Divergent (2014) to be thoroughly entertaining; interesting and captivating. The whole dystopian thing has really captured my attention of late, and that element of this movie doesn't disappoint.
     We have the strange faction system. Crumbling, abandoned ships and skyscrapers. Fascinating concoctions that stimulate the part in a person's brain that processes fear... when is injected into a person, along with little things that allow your fearful hallucinations to be seen on a computer screen. Yeah, crazy technology or something. :P But it's very interesting to think of.

     There's a strong family theme. It's easy to see that Beatrice and her brother and parents love each other. In some cases, this love is shown as certain ones put their life on the line for others. There's hugs exchanged, I love yous spoken, and sacrifices made.

     No spiritual element to speak of since Divergent (2014) isn't a Christian movie (or book). I read somewhere that Veronica Roth is a Christian, so... I don't know. *Shrugs* Some good values are still captured in this film though, such as standing up for the innocent even when it'll hurt (even kill) you, and putting friends and family above yourself as well. There's lots of shooting and deaths, especially in the latter part of the movie, but I didn't feel those parts were too glorified; and there were several scenes of characters grieving over someone's death. It's seems evident that Tris (Beatrice) is shocked, horrified, regretful over all the deaths, and the fighting she herself has to do. You can see it in her eyes and a scene where she says she's not sure she knows who she is anymore.

     That all being said, I will still note that some of the violence creeped me out. There were smaller things, such as the fighting rounds during Dauntless training, that didn't creep me out, but it wasn't too fun to watch, I'll admit. There were at least four intense fighting scenes, (girl on girl and boy on girl) in which one of the pair gets beat up pretty bad. There's punching in the face and stomach, some shoving and kicking and whatnot. The part that creeped me out really though, was when the fighting with guns/fighting against the government started in earnest... armed men are chasing a teenage girl, and loved ones start to die. I got over it after awhile, but it definitely made me stop and go, “wait, this isn't a pg, fluffy romance or anything”. So yeah, stop and realize this is pg-13 for intense violence before letting any younger children watch it. I would say viewers should be at least 13, preferably older (16 or so and up). If not because of the violence, then because there's definitely some mature themes that younger children and maybe even some teens can't really grasp.

     Such as intense competition between the Dauntless, which results in a suicide. And some of the stuff the Dauntless leadership try to teach their trainees, like obeying even when you don't agree with what's being done, or are even horrified at what's being done.

     Divergent (2014) was really interesting that way. It made me think of how some leaders/rulers really try to manipulate their people, as the society/dauntless leadership were trying to do in this film. "Human nature is the enemy," says one of the leaders, Jeanine Matthews... (which is true in a sense because it IS human nature to sin, to be selfish, to protect yourself even when it hurts others, to seek pleasure at any cost, and so on.) But the society's solution to human nature being the enemy, was to wipe out free will, wipe out thinking independently, wipe out emotions, wipe out the tie between family members. Faction before blood! is their quote. So yeah, its an interesting, thought-provoking theme overall.

     The romance of Divergent (2014) was touching and heartfelt at points. A little too much at other points. There's an extended kissing scene as well as a few other little moments that perhaps didn't need to be added. Also, there's a brief hallucination of a girl getting attacked. Some immodest dress and inappropriate comments also are downs of this movie.

     And there's some swearing. Some misuse of God's name. Perhaps four or five of each throughout the film.

     In conclusion, I'm not really sure what to think of Divergent (2014) yet. Like I said, it entertained me. The dystopian world fascinated me. For the most part, Tris had a sweet romance. There were no really twisted ideals being promoted that I can see as of now. But there were still teens pummeling each other, and lots of shooting. The end of Divergent (2014) leaves me really wanting to watch Insurgent (2015)...but, we'll see.

     For the most part, the dystopian world, the action, the crazy stunts, the intriguing story of Divergent (2014) really pulled me in. It's a thrilling watch in that aspect! :)

For more information about the pros and cons of the movie Divergent, I would suggest visiting

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