Review: Divergent (2014)

Divergent movie poster

“You’re different. You don’t fit into a category. They can’t control you. They call it Divergent. You can’t let them find out about you.”
– Tori

SYNOPSIS: In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. – via IMDB

Yes… that actually happened. I am going to call this my biggest let down of 2014 so far (but I really don’t know if I will be let down any worse for anything else… but then the year is young). I really, really, really wanted to like this movie a hell of a lot more than I did and it just… no. It didn’t work.

I want to make mention of the score, first and foremost. What the hell was that? It’s the worst score I have heard since The Great Gatsby, and worse than that this didn’t even have a good story and great costume design and acting and all that. Alright, but let’s move past that. I really wish that Shailene Woodley had given a stronger performance for Tris. She is a heroine I actually like a lot and respect and all that and I didn’t get that feeling from Woodley. Secondly, Tobias’s backstory was horribly underplayed and left out, and he is one of my favourite book characters and they totally glaze over exactly the type of person that he is as well as how he got to where he is.

Marcus (Ray Stevenson) was not made even remotely scary enough (which bothered me no end), the score did not work well with anything, the story had giant holes in it and a lot was changed (and not in the good way either – how did Roth think that this was a nice and loyal adaption of her books?!).  A lot of my favourite scenes, the ones that were supposed to resonate, were botched… and bad. Needless to say, unfortunately, that I was not a fan of this. It felt like a little girl movie trying to play with the bigger leagues and failing exponentially.

The story had so much potential. It felt colossally long (which is saying something, it is only 140 minutes) and so much was squandered and wasted. The characters were all peripheral and unimportant, so nothing of emotional value came to be. There was not depth to any of them (I know there was not an awful lot in the books either for everyone, but for the important characters there was definitely more flesh than anything we got here. Theo James played Tobias to the best of his ability and was definitely worth looking into (and is hot AF – evidence follows), Woodley impressed me nearing the end although a lot was just not what it was meant to be.

The relationship between Tris and Tobias sort of just happened out of nowhere, very quickly, instead of the great build up that was created in the books, making it one of the more worthwhile romances we have seen in a long time. Together, though, they did share a pretty good chemistry. While I am on a bitch session, since when is Tobias a damned rapist (or potentially, either way it was being portrayed that way)?! I was completely horrified at that!

Overall I must say that this is not a movie I am happy to have spent my money on seeing in theatres, I feel robbed! Skip it… I am terribly sad to now know why this film got such a bad rep, but will certainly be skipping the next lot. What a waste of good material.

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64 thoughts on “Review: Divergent (2014)

  1. Tom says:

    Aw boo. . .this is a shame to hear, although I can’t say I was hooked by trailers.

    I have anticipated this review from you since you reviewed the book and I was really curious to read what you thought about it when I started to read the first things on RT and stuff. Welp. Looks like another case of book will always be superior!! 😀

    And things are looking ever-better for Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games 😉

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Aw boo is an understatement… it just… meh. Meh. That is all. The trailers were liars… not the greatest things but it looked like they could deliver on a few things, which they just didn’t.

      Ah I am glad to hear that my opinion was so anticipated haha! Yeah for sure, this is definitely one of those instances where the book was far superior… damn. I just wanted something decent you know?! 😛

      Well, those movies did justice to the books, truly! 😉

      Like

  2. Natasha says:

    Haha oh my friend you were so unimpressed. I am sorry you didn’t like it. You know I liked some things bin that film 😉 however as far as book adaptions go, they could do a lot better! Maybe the sequels?

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Yeah I really was an unhappy chicken man, it SUCKED!!! Well, that I am familiar with 😛 I wish they would do better, but they have already messed up so much of it. I will not be seeing more in theatre I don’t think, what a waste of my time and money!

      Like

  3. The Geek Mind says:

    So glad I skipped this! The trailers never gave me any confidence this film was going to be good. I know there’s the obvious comparisons to The Hunger Games but The Hunger Games is proof positive that when you get the story right and get a great cast together you enjoy it whether you’ve read the book or not.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Yeah totally not worth spending money on, what a waste! And it had so much potential, that’s what frustrates me the most! The Hunger Games definitely got it together so much better… this had the potential but no, just no…

      Like

      • The Geek Mind says:

        It’s a shame – if there was any reason for me to watch this it would be Maggie Q because she’s a badass chick lol. It’s like Hollywood looked at The Hunger Games and said I want some of that and then completely butcher the story. With such poor reviews your reaction is no surprise.

        Love your rant though! 🙂

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        Yeah I was really hoping for more seeing as The Hunger Games was adapted so well, I really thought if they just pulled it together this could have been awesome. The essence of this was missed. They just desecrated this.

        I was really hoping that it was just getting slammed because people expected another carbon copy of The Hunger Games and got a different story and revolted a little bit, but it seems that that was not the case here, this just sucked, plain and simple.

        LOL! Why thank you!

        Like

  4. Desperado316 says:

    Although I haven’t watched it yet, I had a strong feeling this movie was going to disappoint in comparison to the book by just watching the trailer. I guess my thoughts were correct. Thanks for the honest review Zoe. 🙂

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      It is a pleasure! I was hoping that they could pull it together… I mean there have been some movies where the trailers do them no justice and then come out of nowhere and surprise the hell out of you. This was not one of those. Meh, sucky, sucky, sucky I tell you!

      Like

      • Desperado316 says:

        I believe you. My instincts were telling me the same thing so I have no doubting you. But yeah, I guess its a disappointment. I still have the final book in the trilogy to read so I’ll just look forward to that.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        Ooooh, definitely a fantastic read that! I hope you enjoy it and would love to hear what you think about the trilogy when all is said and done!

        Like

      • Desperado316 says:

        Ah yes. I do plan on reviewing the books once I’m finished with it… Will be my first book review for my site/blog. Unless I decide to review “The Fault in our Stars” first. 😛

        Almost wrote the ‘Fallen’ in our stars there. Lol… Just shows how much attention I pay to book titles.

        I tend to do a lot of my reading/watching based on recommendations. So if you’ve got any… Please send them my way. 🙂

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        Hahaha, either way they are fantastic books, the Divergent trilogy as well as The Fault In Our Stars. I am looking forward to that movie (the trailer is one massive spoiler, but it looks damn accurate).

        LOL!

        Hmmmm.. what style of writing do you like? By this I mean for adults, young adults, drama, etc? I read a hell of a lot of crime fiction and such. As for movies… there are so many! 😀

        Like

      • Desperado316 says:

        I would say young adult. I like the hunger games/divergent type stuff a lot. I also like stuff like Game of Thrones. Crime fiction sounds interesting too.

        As for movies, I watch pretty much anything so I can just go by your reviews.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        I read inordinate amounts of it!

        If you like that fantasy type, have you tried Stephen King’s Dark Tower series? I started it recently and I must say that I thoroughly enjoy it.

        Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End were both extremely good epics, too.

        If you are going for crime fiction, Karin Slaughter is fantastic, but you need a stronger nerve for it and you should try to read them in order, so rewarding. Donna Tartt is an exceptionally talented writer, too, and The Goldfinch blew me away. I have to check out her other work now, too.

        🙂 That’s good then. I can highly recommend Filth (2013) at the moment, something I really loved. And Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Drive (2011) was also very good…

        Like

  5. table9mutant says:

    Ouch!!! Lol. Damn – I wanted to see this one… The score is one of the things I was maybe most looking forward to. ; ) I’ve not read the books, though, so MAYBE I’d enjoy it slightly more than you did??

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      LOOOOL yes, the score would have been extremely rewarding.

      I sincerely doubt that, but you can test the concept? Maybe, just maybe… I don’t know. It just… no. LOL!

      Would love to see what you think if you DO decide to check it out. And here I was being generous, too!

      Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thanks a lot Chris! Yeah it is getting vastly overplayed and rapidly. This one had so much potential and just SUCKED. I reckon if you skip it entirely you really wouldn’t be missing anything AND you will still have those two hours to spend on something else 😛

      Like

      • Zoë says:

        🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed it.

        It was… wooden? There was only emotion at the end. The rest just felt so… superficial… like she WAS acting. I don’t want to see the actors/actresses feeling that, too, you know what I mean? I like to FORGET that I am watching a movie and be blown away by the performances and the construction and what not. Also, serious parts came across as ridiculously cheesy, which irritated me no end.

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      • Zoë says:

        I am not really familiar with her work, to be honest.

        I don’t know about miscast, she has the chops to have made it really damn good, but it just felt very forced more often than not… very uncertain. A scene nearing the end showed me she can bring it to the table when necessary, I just think she brushed over it most of the movie.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        THAT is something I cannot wait for, and the trailers make it look like she is the perfect Hazel Grace, and based on the scene that won me over in Divergent, I really think she can do it!

        Sometimes she does, you are right!

        Like

  6. Beer Movie says:

    Nice work Zoe. This opens here tomorrow. Not sure if I will bother. This film has literally the worst trailer I have ever seen. Which makes me strangely kind of more likely to watch it.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thanks Tim!

      If I were you I would skip it. I went cause I read the books. If you have not done that? AVOID. It was awful!

      BWAHHAHA! On second thought… go, I would love to see what you have to say!

      Like

  7. theipc says:

    Dearest JB,

    I remember how excited you were to go see this. What a shaming disappointment 😦 😦 😦 I feel bad. Let me know if there is any way I can lift your spirits.

    Lovingly,

    Chop

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Dearest Chop,

      I was CRUSHED. I cannot communicate this enough. It just… why, cruel world? Totally deserving of one of your shamed badges I tell you!

      I shall be in touch with you presently to cross reference schedules.

      Love,

      JB

      Like

      • theipc says:

        My Dear JB,

        Let me know if you want me to make you one up! I would love it. Can’t wait to hear from you!

        Love,

        Chop

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        Dearest Chop,

        Create one! I will use it for movies such as this that should have people weeping over it or shot for having done it!

        Love,

        JB

        Like

  8. jjames36 says:

    I like it much more than you do, largely because I think Woodley amazing in this. And I think the changes smart ones, given the new medium. Though I acknowledge it is not great.

    Small note, by the way, Tobias is not a rapist, nor would he be one. It is just a way of showing Tris’ fear when you don’t have voice over to help explain it, the way the book does.

    Sorry you didn’t like this more.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Yeah you did like this more than me ultimately. I did not see that coming 😛

      I perceived it to be that. She said no a few times, he continued to push, and it got a little violent. I mean she had to knee him to get him to stop. In the books he was not pushy, she just told him this was not how it was going to happen, she didn’t have to attack him. It was more intimate, less violent. The scene, whether interpreted like I did or not, does NOT reflect his character whatsoever, and I was highly unimpressed by that. It left a bitter taste in my mouth when all was said and done.

      It was a pity, I really, really wanted to!

      Like

      • jjames36 says:

        I hear what you’re saying. If that scene has actually happened, it would has bothered me, too. But remember the context of the scene: it Tris’ fear landscape, meaning it is all in Tris’ head. It’s not the real Four. Not even the real Tris. The fantasy isn’t behaving the way Four would behave. It’s behaving the way Tris FEARS Four would behave.

        It’s a way to show us how much Tris viscerally fears intimacy, not a way to show us anything about Four. Since that ‘Four’ isn’t real, we should not make any conclusions about his behavior.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        I know, but it really killed everything the character built up to, how we learn about him, what we know about him, the way he has presented himself. I think it is just a really bad representation from the directors and producers. I mean for her to have pictured that, it is lingering somewhere in her mind. On some level he scares her like that, and that is not something she ever feared. Especially not after having gone through his fear landscapes. These are all the things the book showed better though…

        For sure, nothing in there could tell us about him, I just didn’t care for the scene, and it was one scene that really just peeved me through and through 😦

        Like

      • jjames36 says:

        Fair enough.

        I will respectfully suggest that, to me, the change seems considerably less radical than it does to you. And, even, that I think it a smart one.

        In the book, Tris isn’t afraid that Four will rape her. On that point we totally agree. But there are several scenes throughout the novel wherein his intensity scares her. And, in the book, she is absolutely afraid of sex with him.

        Now consider the movie. In the film, the characters are older (though the filmmakers are careful not to make age an issue). Four is near 30, probably, and Tris is likely in her early 20s. Given the age difference, a fear of SEX makes considerably less narrative sense, so the filmmakers minimize it and instead highlight the fear of FOUR. Again, Four is intense, and he can be violent, facts that scare the novel Tris at least as much as they scare the movie Tris.

        Is the movie’s fear landscape a representation that Four would actually rape someone? No. Is it even a representation that Tris thinks he MIGHT rape her? I’d argue it is not. I’d submit that that the scene is a representation of Tris’ fear of Four’s intensity, a representation that extends to show us her reluctance to get too close too him.

        And both of those statements are consistent with the Tris of the novel, in my opinion. She is a little scared of Four. And she is afraid to get too close to him. Which means I think the filmmakers showed us Tris well by wisely modifying the scene and adjusting the story to their medium’s reality.

        Like

      • Zoë says:

        I can see what you are saying, and I can understand and appreciate it too, I just really didn’t like it. I found it to be uncomfortable, really. His intensity is one thing, but she was never afraid of him physically harming her. I can see why they would make that change, they need to convey a first person narrative to screen, so all that internalizing is lost, but I really didn’t like how this was done. I can see how they would need to explain to us that she has a terror of intimacy and that since he has come into the picture that is getting a little more focused. I know intimacy freaked her out a bit too because the Abnegation don’t have public displays of affection and what not, so she is not really desensitized to it like the others appear. Even light kisses between people get her set on edge.

        I don’t think the landscape showed she was afraid of him actually raping her, I can agree with you there, it was just not a cool way to put forth that she is afraid of intimacy. I know that this might make me sound silly or prudish or whatever haha, it’s just I responded very negatively to the scene.

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  9. Abbi says:

    I liked this a bit more than you but I do agree on the way they treated Tobias. I did like Shailene Woodley though and I didn’t really notice the score… but I have to admit that I LOVED The Great Gatsby score.

    Like

    • Zoë says:

      Hahahaha I think I reacted really badly to this movie. I really didn’t like it. Tobias was messed with completely. The Gatsby score irritated me… all this roaring twenties stunning beauty and all this freaking rap and hip hop what what…

      Like

    • Zoë says:

      Thanks lady. What a total waste of my time. I intensely doubt I will see the rest in theatre when they come, I can totally wait for DVD release here. Meh.

      Like

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