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REVIEW: Divergent

REVIEW: Divergent

I have to say, while leads Shailene Woodley and Theo James  (who  hauntingly reminds me of a younger Paul Walker)  are impressive, this feels like a long (close to 2 and a half hours!!!)  “Hunger Games” wanna-be.  Like “The Hunger Games”, this comes from a popular book series (and thus a new YA, young adult franchise is born) .  The  “Divergent” book series  followed  “The Hunger Games” by 3 years.

As with “The Hunger Games”,  the setting is post-apocalyptic America, where   teenagers join tribes based on their virtues: bravery; selfishness; high intelligence. Our heroine turns out to be a divergent, the few who  fit into several  tribes. Kate Winslet  gets to play the villain this time as the tribe leader who is so threatened by divergents, she’s out to exterminate them.

Relatively unknown Brit Theo James is a standout as  co-star. He is blessed  with that on-screen magnetism that draws your eyes on him  like a magnet  to steel. He is perfectly  cast.  Shailene Woodley  is impressive but pales in comparison to the glorious Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games”.  I was actually more impressed with Shailene in last year’s  coming of age romancer “The Spectacular Now”, co-starring Miles Teller, who also joined Woodley in this film as a member of  the tribe.

While I’m sure  the target audience will easily make this a box office smash, it’s just not up to the excellence of “The Hunger Games”. “The Hunger Games” was wildly colorful and at times, funny. This is  dark, dark, dark and wayyyyyyy too long.  At  least there’s no 3-D to deal with  for close to 2-and-a-half hours.

It was great to see Ashley Judd back  on screen as our heroine’s mom, who  has a surprise of her  own .

What I like most about “Divergent” is  as a coming of ager, it empowers girls.  We need these  role models, even when fictional, especially after the  become-a-celeb-by-doing-a-sex-tape non-role models of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

 

2 stars

 

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