New this week is the big-budget, young adult action flick, Divergent. The thought it might bring in 90 plus million dollars its first weekend. It did not.
This is based on the big series of books that swept through young readers recently. The hope is that this two hour-twenty minute movie would give it life. Well it's here, and even though the most die hard fans, and those just dying to love this movie will concede that this is a poor man's Hunger Games, and they were here first.
The formula is exactly the same. We go way into the future, and the world has been through a huge war, and there is a simple bare-bones society left. We have a young woman hero and main star, who is the change that the new world society seems to need to save and enhance itself. She is a brave soldier of change, and she is considered dangerous to the establishment. All the while, falling in love with a young hunk with similar pedigree and situation. In its formula, it's The Hunger Games.
There are some differences though. In Divergent, we are in what's left of Chicago about 100 years in the future. The war has destroyed the world, and there is a big fence around Chicago to keep out the unknowns. Society is broken down into 5 factions, and when teens reach a certain age, they have to decide what faction they want to live in, many times leaving their families. Each faction has a certain skill set that makes the new world work. But once you leave, you can never go back to your original faction.
Then there are the "Divergents." They are for some reason a threat to society because they have traits of all factions. They are hunted down, and eliminated by the ruling faction. Meet Tris (Shailene Woodley). She is one, and she is our star. So after she joins the soldiering faction of society, it is found that she is divergent, and so is her new love interest Four (Theo James). And after the soldiering faction is sent out to take over all factions and be the new ruling faction, these two are resistant, and give all hope.
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There is a ton about this that young adults are going to bite into hard. Growing up, leaving home, going on an adventure, finding young love, playing with video game like weapons, and trying to make a big mark in the world. It's love, rebellion, and action all rolled into one. That is why the formula works. But I think that maybe movie goers might be catching on. They have seen this before, and done way better in Hunger Games.
I like Woodley, and I think that the future is bright for her. I loved her in the Descendants, and The Spectacular Now, and there are good projects in the pipe for her. But the trouble here is, that there is nothing exciting around her. This might be the most non-compelling action big budget movie in a long time. The entire time, I felt like I had seen every scene of this movie somewhere else before in various movies that were here earlier, and done better. Those who go, are going to try their best to love this, but the love for this will fall way below, Hunger Games, or even Twilight.
Divergent. Number 2 starts filming in May. But now for this release in March? Been there, done that.