DIVERGENT | BLU RAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

We revisit Kernel Andrew’s review of DIVERGENT from April because our good friends from eOneANZ have given us 3x copies on BLU RAY to giveaway. I have to say, I watched it only this Friday been, I missed it at the cinema and lost interest in actually seeing it. BUT – I absolutely loved it. Thought it had all the elements of a great YA book series and movie. I know my mum loved the movie so much she bought the rest of the books, I might be borrowing these from the old girl soon. Now to win a copy find out how below Kernel Andrew’s review…….all the best…….JK.

REVIEW FROM APRIL:

Divergent is releasing this Thursday 10th April, is rated M and runs for 139mins. eOneANZ must be hoping this will kick off like Twilight, Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, it looks promising and it has Kate Winslet in it so it has to be half decent because Kate is a goddess and can do no wrong. Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev reviews, he was not overly taken with it but explains in his fine review what he disliked. I do not really see Andrew as the target audience, and do hope it does well, we need another big teen franchise film so cinema workers can keep employed 🙂 It kept bugging me who the hot lead dude was, just hit me, after posting the review for a DVD competition literally two days ago with him as the lead 🙂 Theo James stars as “Four” in this one and is also the lead in BEDLAM – a supernatural TV show we are currently running a competition for. Enjoy Andrew’s review.

 

DIVERGENT, movie review, salty popcorn, andrew brusentsev, eone australia, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Neil Burger, Vanessa Taylor, Evan Daugherty, Veronica Roth
DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

Divergent is a movie based upon the first novel of Veronica Roth’s world-wide smash hit trilogy. The producers of the movie must have looked long and hard at the business similar franchises brought in to their studios and thought there is room for one more. I am referring, of course, to the highly successful and popular Twilight, Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises. The franchises with an almost fanatically loyal base often disparaged under the name tweens. This is the generation who every decade seems to have more buying and pulling power than ever. They must have crossed their fingers and betted big that this would do the same business.

 

DIVERGENT, movie review, salty popcorn, andrew brusentsev, eone australia, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Neil Burger, Vanessa Taylor, Evan Daugherty, Veronica Roth
DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four

 

Neil Burger (“Limitless”, “The Illusionist”) was chosen to helm this first instalment of the planned trilogy (isn’t everything a trilogy these days?) and screenwriters Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor were chosen to bring the novel to the big screen.

I have to say that I am probably not the right demographic for this particular pop vehicle. I am a male fast approaching 40 so I don’t think I was closely thought about in the pitch rooms. But I attempted to channel my inner tween and give this movie an open minded red hot go.

The story line for those that are unfamiliar with the source material is pretty easy to dismiss as derivative and unfamiliar. It may be unfortunate that this movie in its first wide pan shot had me thinking of the Hunger Games almost immediately, when I saw the lead my head screamed Twilight but I attempted to tell that cynical voice to shut up.

 

DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four
DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Kate Winslet as Jeanine

 

In the first ten to fifteen minutes we are quickly introduced to a post-apocalyptic fenced off Chicago sometime in the near future. Post calamity which saw the breakdown of the old order and a disastrous war, the survivors reorganised, rebuilt and changed society so this could not happen again. Their method to form a society based on five roles or five factions to be precise. Everyone in the city belongs to one of them. Each group has a defining trait which leads their actions and position in society.  They are: The Amity happy hippy type farmers who dress in peasant style outfits who feed the population. The Candor who run the judicial system and value truth about all else. The Erudite, conservative dark blue wearing serious-minded scholars. The Abnegation tireless social worker types known for their selflessness and modesty. Finally the Dauntless, the brave soldiers and law enforcers who protect the city from internal and external threats. Due to their selflessness Abnegation have been chosen to be the society’s leaders as they serve selflessly and are incorruptible.

 

DIVERGENT, movie review, salty popcorn, andrew brusentsev, eone australia, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Neil Burger, Vanessa Taylor, Evan Daugherty, Veronica Roth
DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four

 

Our heroine is Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley), who is a member of Abnegation. She lives with her mother and father (Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn) and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort). Initially we see the city through their eyes. They are humble, dress in rags, eat simply and have no mirrors as this breeds pride. We quickly learn through a quick snapshot of daily chores that Beatrice has a bit of a wild streak to her which her parents try to temper and her brother tries to dissuade.

Beatrice and Caleb are of the age where they will undergo their aptitude testing which will determine which faction best reflects their own inner nature. After the testing they then have a day to decide which faction will be their home for the rest of their lives. When Beatrice goes for testing her results come back inconclusive. This, we learn, means she is Divergent. This apparently makes her very dangerous. It means she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Doesn’t every teen feel this way? I can see how the readership related. Beatrice though can fit in wherever she likes and therefore is not subservient to the restrictive system. She is told to go home and to tell no one that she received this result. The tester strongly cautions her to pick Abnegation in the Choosing Ceremony. The next day at the Choosing Ceremony the teens pick their factions. Beatrice dares to choose Dauntless and her brother equally surprises by picking Candor.

 

DIVERGENT, movie review, salty popcorn, andrew brusentsev, eone australia, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Neil Burger, Vanessa Taylor, Evan Daugherty, Veronica Roth
DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four

 

Ok dear reader, this was my first “oh-no” moment. By this stage there was enough pastiche moments from both The Hunger Games and Harry Potter to make me start shifting uncomfortably in my seat, but I persevered anyway.

Beatrice is welcomed by Dauntless where she renames herself Tris. It is here she begins to learn to fight, shoot, jump from moving trains, throw knives and control her mind in a series of harrowing simulations. All the while Tris competes against a couple dozen other initiates in a demanding ranking system, those ranked lowest at key points in the assessment are thrown out. We learn that those thrown out of the factions quickly become factionless – social outcasts. Overseeing all the initiates is Eric (Jai Courtney) who we find out is quite merciless and cruel. He wants to steer Dauntless in a more aggressive way, no longer protectors but rather merciless aggressors. To balance this dynamic out we meet our long awaited hero. The hunky teen dream named Four (Theo James), the attraction with Tris is palpable and we all know where this will go.  There is an instant easy chemistry between the characters and James and Woodley do a pretty fair job of playing this out.

I won’t spoil more of the plot but we quickly learn about a power struggle amongst the factions. Someone is breeding a revolution. Rumours have begun spreading about Abnegation and their stint as leaders, particularly Marcus (Ray Stevenson).  We learn that the Erudite leader (played by Kate Winslet), with the help of Dauntless, is attempting to seize control of the faction system. It is up to Tris, Four and friends to stop the violent revolution which is coming.

 

DIVERGENT, movie review, salty popcorn, andrew brusentsev, eone australia, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Neil Burger, Vanessa Taylor, Evan Daugherty, Veronica Roth
DIVERGENT | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Shailene Woodley as Tris and Zoe Kravitz as Christina

 

Ok what did I think? Whilst the first act of the movie was bearable the movie quickly degenerated into cliché after cliché accompanied by seriously one of the worst soundtracks I have ever heard (Junkie XL what is going on?) The supporting figures are passable. There is Tris’s best friend, Christina (Zoe Kravitz) who is passable. And interestingly Miles Teller who played Woodley’s love interest in “The Spectacular Now” is now her Dauntless class nemesis Peter. Kate Winslet does quite well but she is seen far too little to make a lasting impact.

Look no matter how good this particular movie was (and I believe our young teenage market deserves better and has received better) there would constantly be comparisons to the juggernaut of the “The Hunger Games”. But if the Collins books didn’t exist would Divergent have taken off? I don’t think so. While the casting of the leads and a few supports was spot on the production, screenplay, clichéd action sequences and god awful soundtrack would have lost people’s interest.

A shame cause there as some bright moments underneath the clichés.

 

KERNEL ANDREW’S POP SCORE:

2 and a Half Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

 

With special thanks to eOneANZ to win one of the 3x 3D BLU RAYS of DIVERGENT you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to answer the following question. 

Firstly, just an FYI on how to increase chances of winning a salty comp; commenting on the review generally holds you in better stead of winning as opposed to just comp sexing :)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TEEN ACTION FILM AND WHY? For me – probably WAR GAMES, TOY SOLDIERS, BATTLE ROYALE or HACKERS

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter the comp on the website).

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels, more likely ME.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.