Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Divergent (2014)


So, for good, and mostly bad, we are in the era of teen books to big screen sensations. The good, Harry Potter, to the bad, Twilight, and the worse... that I really do not need to name here. SO am I the only one that groaned a little out loud when I heard yet another series was getting the Trilogy treatment... wait I mean - Quadrilogy (as all the new series now turn the last book into two films  - Hello $$$$). And then groaned again, slightly louder, and with a lean back... when you found out that it was about a future with social problems, and a young woman that rises up to challenge the future douche bags that wish to control everyone... like oh I don't know Hunger Games. 

Can anyone freakin' blame me with that damn poster? I mean, it's just pure cheese... 

Well Katniss, meet Tris. Yes, dammit I know even the freaking names are similar.... But! BUT! I was wrong. Maybe there is hope for a few of these series yet, because this here franchise starter was a blast.

You story goes... In the future society is broken up into well, pretty damn wonderful factions. The problem is one faction has decided they should rule instead of the super kind people. Uh-Oh. They plan on using the faction system to allow for a takeover, and well, these folks called divergents that have no set class, and can think freely (always dangerous for future Dystopian society rulers) must be destroyed first. Guess what our lead lady is? Yup. Luckily she'll make friends and together they might just have a chance to save the world.

In the future all doors are Jump Doors. Knock. Leap.
Ok. There's a lot there, or well, maybe not that much depending on how you look at it. Can I just pause for a moment and ask why no future ever seems to have over weight people? Seriously can we ponder this? Do they cure fat? Did Macdonalds close... So many questions that I must have ANSWERED!

Sigh. Another time I guess.

Man this world is full of pretty people. Moving past that, and a few of surface issues with the simplicity of the class structure... Kind people, people that can't lie, etc... this film is a hoot from open to close.

1) they rely on a sharp and fast moving script 2) the acting is great. I mean no one dials it in here. Even the bit actors seem determined to earn every dollar.

That makes all the difference. Unlike some of these Based on the International Bestseller movies there is no dragging part in the middle. You might put a few things together well in advance if you are a genre buff like well... your friendly neighbourhood blogger here. But the fun, and speed of the story make sure you enjoy the heck out of it anyway. Shailene Woodley. Well, all signs point to her being the next Jennifer Lawrence... wait is that too soon? Is Jennifer Lawrence still Jennifer Lawrence? Wasn't she the next Julia Roberts?

Screw it. Point is the girl has some serious acting chops. Now with this film raking in the dough and The Fault in our stars taking tonnes of cash from crying teenagers everywhere... well, we do have ourselves a genuine superstar.

The art of Mime, is now a matter of life and death.
I heard some complaining about the fights, and some of the hand to hand, given that Tris is a rather small frail creature, but I didn't really mind it. They are well filmed and for the most part she is just hitting someone with an elbow or a boot. I don't care if you weigh 110. That will still damage someone.

The direction is top notch. Neil Burger who I have enjoyed since The Illusionist. One of those sadly under seen films (You can grab it for 5$ in the blu-ray bin - DO IT!). I'm saying the man has skills and they show up here. He pushes the budget as much as he can and when it fails him, he trusts his eye to capture the tale, and his actors, in some truly beautiful shots. And who knew the man could do action...

Keep in mind they made this film with 85 million. Compared to some of the money being thrown down on these films (130 million for the second Hunger Games for example) they got a nice return on there buck.

This rates as another great surprise from an unexpected source. I really had fun with this film. Listen if you are going to complain about the story being done before, well, you should probably just ignore all film then. And sic-fi, well I've said this before. There really is only two (arguably 3) story structures from which all Sci-Fi is born.

Great pace. Great cast. Great fun. And yes, a message for the younger folks.

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sci-fi Scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW - The best of the YA adaptations so far. 

I can't believe I am saying this... but actually really looking forward to the next film. Hopefully they keep the fun, and fast moving nature of this film intact.

-Chuck B.

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