Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Divergent': What You'd Expect in an Expensive Teen Movie

Scene from "Divergent".
There's no rational explanation for the eager anticipation I had to see "Divergent," a Lion's Gate teen drama that is comfortably paired in any sentence with "Hunger Games" and plays to the same people as its "Twilight" series.

I was not knocked out by "Hunger Games" and didn't see any of the "Twilight" stuff, but still, this one looked promising because it was one of those "bad guys take over the world, but for the heroism of a young girl" dealies--much like "Hunger Games," which was/is a lure because of Jennifer Lawrence.

The delivery, from the plot, the cinematography, the nod-off writing, and fair special effects one would expect here is, well, what you'd expect. No surprises. Basically an average movie with a monster budget ($100 million), a star (Shailene Woodley) with one expression and a totally wasted "bad guy" (a portly Kate Winslett, who may have been preggie when this was shot). Woodley has the advantage of looking a lot like a young Winslett at some angles here, but she's not in the same universe as an actor. Neither is Kate in this one, though I think she's one of our best actors. Slumming, I'd guess. And Woodley is no Lawrence.

On the flip side of all this negativism is that "Divergent" is a nice diversion, a movie that does what movies are supposed to do: takes us to another world and lets us forget that the Republicans are in charge of this one for a bit.

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