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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

DIVERGENT

Movie Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 139 minutes, two audio commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, theatrical trailers, music video, poster gallery, digital copy, DVD

VIDEO:  2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA (blu-ray), English 2.0 Dolby Digital (blu-ray). English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 5.1 Dolby Digital (DVD)

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

 

STUDIO: Summit Entertainment/ Red Wagon Entertainment/ Lionsgate

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 3-21-2014

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 8-5-2014

 

STARRING Shailene Woodley (Tris), Theo James (Four), Zoe Kravitz (Christina), Jai Courtney (Eric), Maggie Q (Tori), Ansel Elgort (Caleb Prior), Kate Winslet (Jeannie Matthews), Tony Goldwyn (Andrew Prior), and Ashley Judd (Natalie Prior)

Based on the novel by Veronica Roth

Screenplay by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor

Directed by Neil Burger

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives in a future dystopian Chicago where everyone is divided in five clans based on certain virtues: Abnegation (selfless), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligence), Amity (kind), and Dauntless (Brave).  Beatrice like all kids when they turn sixteen, they are tested to see what clan they will join where you put “faction before blood”.  She is tested and her results come back as inconclusive in what society deems as divergent and the Erudites want to eliminate all divergents in addition to take the power from Abnegation who rule the government.   Dauntless member Tori (Maggie Q) fakes Beatrice’s results and tells her to hide where they won’t find her.   Beatrice chooses Dauntless over the two other choices: Abnegation and Erudite) while her brother Caleb joins Erudite.  She renames herself Tris and is trained by Four (Theo James) and makes friends with fellow initiate transfer Christina (Zoe Kravitz), but she is afraid of ruthless Dauntless leader Eric (Jai Courtney).   She is put through the training of how to be a Dauntless, but she wonders if her being divergent will have her found out by Erudite leader Jeannie Matthews (Kate Winslet) who is making noise about Abnegation and visiting Dauntless for some reason.   Tris must survive while tensions grow in the city and find out what type of person she should be.

           

DIVERGENT is a faithful adaptation of the novel which streamlines the main story in what promises to be a good trilogy of movies.  It improves on some points in the book while the book does some other stuff better than the movie.  The casting sis great while Theo James is the breakout in this movie while Shailene Woodley is almost as good as him while Jai Courtney captures Eric perfectly and Kate Winslet does her best moustache twirling villain act (who thinks she knows what is best for the city).   The production design, costume design, and music score are great, but I wish they left the pop songs off the soundtrack.  DIVERGENT is primarily about don’t be afraid to be unique and don’t let the world brand you as one thing.   It is also the passage of a woman into adulthood and set her path to save the ones she loves   I will be turning up for the sequel even though it isn’t as awesome as THE HUNGER GAMES because I really want to see where the world of Tris will go.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio Commentary with director Neil Burger discusses the story, characters, and details about the production, and what they added for the movie like scenes not in the book

 

Audio Commentary with Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher

 

BRINGING DIVERGENT TO LIFE documentary (47 minutes):

A BOLD BEGINNING- the origins of how the book and movie came about

BECOMING DIVERGENT- a behind-the-scenes look at the training that the actors went through for the Dauntless characters

THE EPIC EXPERIENCE- the production of DIVERGENT with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews

A FEARLESS FINISH- look at how they crafted the movie in post-production with the music score and using special effects to add to the world of future Chicago (and remove modern things that were caught in the frame)

 

FACTION BEFORE BLOOD (Blu-ray exclusive featurette about 14 minutes)- the actors, the author, and the director talk about the factions and what faction the actors would chose

 

Four deleted scenes that show additional development of the story feature scenes that fans of the book will recognize.

 

Elle Goulding BEATING HEART music video

The two theatrical posters and the poster gallery round out the extras on blu-ray disc one in addition to previews for other releases from Summit and Lionsgate.

 

Disc two is the movie in standard definition on DVD which all of the blu-ray extras except for the featurette and the documentary.


Disc three is a bonus DVD disc with three featurette exclusive to Target (Walmart has an exclusive bonus disc with four exclusive featurettes).  I do wish Summit didn’t split up featurettes between Target and Walmart and it is likely we probably won’t see them in one release together until they do a box set of all four films in the DIVERGENT series (probably out around 2018):

BEYOND THE INITIATION- the actors talk about their characters

FACTION FASHIONS- a look at the costume design of DIVERGENT

SETTING THE SCORE- behind the scenes of recording the music score featuring interviews with Elle Goulding, music supervisor Randall Poster, and director Neil Burger

 

Also included in this Target exclusive DIVERGENT set is the code for a digital HD ultraviolet copy of the movie to stream and download to TV, Computer, Tablet, and Smartphones in addition temporary tattoos (another Target exclusive)

 

Overall, I loved the extras, but I wish the retail exclusives would stop if it means you are forced to choice to buy from this store or that store, or don't buy these versions at all.  If Target and Walmart want something exclusive, they should have something produced for their retail exclusive instead of having Summit promise them certain extras.   Fans of the latest STAR TREK movie got mad at Paramount when they split up the featurettes between retail stores.  I don't mind extras like steel book or featurette not produce for the release to be extras with one store.


FINAL ANALYSIS: DIVERGENT holds up on a repeat viewing and the extras are great, but I wish Summit/ Lionsgate didn’t split up featurettes between Walmart and Target as exclusives (movie fans are tired of this crap).  I can't wait to see the sequel on day one and I hope they don't divide extras for the other movies as exclusives for this store or that store.

 

This review is 8-10-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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