The Morning After: Mar. 31, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Divergent


About the only people who will be compelled to see this film are fans of the book. As interesting a concept Divergent, the execution is as rough as the novel without some of the more interesting narrative developments.

The story surrounds a futuristic society where humans are shoehorned into specific factions where they embody potent ideals that keep society from crumbling. Selflessness, intelligence, honesty, fearlessness and love are potent motivators, but if you stand out from the rest, you’re a danger to society. Shailene Woodley proves ultimately capable of carrying a film, but the discovery here is Theo James who matches Woodley with a passionate intensity that put him in a key position to shift from teen-centric pictures to become a star of the magnitude of Chris Evans or Chris Hemsworth.

The novel suffers from an irritating, third act shift that’s so quick, dramatic and tonally inconsistent that it makes the entire last part feel like a simulation or a dream. The same turn in the film is just as jolting and really needed to be subtly woven into the film instead of forced to occur at just the right time. The runtime is much longer than expected. I can’t imagine someone who hasn’t read the book being able to sit through the entirety of the film without wondering when it will end. It’s possible the second and third films (and books) will be a bit more interesting than the first. I’ll be there to see how it turns out, but this opening doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope even if it’s largely faithful to the novel.

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