Divergent review

Fair or not, it’s impossible not to measure Divergent against The Hunger Games. This is true for obvious reasons, in that they’re both dystopian YA adaptations featuring strong heroines, or that Divergent is actively and openly gunning to be the next Hunger Games. Unfortunately, it’s also true because Divergent, as directed by Neil Burger, never makes enough of a mark to rise above that easy comparison.

It’s not that Divergent is terrible. The movie serves up a couple of nice moments and some very appealing performances. But where the Hunger Games offered a rich, colorful universe, Divergent offers us a half-competed sketch. Where The Hunger Games felt bracingly different from its own predecessors, Twilight and Harry Potter, Divergent feels like well-meaning knock-off of all three.

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Divergent

Lionsgate is feeling so optimistic about Divergent becoming the next big thing that they’re hitting the ground running with the sequel, Insurgent. Akiva Goldsman is working on the script as we speak, and now the production company confirms that shooting is scheduled to begin this spring.

But before we get there, they still have to open the first movie. The studio has just released a new full-length trailer for the original Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley as a brave young heroine in dystopian Chicago. Watch it after the jump.

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Divergent

2011′s The Descendants brought widespread acclaim to Shailene Woodley, and this year’s The Spectacular Now earned her still more compliments. But it’s next year’s Divergent that really has the potential to make her a household name a la Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart, or Daniel Radcliffe.

Based on the dystopian YA novel (boy, am I getting tired of typing that phrase) by Veronica Roth, Divergent is set in a futuristic Chicago in which all citizens are aligned with one of five factions depending on their personalities. Upon coming of age, Tris (Woodley) learns that she is Divergent, meaning she won’t truly fit into any of those categories. Needless to say, this does not sit well in a society built on tidy divisions. Hit the jump to watch the latest trailer.

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Divergent

It’s all well and good for studios to try and make the next Hunger Games. But as the disappointing box office tally for this weekend’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones reminds us, actually pulling off such a feat is easier said than done. For every Hunger Games — or Harry Potter or Twilight — there are several more The Golden Compasses, Eragons, and Beautiful Creatures-es.

One of the next films to try and succeed The Hunger Games will be Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley (who’s as close a thing to “the next Jennifer Lawrence” as we have) as a young woman living in dystopian Chicago. The first full-length trailer premiered at the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday, and you can watch it after the jump.

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Divergent

It’s probably not entirely fair to keep comparing Divergent to The Hunger Games. But given that they’re both female-led dystopian YA action franchises, and given that Divergent is very obviously aiming to be the successor to the Hunger Games throne, it’s pretty hard not to make the comparison.

Not that they’re exactly the same. Directed by Neil Burger and based on the book by Veronica Roth, Divergent takes place in a futuristic Chicago. Therein, each citizen, upon reaching adulthood, must ally him- or herself with one of five factions. Shailene Woodley leads the cast as Tris, who leaves behind Abnegation, where she was raised, to become one of the thrill-seeking Dauntless.

Hopefully the differences between the two series will become clearer as we see more from the film. Like this first bit of footage, in the form of a very brief teaser. Check out the video after the jump.

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Divergent

Of the many, many YA properties vying to become the next Hunger Games, Divergent seems to have better odds than most. For one thing, the books by Veronica Roth are already a smash hit; for another, the dystopian premise sets up plenty of opportunities for white-knuckle action. Toss in a strong young cast led by Shailene Woodley, and it’s easy to see how Divergent could become the next big thing. Literally, even — the studio announced today that the film will be shown in IMAX when it opens next spring.

During today’s panel at Comic-Con, Summit showcased the first footage from the sci-fi thriller, featuring several of the best loved scenes from the books. Additionally, Roth was on hand to hint at what she has in store for the third book, Allegiant, due out this fall. Hit the jump for all the details. Read More »

‘Underworld: Awakening’ Trailer

Yep, it’s another one. Three years after the last installment, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, the vampire/werewolf film series not penned by Stephenie Meyer is back for a fourth round with the generically titled Underworld: Awakening. After sitting out most of the last entry, Kate Beckinsale has poured herself back into her skintight leather bodysuit to reprise her role as sexy vampire warrior Selene.

Upon emerging from a lengthy imprisonment in a coma-like state, Selene learns that 1) she has a teenage vampire/Lycan hybrid daughter named Eve (played by India Eisley) — the only one of her kind; and 2) vampires and Lycans are now being hunted by humans. Cue explosions, ass-kicking, many shades of blue, and all the other things we’ve come to expect from the Underworld franchise. Watch the new theatrical trailer after the jump.

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