‘Divergent’ Blu-ray Review: True to the Books and Doesn’t Disappoint

No lies, I was already pretty excited when the Divergent Blu-ray landed on my desk. I really enjoyed the book, but somehow managed to miss seeing the feature film when it came to theaters. The odds were never in my favor. (Wait, that sounds familiar…)

To catch up the few of you who have somehow missed out on the phenomenon, Divergent is based on a book of the same name, the first in a dystopian trilogy centered around Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior. In this society, all young people are called upon to choose a faction to become their new family once they’ve come of age. A test simulation tells them whether they’re best suited for Amity, Candor, Erudite, Abnegation, or Dauntless. Tris tests well for more than one faction, making her a rare (and possibly dangerous) “divergent.” She must learn to hide what she is while fighting her way through the initiation process of her new faction, and all the while, something more sinister is building within the walls of the factioned society.

The movie stays pretty true to the books, eliminating only a few scenes and downplaying a handful of characters, largely for the sake of brevity. I regret a few of the cuts, but the movie is 139 minutes as it is. I’ll survive without seeing both halves of Tris’s initial faction testing. The visuals are amazing and the acting is startlingly good for the YA genre. In addition to the nuanced performances turned in by Shailene Woodley and Theo James, it’s always a delight to see genre actors Maggie Q and Mekhi Phifer on my screen again.

The Blu-ray itself isn’t stellar, to be perfectly honest. The menus are a little clunky and I never appreciate being forced to watch trailers that will be obsolete in a handful of months. Maybe that’s a quirk of my particular player and there really is a way around that, but it wasn’t something I could easily find. That being said, I did sit down and watch my way through each and every one of the “Bringing Divergent to Life” behind-the-scenes segments. You guys, I have never so badly wanted to attend a boot camp or take a 60’ fall in my life. The segments went pretty far into the work behind all of the fight choreography, and it looks absolutely amazing (and a fair amount of fun, besides).

Also in the special features are “Faction Before Blood” – an explanation of Divergent’s faction system, deleted scenes, the music video for “Bleeding Heart,” audio commentaries, and the marketing gallery full of theatrical trailers and the movie poster itself.

All in all, Divergent is a hell of a fun watch all by itself, and the Blu-ray is worth the purchase if only to learn more about the mad-awesome fighting style that the choreographers developed specifically for the film.

Grade: B+

Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment


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