Divergent

Fans of the Divergent film series took a hit when Lionsgate announced the fourth film, Ascendant, would not be coming to theaters, but instead be released on television as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off television series. Now it’s time to take another hit with the announcement from Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars, 9 Kisses, and Snowden) that she wouldn’t be involved in the spin-off. That’s right, the woman who headlined the first three films will not be taking part in the television show based off the fourth film and that’s not something fans are going to be happy to hear.

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The Divergent Series was supposed to be the next Twilight, the next Hunger Games, a top-tier box office series that packs in the young people with tales of a fearless heroine trying to undermine a terrible dystopia and build a brighter future. The real story though was more of a horror, an Icarus-like tale about the dangers of flying too close to the sun because with the release of Allegiant this spring, it was clear Divergent had flown too close to the sun. Now Lionsgate is looking to cut its losses by taking Divergent to TV, but they shouldn’t expect star Shailene Woodley to help with the transition.  (more…)

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Yesterday, rumors started rumbling that The Divergent Series would be given an unceremonious end with a TV movie, and the possibility of a spin-off TV series. As of this moment, Lionsgate has said nothing official about it, so the matter is more in the category of possibility than probability, but still it’s one of those rumors that’s almost too unbelievable to be false. You’ve got to wonder though, how much do the people involved, particularly the franchise’s star, know about this possibility? Has she been told? Might she consider appearing on the Divergent TV movie? In the case of Shailene Woodley, the answer is a definitive, “What you talkin’ about, Willis?” (more…)

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Of all the attempts to duplicate the YA fiction-to-film success of Twilight and The Hunger Games, the Divergent series has been closest to catching that lightening in a bottle. That’s not a particularly competitive contest, but the combined $280 million domestic box office take of Divergent and its sequel Insurgent, is nothing to sneeze at, and the films do feature a tremendous cast of young talent including Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller Ansel Elgort, and Jai Courtney (maybe not Jai Courtney). So what could wrong? How about losing the director the series finale mere weeks before the film is expected to go into production in order to meet its etched in stone release date? (more…)

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I haven’t read the Divergent books, which is a rare position for me to be in. I had read all the Harry Potters, all the Twilights and all The Hunger Games before seeing the movies, but I don’t think I made it though 20 pages of Divergent before wanting to move on to something else. That’s not a commentary on Vanessa Roth‘s prose, but a sign that Divergent is a bridge too far. This is a road we’ve been down, a story that’s been retold one too many times, and even though the details are different, they all basically add up the same whole: chosen one rebels against Draconian system and leads friends and comrades to a better future free of evil and oppression. (more…)

Divergent

What evil hath Twilight, The Hunger Games and Harry Potter wrought?

As someone who sat through Divergent, the first entry in Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA trilogy which finds the post-apocalyptic citizens of Chicago in a sans Thesaurus existence, I honestly can’t imagine how there could be enough story in this series for three films, let alone enough to allow for the splitting of the final book into two separate motion pictures (which I’m sure will run over two hours apiece). But the YA adaptation business model now demands that all ultimate entries be divided into two installments so that they may steal all of the allowance your thirteen-year-old daughter has been bequeathed. No word on whether or not Satan’s minions will be waiting outside the door of each theater house, ready to take their blood as well (Lucifer, from what I hear, is only actually going to show up to the Hollywood premiere).

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Shaiene Woodley‘s got it made in the shade with a starring role in the big new franchise based on a popular best-selling book series. Indeed, Divergent has made $100 million so far at the domestic box office and seems primed to carry on to complete the trilogy for all those nervous completists out there. Sadly though for Spider-Man completists, that means that Woodley is even more unlikely to come back for any future Amazing Spider-Man films. (more…)

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Some time ago, I applied for a management position at Staples (I was broke, unemployed and needed to pay rent — sue me). Following my interview, I was asked to take what was known as a “personality test”. Computer generated, the assessment was mostly comprised of statements like “I often cry in public” and asked me to answer either True or False. I never got a call back for that job, which irked me to no end. My resume was loaded with experience, my interview had gone great and I had even worn my best To Boot NYs, so all that was left to disqualify me was that stupid box, which apparently decided through some kind of complex algorithm that I did not contain multitudes. The post-apocalyptic society in Divergent operates on the same basic principal, placing each of its members into one of five shoddily defined groups using a combination of that same character exam and the Project MKUltra tests conducted by the CIA in the late 50s and 60s. It’s a central conceit so lunkheaded, I honestly am struggling with fathoming it being based on a popular, pre-existing Young Adult text.

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Well, I think we’re at the point now where for the sake of a lot of producers we hope that Divergent doesn’t totally bomb. The movie, which is based on the worldwide best-seller by Veronica Roth , doesn’t come out for another month, but plans for the sequel are well underway, and now Robert Schwentke has been hired to helm it. Schwentke will take over from Neil Burger on Insurgent, the second of three films which is due in theaters in March 2015. (more…)

VIDEO: Trailer for ‘Divergent’ Drops

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So, the trailer for Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, has hit the web, and it’s… meh. Obviously looking to capitalize on the futuristic dystopian theme that’s become so popular in The Hunger Games, Divergent seems a bit too similar, and even more farfetched. (more…)