Valdosta Daily Times


March 29, 2014

Sci-fi flick ‘Divergent’ makes little difference


-- — Movie Review: Josh Wheaton (Harper) is a young college student. His life changes when Professor Radisson (Sorbo), Wheaton’s philosophy professor, declares that God is dead. The professor’s actions disturb and test Wheaton’s faith. Even more, Radisson has the students write what he declares and sign it. Wheaton challenges Radisson. The two debate in front of the class with students serving as the jury. Although the debate is one-sided in favor of Wheaton via writers of this screenplay, the film manages to offer its message to the faithful.

This film has a fascinating initiation, but it fails to keep its focus. It tries to make each character relevant when the classroom debate is intriguing. The film should have kept its focus on the in-classroom debate and bypassed other moments that are lesser cinema. Several scenes are unnecessary.

Willie and Korie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame appear, but their scenes mean nothing to the film. Apparently, they are present to make a statement about defending their faith as displayed on their television show. That is all good, but their showing adds nothing to the great story presented.

Other characters are also unnecessary. Several story arcs and characters exist that are unrelated or unneeded to progress the core of this story. Again, the film’s best moments are the in-classroom moments, where producers had a chance to really explore the Bible with viewers and promote its powerful message more. Instead, the film preaches to the choir with unneeded scenes and characters. For example, songs near the end take up too much time. When an important moment happens, the film brushes over it quickly and unconvincingly to return to a musical concert.

That written, the movie is entertaining. It just tries to be too much at once. A straightforward story would suffice. Cronk (“Jerusalem Countdown,” 2011) and writers are too busy with producing their message that they forget to make a sound screenplay. All is engaging but leaves one wishing more was less in a straightforward screenplay.     

Grade: C+ (Good but it forgets to be sufficient unto the day)

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