Blockbuster Divergent arrives on DVD.
By Peter Covino
Divergent is back.
If you missed this spring blockbuster that amassed more than $250 million in its theatrical release worldwide, you can now take all the action and adventure home with you on DVD and Blu-ray.
Divergent (Lionsgate/Summit) is similar in feel to The Hunger Games, another teen novel trilogy, that of course, also hit in big at the theater box office.
Like The Hunger Games, Divergent is science fiction with a strong, young female lead.
Here it is 16-year-old Beatrice Prior (played by Shailene Woodley), who along with her brother, has come of age and must take part in the choosing ceremony. The only way to keep the peace in this modern age society (the setting is a Chicago of the near future) is the five factions. Everyone belongs to one of the factions (or they are factionless and in effect, homeless). Just to keep things straight, or confuse them further, the factions are Abnegation (the selfless); Amity (the peaceful); Candor (the honest); Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent).
Everyone is born into the same faction as their parents, but on choosing day, that choice is helped by an aptitude test. Beatrice is an Abnegation, the faction that rules the government, but her test shows something disturbing: Beatrice is a Divergent, she has attributions for several factions, and that, apparently, is a very bad thing because it promotes distrust.
To further complicate things, Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless faction, while her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) joins Erudite, disappointing their parents (played by Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn).
For much of the film, Beatrice (now Tris, her Dauntless name) must undergo a series of tests, some of them harrowing, to prove she has what it takes to be a part of Dauntless.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Divergent is 140 minutes long, so there is plenty of time for Tris to undergo training, as well as have ample time for the inevitable climax when there is trouble amongst the factions.
Despite the length, Divergent moves along at a nice pace, and there is enough action to make you forget this is a teen sci-fi film. Chicago also makes a nice change-of-pace for a setting.
The film also stars Kate Winslet as an adult that you know just cannot be trusted from her first scene and Theo James as Four, the Dauntless initiate instructor, who becomes Tris’ protector.
The Blu-ray combo is loaded with features, including a digital copy, including the documentary Bringing Divergent to Life, an in-depth look at the making of the film, plus the featurette Faction Before Blood, detailing the film’s future world.
Other bonuses on both the DVD and Blu ray editions are deleted scenes, audio commentary with director Neil Burger and audio commentary with producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher.
Fans can also check out the free to download app Lionsgate Divergent iPad (sorry, no android apparently and inexplicably) with more than 150 minutes of bonus features for those who want to get in deeper into the Divergent world. If you are an Xfinity subscriber and buy the movie via Xfinity On Demand, there is an additional 250 minutes of bonus content.
And the Insurgent app will continue to offer first-looks and more information on the next installment in the series, Insurgent, due out in theaters, March 20, 2015.
You can have a mini Alan Ladd film festival right at home with some “new” releases from the Warner Archive Collection. Warner has four new titles from the actor most remembered for Shane, but that isn’t one of this week’s titles.
Drum Beat (1954) finds Ladd in prime action mode and in widescreen as well as he plays an Indian fighter, who is all about peaceful settlements but comes across a renegade Medoc named Captain Jack (who just happens to be Charles Bronson in his screen debut). There has to be a “girl” in every Western and Ladd has a childhood sweetheart here as well.
The widescreen seems even wider in Guns of the Timberland (1960) in the film adaptation of Louis L’amour’s tale. Ladd plays Jim Hadley, who is set on clearing out all that lumber, but the ranchers of Deep Well don’t like the idea. No, not at all. And they are led by unlikely rancher Jeanne Crain, who knows how to get both the ranchers and loggers riled.
You can check out both titles, and some other new Alan Ladd releases on DVD at warnerachive.com. All Warner collection titles are online order only.
Aimed at the teen set, particularly girls, is the latest installment from the successfull Monster High series is the new double feature, Monster High: Clawsome Double Feature.
The “ghoulfriends” are back for another scare-mester at Monster High.
The popular of a new generation at school really isn’t all that much different than Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead, even if they are monsters.
They have the same problems most teens do, even if they are monsters.
The combo pack is a good buy for fans, offering up both Blu-ray and DVD copies as well as an Ultraviolet version for viewing on phones and tablets, something that will come in handy when the kids are in the back seat on a long trip.
Monsters High: Clawsome Double Feature is a Universal Studios Home Entertainment release.