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Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Divergent's 4K UHD offers strong audio with mixed visuals; entertaining yet flawed.

    Divergent Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Divergent's 4K UHD release shows slight detail improvement with HDR, but variable blacks and a subdued palette limit its upgrade value over Blu-ray.

  • Audio
  • The 4K UHD and Ultra HD Blu-ray releases of Divergent amplify its dynamic audio, with the DTS:X and Dolby Atmos tracks enhancing immersion through precise sound panning, clarity, and depth.

  • Extra
  • The 4K UHD disc lacks extras, but its 1080p counterpart includes detailed supplements like audio commentaries, a making-of feature, group overviews, a music video, deleted scenes, a gallery, and trailers, albeit with mixed reception.

  • Movie
  • Divergent" series underwhelms compared to its YA dystopian peers, offering a visually appealing yet logically flawed tale of rebellion and identity within a divided society.

    Video: 67

    The "Divergent" 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation brings a mixed bag to fans of the franchise, offering both subtle enhancements and noticeable limitations from its source material. Digitally captured at 2.8K and mastered from a 2K digital intermediate, the transition to 4K UHD via an HEVC / H.265 encoded 2160p transfer in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio delivers a slight improvement in detail levels over its Blu-ray counterpart. This is evident in the enhanced definition of textures, wardrobe intricacies, and the urban decay surrounding the characters. However, these upgrades don't dramatically alter the viewing experience, with much of the presented world appearing somewhat muted due to the film's original stylistic choices and restrained color grading not fully exploiting the HDR's potential for richer contrasts and vibrant tonalities.

    The addition of HDR does indeed introduce better contrast and nuanced color gradations, particularly noticeable in darker scenes and in displaying the film's deliberate drab palette more effectively. Despite this, the overall effect is somewhat undermined by variable black levels that don't consistently achieve the desired depth, coupled with a cinematic choice that leans heavily on a teal-orange color scheme, resulting in a presentation that often feels underwhelming in its visual impact. Moreover, the slight uptick in resolution and detail does not compensate for moments of judder observed in lateral panning shots, nor does it fully bring out the expected pop of HDR-enhanced visuals, leaving a somewhat lackluster impression.

    As for the portrayal of colors, they largely reflect the intended cinematographic mood, which somewhat limits the expressive power of the wider color gamut available in 4K UHD format. While certain shades and nuances are presented with accuracy—contributing to a few visually appealing sequences—the overall palette remains subdued, rendering the sky, foliage, and even some character complexions in a way that lacks vibrancy. Brightness levels fluctuate, leading to inconsistent shadow detail and making much of the film's setting appear flat rather than dynamically lit. In summation, while the 4K UHD edition of "Divergent" demonstrates minor improvements in picture quality, viewers might find the enhancements too subtle to fully justify the upgrade from the standard Blu-ray, especially given the film’s inherently limited use of its visual palette and detail.

    Audio: 82

    The audio presentation of "Divergent" on its 4K UHD release showcases a substantial upgrade over the original Blu-ray's already impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, now boasting an enveloping DTS:X mix that elevates the auditory experience to new heights. This enhancement in audio quality is evident from the outset, with a noticeable increase in sound positioning and panning that creates an immersive soundscape, starting from the swirling sounds accompanying the production logos. The film's score benefits from a discrete separation of instruments across channels, providing a richer auditory layering, while narration remains centrally anchored and clear. Key scenes, such as the mirror hallucination and the intense train sequence, are augmented with dynamic effects and a robust low-frequency extension (LFE) that adds depth and realism to the on-screen action.

    Transitioning to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack included in the Ultra HD Blu-ray edition, this object-based codec further refines the audio experience with its remarkable overhead sound implementation and enhanced channel separation. The front soundstage delivers a broad and detailed auditory field where background activities shine with clarity and distinction, without any distortion across the dynamic range. Dialogues are precisely centered, ensuring vocal clarity amidst the bustling soundscape. The Atmos track makes clever use of the height channels, adding a tangible sense of verticality to the audio mix that complements both action-heavy sequences and subtler moments with atmospheric effects like wind and echoing voices. Additionally, the soundtrack by Junkie XL gains an expansive presence, with music tracks extending into the lateral and vertical spaces for an immersive listening experience.

    The improvements brought by both the DTS:X and Dolby Atmos tracks significantly enhance the film's auditory dimension, creating a more engaging and lifelike experience for the viewer. Background sounds and music are given new life, enveloping the audience in a half-dome of sound that perfectly complements the visual spectacle. The use of overhead channels not only enriches action scenes with a three-dimensional feel but also adds a layer of depth to quieter moments, making "Divergent's" latest audio presentation both technically impressive and highly immersive. This leap in audio quality ensures that both quiet dialogues and explosive action sequences are rendered with impeccable detail, positioning it as a standout feature of the Ultra HD Blu-ray edition.

    Extra: 75

    The "Divergent" Blu-ray extras provide a mixed bag of content that caters to fans interested in diving deeper into the film's creation and the broader world it inhabits. While the 4K UHD disc disappointingly lacks any supplemental material, the included 1080p Blu-ray compensates with a variety of extras. The audio commentaries offer contrasting experiences; director Neil Burger's track is notably lackluster, offering little in the way of engaging insight, whereas the producers' commentary with Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick provides a somewhat more engaging look at the film's production and casting decisions. The highlight among the supplemental materials is "Bringing Divergent to Life", an extensive behind-the-scenes exploration divided into four parts, providing significant insight into the film's development. However, "Faction Before Blood" falls short, delivering only a cursory glance at the factions. Additional content such as a music video by Ellie Goulding, deleted scenes, a still gallery, and trailers round out the package, ensuring there's a little something for every fan.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentaries: Two tracks featuring director Neil Burger, and producers Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick discussing various aspects of the film's production.

    Bringing Divergent to Life: A four-part documentary delving into the making of "Divergent", including cast & crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.

    Faction Before Blood: Overviews the movie's factions, their histories, and functions.

    Music Video: Ellie Goulding's "Beating Heart".

    Deleted Scenes: Additional scenes not included in the theatrical release.

    Still Gallery: A collection of images related to "Divergent".

    Trailers: Promotional trailers for the movie.

    Movie: 55

    In the increasingly crowded space of dystopian young adult adaptations, "Divergent" emerges as neither a front-runner like "The Hunger Games" nor a dark horse akin to "The Maze Runner," but instead settles somewhere in the cinematic hinterland,reflecting a possibly waning interest in the genre. Despite this, Lionsgate boldly steps forth with the first three films of the series in 4K UHD, projecting a confidence in their product's visual and thematic appeal. The adaptation of Veronica Roth's trilogy attempts to carve out its niche within this saturated market by plunging viewers into a post-apocalyptic Chicago, where society is split into five distinct factions. This structural ambition, however, is frequently undercut by a narrative rife with internal inconsistencies and a perplexing disdain for its own lore.

    The visual splendor of "Divergent" is undeniable, attempting to mask its thematic and narrative shortcomings behind the grand imagery of a fractured society hidden within and beyond the daunting walls of a desolate Chicago. However, the film's exploration of autonomy, free will, and societal roles is muddled at best, lost amidst a flurry of contradictions and superficial character motivations. Protagonist Beatrice Prior, portrayed with earnestness by Shailene Woodley, is trapped in a script that demands her to be extraordinarily perceptive yet paradoxically naïve to the glaring flaws of her world. Her journey through the faction system, ostensibly designed to critique societal pigeonholing and celebrate divergence, instead tumbles into incoherence, marred by plot holes and a lackluster opposition led by a forgettable antagonist.

    Technical merits aside, including a high-fidelity 4K presentation that Lionsgate has furnished this release with, "Divergent" stumbles in its bid to resonate on the level of its YA counterparts. Its ambitions are clear: to stand as a testament to individuality and resistance against monolithic structures. Nonetheless, these themes are awkwardly handled and ultimately overshadowed by derivative narratives and uninspired direction. The film inadvertently champions the very clichés it seeks to undermine, culminating in a viewing experience that feels at once visually compelling and narratively vapid.

    Total: 53

    The Blu-ray release of "Divergent" in Ultra HD presents an interesting case study for fans of the franchise and cinema technology enthusiasts alike. Despite its underwhelming narrative facets, such as an occasionally illogical plot and a story that fails to fully capitalize on its actors' talents, including a ‘wasted’ Shailene Woodley and an ‘underused’ Ashley Judd, the first film in the Divergent series manages to hold its ground through sheer entertainment value and a strong conceptual footing. The 4K UHD version enhances this experience, particularly with its audiovisual improvements, despite some reservations regarding its visual presentation. The video quality, while strong, is sometimes hampered by the film’s heavily stylized photography, which doesn’t always translate well into the Ultra HD format. However, the DTS:X and Dolby Atmos audio presentations are where this release truly shines, offering an immersive experience that can be considered demo-worthy for any home theater setup.

    Technical aspects aside, the 4K release of "Divergent" doesn’t necessarily mandate a double dip for owners of the previous Blu-ray version, unless they are die-hard fans or 4K enthusiasts eager to witness this specific cinematic world in the highest available quality. The addition of previously released supplements does little to add value for those already familiar with the franchise's home releases. Nonetheless, for new adopters diving into 4K, this release presents a pleasurable viewing experience, primarily due to its auditory enhancements, which significantly elevate the overall impact of the movie.

    In conclusion, while "Divergent" may not stand out as a paragon of dystopian cinema, its 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation offers enough to appeal to both franchise faithfuls and audiovisual purists. The stellar audio quality in particular provides a compelling reason to experience the movie in this format, notwithstanding the film’s narrative and thematic shortcomings. It serves as an engaging watch for those willing to overlook its derivative elements and focus on the immersive world-building and action sequences enhanced by superior sound design.