Divergent appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer impressed.
Overall definition worked well. If any softness materialized, it escaped me, as I found an image with tight, accurate delineation. I saw no shimmering or jagged edges, and the image lacked edge haloes or print flaws.
Like many modern action flicks, Divergent opted for a fairly teal palette; it also leaned toward an amber tone at times. Blacks were deep and dark, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. Across the board, the movie looked terrific.
I also felt consistently pleased with the excellent DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Divergent. With an emphasis on action, the soundscape used all the channels on a frequent basis. The various speakers provided lots of information that filled out the movie and blended together in a seamless manner. This formed a dynamic soundscape with a lot to offer.
In addition, audio quality seemed strong. Music was bold and full, and even with a lot of looped lines, dialogue remained crisp and natural. Effects appeared lively and vivid, with clear highs and deep lows. I felt pleased with this impressive soundtrack.
The Blu-ray comes with a nice array of extras, and these begin with two separate audio commentaries. For the first, we get a running, screen-specific chat from director Neil Burger. He discusses visual and costume design, sets and locations, story/character areas, cast and performances, effects, stunts and action, and related topics.
For the most part, Burger gives us a good look at the film. On the negative side, he tends to simply narrate the movie a little too much of the time, particularly during its second half. Nonetheless, Burger usually delivers a reasonably well-rounded take on the flick and turns this into a generally positive chat.
With the second commentary, we hear from producers Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick. They offer a running, screen-specific look at story/character domains, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and a mix of other subjects.
While not devoid of informational value, the producer commentary sags too much of the time. We get a lot of dead air and remarks that just don’t tell us a whole lot. The occasional worthwhile nugget appears but this usually becomes a flat, boring track.
Under Bringing Divergent to Life, we locate a 47-minute, 17-second documentary. It includes notes from Wick, Fisher, Burger, author Veronica Roth, stunt coordinator Garrett Warren, production designer Andy Nicholson, unit production manager John J. Kelly, fight coordinator JJ Perry, key assistant location manager Adam Boor, stunt double Alicia Vela-Bailey, set decorator Anne Kuljian, senior visual effects supervisor Jim Berney, senior visual effects producer Greg Baxter, and actors Shaillene Woodley, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Kate Winslet, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Miles Teller, Christian Madsen, Amy Newbold, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Mekhi Phifer and Ansel Elgort. The show covers story/character/adaptation areas, cast, training and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, various effects and music.
Perhaps “Life” strikes me as a disappointment because I watched it right after I screened the awesome documentary for Amazing Spider-Man 2 - or maybe it’s just a mediocre show. “Life” covers all the appropriate topics, and it does so in a reasonably brisk manner. However, it simply feels superficial, as it comes with a breathless tone that conveys more of a sense of hype than I’d like. In the end, it’s a moderately informative show but not as deep as it should be given its running time.
A featurette called Faction Before Blood runs 14 minutes, 51 seconds and offers info from Woodley, Roth, James, Wick, Newbold, Elgort, Judd, Burger, Kravitz, Teller, Winslet, Phifer, Courtney, Fisher, Lloyd-Hughes, and actor Tony Goldwyn. “Blood” looks at the story’s various factions and aspects of their depiction in the movie. A few minor insights emerge but this feels like another insubstantial piece, as it doesn’t tell us much we don’t already know from the film.
Four Deleted Scenes go for a total of four minutes, 27 seconds. In these, we mainly get a little more from secondary characters; nothing substantial emerges in those domains. We also see a bit more of Tris’s training as well as her willingness to question the attitudes of the Dauntless folks. The scenes lack much merit.
Next comes a Music Video for “Beating Heart” by Ellie Goulding. It uses the standard formula that mixes movie clips with lip-synch footage. It integrates the two better than usual but remains a lackluster video.
A Poster Gallery presents 11 frames. These give us a decent look at some of the movie’s advertising.
The disc opens with ads for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars and Step Up: All In. We also find two trailers for Divergent.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Divergent. It includes all the extras except for “Bringing” and “Blood”.
On the surface, Divergent looks like a rip-off of other popular franchises – and it looks like that beneath the surface as well. With too much exposition and too little action, the movie plods and lacks much entertainment value. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio along with some erratic but usually informative bonus materials. I feel pleased with this release but the film itself does little for me.