I’m not exactly sure what compelled me to want to give Divergent a watch, but despite it being this year’s feature young adult film, but I was surprisingly satisfied when all was said and done. The movie stars Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four in the leads, and seemed like it would only be this year’s Hunger Games that features the trendiest young adult actors, a standard plot, and of course, a romance. Hell, I couldn’t even figure out what the plot was until I watched the movie; I really just didn’t know what to expect out of Divergent, but the film actually turned out to be pretty decent. While, like any film, Divergent had its negatives, I loved its fast paced nature that didn’t seem to slow down until the end, and accomplished everything that the Hunger Games series is doing in only one movie opposed to three.
In this futuristic world each citizen is divided up into one of five factions based on their personality. These factions are designated to different duties similar to the districts of Panem in the Hunger Games, but this is how society runs, they think this is a successful long-term strategy… People can also become factionless, which means they weren’t good enough to make it in their faction and are now cast out as homeless. You can’t return to your family and join your previous faction, you’re just done, it’s pretty rough.
The main character, Tris, is in the Abnegation (the selfless) faction with her family. Abnegation focus on helping others and draw no attention to themselves – they just try to be the neutral working class. Caleb, Tris’s brother, decides to change to the Erudite faction who are the intelligent and become the scientists and teachers. Tris is what they call Divergent, which means she is everything – she has the ability to recognize she is more than a drone in the system. No surprise, the society is trained to not like Divergents because they don’t fit in when really they pose the only threat to change how things are run. Tris decides to join the Dauntless faction who are the brave adrenaline junkies. These people are the fighters and rebels who become the policing force. These are the three factions featured in the film; there are two more (Amity and Candor) that come into the story after the first book/movie. I really like that they don’t immediately include all five of the factions, I thought it was a smart decision to keep some mystery set up for the future.
Dauntless was a fun faction to be introduced to because they are the most fun. Tris definitely seems out of her element and is going to have her work cut out for her with training for combat, especially coming from the faction that is completely selfless. The stakes get even higher when the initiates discover that this year only the top 10 recruits will make it into Dauntless and everyone else will be left cast out factionless. Tris eventually gets some training from the typical teen movie hunk pretty boy called Four – but – the movie actually does a fantastic job of positioning the romance as a very minor aspect of the plot while still having it develop. It’s not annoying like the other young adult movies, and that was good enough for me.
By spending the duration of the film in the Dauntless setting, viewers are really able to develop a sense for the world and the way things have become in this semi-dystopian future. I really loved seeing this faction and how the entire process works, and although I definitely want to see the others in depth as well, the glimpses given in this movie were a good enough start. I thought that the plot’s primary conflict was actually established pretty late into the movie, which surprised me a little but felt fitting for the pace of the film.
Divergent was fast paced and kept me interested in yet another take on a dystopian future in the young adult genre (which I despise). I thought the movie was more interesting than the Hunger Games and created a [more] unique world compared to the other hits in the genre that focused more on delivering a rich story with an interesting plot and setting. My biggest question at the end of Divergent was, “what’s going to come next?” – I know that it’s a trilogy and assume that, because of how much money these teen angst movies pull in, it will probably get a sequel. I’m actually curious about where the plot will go. I’m considering checking out the books but will have to do some research on if they are good or not, but, in the end, I definitely enjoyed Divergent. It even feels weird typing that out. While it wasn’t as well done in comparison to the Hunger Games; Divergent definitely was something worth checking out down the road when it becomes available digitally.
At least now I have some fresh conversation points when I next see my girlfriend’s younger sister.
What did everyone think of Divergent? Let me know why you did or didn’t like it. Did you read the books? How did the film compare and how did you like the casting choices? – Should I read them?