Movie Review: Divergent

Posted March 21, 2014 in
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Summit Entertainment
In Theaters: 03.21

Based on yet another young adult book series, Veronica Roth’s story follows Tris (Shailene Woodley), a young girl living in a futuristic society in despair after a cataclysmic war has crippled the United States. In order to maintain order, everyone must join a faction and play out the rest of their lives in that role. The five factions are Abnegation (The Selfless), Erudite (The Intelligent), Amity (The Peaceful), Candor (The Honest) and Dauntless (The Brave). A test is given to determine your faction, but anyone can ultimately choose his or her own destiny. After taking her test and receiving inconclusive results, Tris discovers she’s a divergent, which means she cannot be controlled and poses a threat to the government. While trying to conceal her secret and learning to become a courageous member of the Dauntless, Tris unearths her true nature and purpose in life as the world around crumbles into desolation. First off, it’s great that Woodley is known as “the girl who can cry underwater” from her role in The Descendants, because for some inexplicable reason, she is always crying in this tale. Another issue arises with most films to launch a saga—there is far too much character introduction and setup rather than anything actually happening (there are far too many dry spells). The worst element is that practically everything about Roth’s storyline feels like a slightly altered version of something that’s already been written. The five factions might as well be the houses in the Harry Potter universe. I swear Tris’ faction was going to be declared, “Hufflepuff!” Kate Winslet’s character reminds me so much of Donald Sutherland’s in The Hunger Games it’s unnerving. Finally, the whole training to become warriors with sparing and mock battles is too close for comfort with Ender’s Game. So, with all of these similarities, I am now referring to this film as “Harry Potter and Ender’s Hunger Game.”