Review: Divergent

Divergent Hoo boy. Another Young Adult Novel made into a movie where the cornball teeny romance takes the lead over a super flimsy story. Here we go again…wait. What’s that? That’s not actually how the film plays out regardless of what the trailers look like? OH! Well what do you know, this movie might actually be worth your time! That’s right, I was pleasantly surprised as I watched the movie and found a story that was actually interesting, a world that made me want to know more about it and a love interest that played out like any blockbuster movie romance only the female was the lead character. This was a well rounded film with firmly established positive themes and a real story to tell. Let me give you the basics.

In a dystopian future, Chicago seemingly after some great war that is only vaguely eluded to we have a society that is based entirely on factions. Their motto is “Faction Before Blood”. The factions are:

Abdegnation (The Selfless): These people care only for others. They work community service and are in charge of the government.

Erudite (The Intelligent): These are the scientists.

Dauntless (The Brave): These are the soldiers that protect the city from a threat beyond the outer fences. A threat we don’t get to see…in this film.

Amity (The Peaceful): These are the peace loving farmers.

Candor (The Honest): They never lie and always speak what is on their minds. They control the justice system.

There comes a time in each child’s life where they will be tested to see which faction they will live in for the rest of their lives. The test tells you what suits you best but in the end you can choose for yourself. This is where we find our hero, Triss. She is Abdegnation. She and her brother must go to be tested and choose a faction. If they choose another faction they will never see their family again because rules are rules. Triss’ test goes a bit nutty as she manages to think outside of the box which never happens unless you are what they call “Divergent”. Your brain doesn’t align to one of the factions. This is a bad thing as the system will be threatened by these people that are different. The Erudite leader seems to be the one that is hunting Divergents. Thankfully Triss’ tester feels for her and lets her go.

From here we see Triss choose her faction. I won’t spoil it but it’s pretty obvious who she chooses. From here and for the first two acts we see Triss finding herself, a theme present in any YA novel. We also get introduced to this world she lives in. A world that is a rather solid base for a great sci-fi dystopian story. I expected CW style cheesy garbage and I got a legit sci-fi story instead. I was VERY happy…until I realized the first two acts are rather dry. Full of information and we see how this world works but it’s not exactly action packed either. Thankfully the third act made up for it all.

Before we get there though we get to watch Triss show her inner and eventual outer strength. We get to see a slowly blooming romance that at no point felt rushed nor was she beholden to it. She cares for this guy but he is not her reason for living. He is not her inspiration or motivation. I honestly believe she is a better role model than Katniss… and I LOVE me some J-Law! However Triss, in spite of her small frame and very young age, proves to be a very competent person ready and willing to do what needs to be done. It was simply great to see.

The third act was set up perfectly and we see a huge pay off for everything we’ve been shown thus far. Everything plays out exactly as it should. That’s not to say it’s predictable so much as to say it is written rather well.

Overall this movie won’t escape comparisons to the Hunger Games. I’d say it’s better than the first HG film but not as awesome as the second. The dry first and second acts are the only real drawbacks of this movie. I saw it with a fan of the books and she agreed and said that they also don’t flesh out the characters as much but that’s to be expected of a book adaptation. I say don’t rush but certainly give this a shot if you have the time. I for one am looking forward to the next film as I want to know what is out there beyond that fence…

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