The Secret Life of a Dauntless Teenager
by Lucia Rossi
Divergent is a heart-pounding action thriller, but let’s face it – it’s not Hunger Games. The same premise as Hunger Games is present, a female heroin becoming a symbol of rebellion against a governmental group in a dystopian war that is about to break out. If this were a race, then Hunger Games would win by a landslide.
Expectations for this film are very high because of the wonderful success of the book series by Veronica Roth, but does the film do it justice? Most fans would say yes, but critics such as those on Rotten Tomatoes only give this film a 5.5 out of 10 stars. The Box office says it grossed $22.8 million on its opening day. Divergent also became the biggest advanced ticket seller on Fandango, beating out 2008’s Twilight by five folds.
Shailene Woodley plays the role of Beatrice “Tris” Prior, a girl who lives in a seemingly perfect society made up of five factions: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (kind), Candor (honest), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave), based on personalities. Tris then finds out that she is divergent, meaning that she belongs to more than one faction. Divergent people are considered a threat to their society because they cannot be manipulated or controlled. While living in the Dauntless faction, Tris uncovers the truth about what is really going on in her society and the real danger that people are going to face.
The film itself is overall very enjoyable with its great special effects of a dystopian Chicago and really intense fight scenes that make you cringe. Sadly, there are a couple of things that caused me to have qualms with the film.
Tris Prior’s character is a very interesting one, but it did not seem as complex as it could have. The screenwriters do not give her long or inspirational lines, most of her lines actually only consist of one word answers that became annoying very quickly. You look for more with her, but can only take what we can get from her actions and not her words. The acting is believable but not very emotional compared to Jennifer Lawrence’s role as Katniss Everdeen. Katniss Everdeen didn’t have many lines either but the emotions were always on her face to the very last shot of the film. This is not the case for Divergent.
The special effects for the landscapes are amazing, very realistic, and breath-taking. But the special effects for the makeup are terrible. Dauntless is a group that trains by constantly fighting and getting beaten up to stay alive in order to keep from getting kicked out of the faction. There are scenes where Tris is suppose to be badly beaten from these one on one fights but the damage is very minimal and she still looks pretty and well kept. Mascara and eyeliner intact with maybe a bruise and a scratch. With a PG-13 rating, they could have made it more gory to be realistic. Despite the lack of goriness, this is a film that is masculine enough for guys to enjoy as well, not just the ladies.
Some things to look out for is the cliché love story with Tris and Four, played by Theo James, which grew from the typical teacher-student relationship. This is already played out in the recent film, Vampire Academy. The chemistry between Tris and Four however is more natural and intense than in Hunger Games. Also the male friends of Tris, (Al, Will, and Peter) all look very alike so keeping track of who is who during the first watch of the film is somewhat difficult. They aren’t very distinctive.
There is also the issue that Tris in the beginning is completely inexperienced in combat but by the end of the film she is an expert. We don’t actually see this progression from novice to near professional. Out of nowhere, she becomes a talented gun shooter and fighter. At least we knew Katniss grows into her skill because of hunting.
The movie warns people of the dangers of conformity and shows that joining a faction is almost like joining a frat or sorority. Hazing and all.
Now that I have ended my rant, the best thing about the film is how it always puts you on edge. It constantly gives you that feeling of paranoia that someone could die or get hurt at any moment and that made it very exciting.
The sequel, Insurgent, is already in the works and is scheduled to be released in March 2015.
Divergent is definitely worth seeing with all its disappointments, even though it’s not quite as great as Hunger Games. Next time, let’s not jump the gun.