07 May 2014
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Film review: Divergent

By Shannon Williams

I’m always sceptical when I hear about these Young Adult Dystopian novels turned next biggest movie craze movies.

Twilight definitely started it all, and those books were terrible, The Hunger Games followed but tried to be more “real” and less ridiculous, with not much luck.

So when the Divergent series came out, all I could think was, “another one?!”.

I would definitely class Divergent in more of The Hunger Games category than Twilight. Where Twilight has become an absolute joke, The Hunger Games and Divergent have indeed managed to separate themselves and be a more legitimate.

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Shailene Woddley starts as Tris, who finds out that she is “divergent”, meaning she does not fit in to any of the designated factions.

The film follows her as she is trying to hide this fact from her faction and their leaders, and at the same time she uncovers a sinister plot that is brewing amongst the other factions, which forms the wider plot of the series.

The thing I don’t understand about these dystopian stories are why the leaders of the new societies are always these crazed luncatics who are evil, hate teenagers and jus deep down mean. It doesn’t make sense.

Did no one notice their evilness as they set up the new world? And how come some lanky teenager with pretty hair who is more worried about her boy crush than her parents the only person capable of putting an end to their evilness that only just became popular knowledge in the last few days? It’s stupid.

Why can’t they create realistic villains? Kate Winslet plays Jeanine, a leader of one of the factions, and she is so focused on enslaving everyone for “peace” she kills children, families, whoever.

Are we supposed to believe that this woman is so power crazy that any humanity she may have had before has just disappeared? Or was she always this way and she got voted leader with these attributes?

Some good points. The chemistry between Woodley and leading man Theo James is very good, although James looks about ten years older than Woodley. But they do have all these fake tattoos that just look stupid.

So although I am unable to rate Divergent as a must see, and although I spent most of this review bagging it, I didn’t hate it. It could be a good guilty pleasure.

I am intrigued about where the story is going and what is going to happen, and I would have been keen to read the books if I didn’t just Wikipedia the series and found out what happened. So I’ll stick to the films.

Score: 2.5/5

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