Divergent

Much like any number of television series that I wait to see when the box set is released, there are some films I watch on blu-ray at home. Alone. Divergent is one of those films. For some reason, which I will probably regret, I am collecting the steelbook releases of the Divervent series. I cannot explain it, except maybe it’s beacuse I am collecting the Target editions of the Hunger Games films, and I just wanted something to look nice on the shelf.

A lot of people, fairly or unfairly, compare Divergent to The Hunger Games. Both are about dystopian futures, have female protagonists, and are based on best selling novels. I’ll say up front that The Hunger Games is the better film, but that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of Divergent.

A lot of the reviews for Divergent have ranged from “mediocre” to “meh,” but I think it is better than that. The world of Divergent is dystopian, but it is also utopian. It reminds me, in a way, of Logan’s Run. If you want to make a useless comparison, you could say that Divergent is inferior to Logan’s Run, since it contains one hundred percent less Jenny Agutter.

There will be some minor spoilers from this point forward. I apologize for not saying this sooner, for the benefit of those who were thinking that Jenny Agutter might make an appearance.

The Hunger Games series tells the tale of how Katniss Everdeen, played in the films by Jennifer Lawrence, becomes the face of a revolution. In Divergent, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is part of a group that is trying to stop the government from being overthrown.

Janine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is the leader of the Erudite faction, and the one leading the charge to overthrow the Abnigation-led government. This, to me, is interesting. The idea that both protagonist and antagonist are strong, smart females is one that we don’t see often enough in fiction. Kudos to author Veronica Roth for coming up with this idea.

The novel and film title refers to the revelation that Tris has the qualities of more than one faction. This makes her a danger to society in that she is a free thinker, as opposed to being part of any one group. As with a lot of young adult fiction, Divergent paints a picture of a character that is going through emotions or problems that a lot of teens face. It is easy for grown ups to say, “I know that people can be more than one thing,” but try to remember what it was like when you were that age. Or think about what it is like to live in a culture with a strict set of rules.

Something else I liked about Divergent is that Tris isn’t caught up in a love triangle, like so many other young women in YA fiction. *cough, cough* The Twilight Saga. I threw up a little bit just typing that.

I like Theo James who plays Tris’ love interest, Four. James brings subtlety and humanity to a character that, in other stories, could be one dimensional. For those that are reading this who haven’t seen the movie or read the novel, despite my earlier warning, I won’t go into his backstory. It’s actually quite interesting.
I also refuse to spoil the ending of Divergent. All I will say is that I am looking forward to the next installment: Insurgent. However, I am not expecting it to be Catching Fire.

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