Internet!! I’m back, back from the foreign fields of vacation. A magical kingdom filled with magical not working and free time to spend with my wife wandering in the snow. Regardless of all that though, whilst all of this was going on (and/or not going on) we also watched some movies and (to avoid having to tell you anymore of what was a frankly awesome week) I will now talk about one of those movies.
Micah Reviews: Divergent
The latest entry in the rapidly growing, quickly rotting, “young adult movies” category. A category that was simultaneously created and beaten over the head with a bat by Twilight and now lives on in a half zombie half porridge state of not really having a purpose at all. Divergent is hoping it can land more in the Hunger Games category of that particular field rather than the incredibly unfortunate the Host category.
In the year… something or other… in the city of Chicago life is not super awesome (cause apparently that’s never EVER a possibility in these sorts of films.) In fact it is so not super awesome that we have had to build a huge wall around the city and divide it’s citizens into five groups. Amity (hippy farmers) Candor (jerks who are lawyers) Erudite (jerks who are scientists) Dauntless (generally just jerks) and then Abnegation (who are pretty much entirely useless.) Beatrice (who is also pretty much useless) is in Abnegation at the beginning of the movie, but in a shocking turn of events that we already we’re told was going to happen, she chooses to join Dauntless and become a soldier.
As she goes through soldier training Beatrice (or Triss as we must now call her) learns more about being “Divergent” something that she discovers during a hallucination test (which happens way more than you might think in the future.) Anyway, Triss must do her best to overcome her previous complete uselessness and learn to punch people in the throat. All the while, Divergents are being hunted down and killed for quite potentially no reason at all and the Scientist Jerks might just be getting ready to be even bigger jerks then all the other jerks in Chicago.
The cast here is fairly solid. There aren’t any big names or big performances but no one does terribly. It’s a cast that’s stronger than any of its parts and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that.
Similar to the cast the story here isn’t necessarily a sweeping epic you will never forget but it does tell a compelling story about an interesting world.
It’s not always super clear what’s going on with the whole “Divergent” thing. We know they “don’t conform to society” but no one ever tells us why that’s so important. Frankly you get the feeling that if the Science jerks hadn’t made such a big deal out of “hunting down all the divergents now” the divergents probably would have just exposed themselves and then been incredibly easy to pick off.
It’s difficult to understand why Abnegation are in charge of the government. I mean I love “givers” as much as anyone but why not put the lawyers/truth tellers in charge of these things? If my solution to every problem is going to be “give them stuff” then that’s really not an awesome legislative body.
As stated above it’s a nice world Divergent has created though the “futureness” of it is spotty at times. Sure we have mind control serums, instant and painless tattoos, and technology that allows us to WALK IN EACH OTHERS DREAMS!!! But when it comes to farming/clothing/weaponry everything seemed pretty much modern day.
In a FAR more nitpicky section let me just say that Triss is afraid of some weird stuff. When she is dropped into yet another hallucination test Triss is forced to confront her greatest fears the primary one (apparently) being birds. Yes. Birds. Apparently she watched a lot of Alfred Hitchcock as a child. Also, there is a character named “Four.” In this movie. Seriously though: Four.
Divergent is a good film. That’s really all that can be said about it, it’s not a great movie. It’s not even the movie it desperately wants to be (Hunger Games) but neither is it a bad movie. It’s a movie that ticks off all the appropriate boxes for goodness without necessarily excelling at any of them. I’m sure fans of the books will enjoy it, and even people who haven’t read them (like myself) will at least be able to take something away from the experience.
I give it a 3 out of 5.