Sunday, March 30, 2014

Divergent

Divergent by Neil Burger
"We're different!"
KBC giveth, and KBC taketh away. Which meant I had to shell out some hard-earned simoleans for the Divergent (2014) cinema experience. As a big Hunger Games fan, I had intended to read the Veronica Roth books first, seeing that they are generally marketed as "similar to the Hunger Games", but you regular readers already know that I'm still knee deep in the Maze Runner series. Still, I was very excited to check out the Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate vehicle for two reasons: 1) My sister Margot's rampant fangirling, and 2) A sneak peak at Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, who will both star in John Green adaptation The Fault in Our Stars in June.

Chicago is the only city that survived the war. In order to keep peace and order, people are divided into one of five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite, and Dauntless. When Beatrice (Woodley) is tested to determine which fraction she should select, her test results are inconclusive, indicating that she is "divergent" and thus a threat to society. At the choosing ceremony, Beatrice picks Dauntless, the army faction. Not only is the training extremely tough, but concealing her true status becomes increasingly difficult, especially with the government hunting for Divergents, among other shady things.

A young heroine with a critical mind who ruffles the feathers of the government and soon becomes public enemy No. 1? That's Katniss Bea/Tris in a nutshell. If those blatant similarities bother you, then Divergent is probably nothing for you. Which is too bad, really, because , even though the plot delivers nothing we haven't seen before, the movie is more than passable, and director Neil Burger brings plenty to the table. One thing I do fault him for, though, is squandering a totally potent cast. Why borderline bore us with the dreamy Theo James when you have Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, and Ashley Judd at your disposal?

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