Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Divergent

In an alternate universe or not too distant future, or after some sort of dystopian apocalyptic nightmare, I may have gone to see Divergent on purpose, and though I am a child of nearly thirty years old I have never, even as a teenager, enjoyed films aimed at this demographic very much. Except for American Pie because penises, boobs and farts are always funny no matter what age you are. Divergent however was a deep story of identity and morality coated in stupid over romanticized bad-boys and innocent but determined teenage girls. Based on the quadrilogy of books by Veronica Roth, Divergent aims to illustrate it’s own brand of dystopia and stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James.


In this particular dystopia, everything is perfectly maintained and everyone is seemingly content. Specialisation, which Robert Heinlein would say is for insects, is encouraged and being multi-talented is considered punishable by death. Which for me, as someone who can write words and play music, is terrifying… though I don’t think I’m good enough at either to be considered multi-talented. I’m more terrified of the possibility of a Logan’s Run dystopia uprising, being that I’m 29.


In this dystopia, society is split into groups; people who are good at needlework, people who are good at giving oral pleasure, people who can open yoghurts without leaving any stuck to the lid, people who have children and make less than five posts about them on Facebook, people who can get off a bed without startling a kitten, people who have seen all the episodes of Dragon Ball Z, people who have never walked into the kitchen and forgotten why they are there, people who can be in a band and simultaneously not be a dick about it, people who can comfortably admit that though they like Star Wars they know that it is a kids film and is essentially sub-standard, and people who can run, jump, not die and not feel fear.

The multi-talented latter group, the ‘Dauntless’, which is full of terrible people who are all very good looking, are the focus of the film, specifically one young woman/teen named Tris (Woodley). They live for freedom and all that gooey stuff and stand in opposition to the government, or the group who ‘think they know everything and are therefore wankers’, who are secretly attempting to cull and control large amounts of people so they can start an army of mindless drones and run the world. But as this is a teen movie, Machiavellian governments and dystopia futures aren’t enough – mixed in with all this is a romance between Four and Tris, who will probably have a kid that I hope they call ‘Fortress’, or at least Rook.


Thankfully Divergent doesn’t suffer from script issues as strongly as other films in this genre; there is a lot less manipulative ‘making you like a character just to take them away from you’ and there’s very little forced exposition. The film is an interesting idea, and I love anything that encourages people to be different, or at least to be who they are without question. It will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Twilight but I think the Hunger Games is a closer comparison, and a better film as it fappens… I beg your pardon… happens.

I’m looking forward to the next one as it seems to be a very popular series in book land, and I’m glad it’s getting the cinematic attention, 4/5.

[★★★★☆]

Dave Roberts


Divergent at CeX


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