‘Divergent’ separates itself as spring blockbuster



Shailene Woodley (left) and Theo James (right) star in “Divergent.”

Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite. These five factions control the ruined city of Chicago after a world war. They stand together for hope of a new civilization with the best of human characteristics: peace, selflessness, honesty, fearlessness, intelligence. However, a small number of individuals do not fit into a single faction. The Erudite believe these people, nicknamed “Divergent,” have differences that make them dangerous and could ruin the new-found peace.

The plot follows the life of Beatrice Prior, a 16 year old from Abnegation. As the date to choose her future faction approaches, she goes to take her mandatory aptitude test, which will tell her to which faction she truly belongs. As she completes the test, she learns she is Divergent, and the Erudite are hunting down her kind. As all of this is happening, Beatrice’s parents’ faction, Abnegation, is dealing with political problems which could lead to a government overthrow. Now, Beatrice has to trust herself to pick the right faction for her future and hide from everyone that she is one of the rare and legendary Divergent while trying to protect her family from a deadly coup d’état.

Shailene Woodley does a good job portraying her character, Beatrice, but she could have done better. I was not convinced she had a difficult time choosing her faction with the obvious hints that were dropped. Although, as the movie progresses, Woodley becomes increasingly better at presenting her character’s emotions. Theo James did an outstanding job playing the mighty Four. James begins as a reserved and fierce Dauntless, and throughout the film he makes his way into a more open character. Jai Courtney also did an amazing job portraying his intimidating and tightly-strung character, Eric.

While the rest of the actors fit their respective roles well, Miles Teller was one who stood out in a negative light. He was playing the “high school bad guy” Peter, but Teller does not look or act like a villain. He looks and sounds as if he’ll drop a funny joke to break the tension at any moment.

The fans of the book should rejoice as the film almost exactly replicates the book except the ending, which diverges from the original plot. However, the difference is not unacceptable for hardcore book fans, as all of the main characters still end in their proper places for the beginning of the next installment, “Insurgent.”

The story is set in the dystopian city of Chicago, which the film does an excellent job of portraying. The dilapidated metropolis overgrown with vegetation is oddly beautiful. The scenes in which Beatrice flies through the city on a zip-line are fantastic. The only problem I had with the set was the size of the Dauntless headquarters. Am I supposed to believe the thousands of soldiers all live in a little cave?

While there are many positive things about this movie, it is far too long. Director Neil Burger hit all of the major parts of the book, but it is a two-and-a-half-hour movie, and I could definitely tell. Near the end, I was just hoping it would end soon.

Fans of the book will be particularly pleased with the adaptation. Anyone who likes the “Hunger Games” or other dystopian films with a government overthrow will enjoy this movie. It is definitely worth the money to see it, and for the most part, it is worth the time.