New “Divergent Movie” Parallels “Hunger Games” Phenomenon

Weeks after “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was released on DVD and Blu-Ray, the movie “Divergent” was released to theaters March 21. The movie, starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, and Kate Winslet, follows the story of a young girl who fights to fit into a world destroyed by war, leaving all of its inhabitants to create a society based on factions to survive.

Shailene Woodley plays Tris, who comes from a family located in the Abnegation faction whose sole purpose is to be selfless by helping others, and therefore being trusted with the job of running the government. At 16, all children must take an aptitude test and consequently choose one of the five factions to belong to for the rest of their lives.

Tris is one of a rare type of people whose aptitude test cannot determine which faction they should belong to. These people are called Divergent. According to a conveniently placed Divergent sympathizer, society is afraid of this rare group. The Divergent do not belong in any one faction and therefore cannot be controlled through the faction society developed to maintain peace.

Tris chooses to become part of the Dauntless faction, whose job is to protect the city and its inhabitants. Through rough and painful events, Tris must learn to survive within the faction of her choosing while keeping her secret from the others, including her family.

The rest of the film mostly follows Tris’ training with other Dauntless candidates. A love story is thrown in as well, but it all seems halfhearted. It is as if the film is trying to take everything from the book, but really only achieves a superficial story that does not attract much attention.

Although the movie is based off of the first in a series of books written by Veronica Roth, it feels extremely similar to another popular book series that had been turned into a set of movies. For fans of “The Hunger Games” movies and books, the setting feels extremely familiar. The “Divergent” movie and books are set in a post-apocalyptic, confined Chicago setting.

The presence of the factions will further reinforce the similarity between the these two movies. In “The Hunger Games,” there were twelve districts that existed to provide that society with various resources. Each had its own purpose and contributed to keeping the peace between the districts through the annual Hunger Games. In Divergent, the Chicago city was divided into five districts in order to run society and maintain peace amongst each other. By the end of “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games” the factions, or districts, are in some way rebelling against those in charge. In the case of” The Hunger Games,” it is against the capital. In “Divergent,” it is against the emerging power of the Erudites.

“Divergent” focuses its main story around Tris and then her life with her new found love, Four. Although the movie tries desperately hard to maintain its own, independent plot, the movie cannot help, but mirror “The Hunger Games.”

To further criticize the movie, the acting must be taken into consideration. Although there were famous celebrities such as Ashley Judd and Kate Winslet, the acting in the movie was extremely bad in numerous scenes. Some have criticized Jennifer Lawrence’s acting in “The Hunger Games,” but Shailene Woodley’s acting in “Divergent” does not really hold a candle to Lawrence’s performance. During a scene in which her character experienced a terrible personal loss, Woodley’s crying was about as unconvincing as a wolf in a sheep costume.

Other actors and actresses in the movie also had terrible acting, which may simply be a directorial flaw due to the amount of talent in the cast. The emotions that the characters were expected to be feeling throughout the movie were not portrayed very well, and everything, except the action fell flat.

To be fair to the movie, when considering the plot, it seems extensively planned, and obviously has aspects to appeal to an adolescent audience. The story was well developed throughout the movie and ended with a cliff-hanger.

Overall, the movie was okay, but it was not worth seeing in theaters. However, fans of “The Hunger Games” movie and books might find “Divergent” repetitive, but still an interesting two hours.

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