With Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney,Kate Winslet, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q
Written by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor (based on the novel by Veronica Roth)
Directed by Neil Burger
From the get-go, before seeing this, I suspected it would be a fusion of The Hunger Games and Twilight (without blood-suckers)... I wasn't far off…
In this Dystopian tale based on the popular teen novel, the first thing they need to do is sell this dispensation to you. As a whole the pretentiousness of it failed to draw me into its narrative. In this future post-war era, Chicago is walled off to keep out an unseen enemy.
The society inside has been divided according to personality types. These include: Erudite (intelligent), Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave). Just like the character names in Hunger Games, this irks me somewhat… And, for some reason there is something about lead actress Shailene Woodley that grates me. Don't know her, never met her, so who the hell am I to get affected like this? I thought it was her faux bohemian carefree personification in some interviews I've seen – but even here (in the first movie I've seen her in), there was no way I could connect with her or allow her to engage me. It's terrible to dislike someone for no real reason... Is it a generational gap? (I don’t care what age an actor is, as long as they’re convincing)… Maybe I'm a horrible person (yet I know I’m not that bad)… Or maybe she reminds me of someone (I hope not)…
Anyhow, my personal irritations aside, her character has reached the age to decide whether she wants to stay in the grouping where she grew up, or switch. But in a pre-test she is found to be Divergent, with traits from three groupings. She is urged to keep this a secret, as the establishment will find her to be a threat. She chooses to leave the meek Abnegation and switch to the stronger Dauntless, always being drawn to them. (OK, my last complaint – the reveal of this group via a bunch of them running, jumping, parkour-ing, whooping and acting all wild and energetic was so frickin’ annoying!)
She goes through training, gets beaten down but doesn’t give up, since, you know, she has to rise to become the heroine. With friends and enemies shaped, the ruling Erudite thinkers have some dubious plans afoot, an insurrection that can only be thwarted by force.
Hunger Games and Twilight fans may love this, but it didn’t do it for me. I can enjoy tween flicks, but not this one (which will make little diference to its inevitable popularity).
And yes, the book is part of a trilogy which will all be turned into movies… yay…
2 / B
- Paul Blom
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