By Katelyn S. Irons | Echo
Despite being touted as the next "Hunger Games," "Divergent" transcends the comparison and goes beyond expectations. While keeping with the themes of dystopia and a plucky heroine, this movie portrays its characters well and leaves its audience hopeful and courageous.
The dystopian action film, based on book one of the trilogy by author Veronica Roth, follows 16-year-old Beatrice "Tris" Prior. Tris (Shailene Woodley) lives in a futuristic Chicago, where the populace is divided into factions categorized by specific virtues: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (kindness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery) and Erudite (intelligence). When it comes time for Tris to be tested to see which faction she fits in, she finds her results are inconclusive: Divergent. This means that she cannot be categorized into just one faction and is considered dangerous by the government.
Tris chooses to leave her family in the altruistic Abnegation faction and join the brave and sometimes extreme Dauntless. As she struggles to fit in with this new clan, Tris learns that the infamous Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is planning to overthrow the current peaceful government and put a bounty on the heads of the divergent.
Fans of the book will be pleased with the movie adaption. While the film does differ from the book version at several key points, the changes make the transition to the screen much better visually. Several of the book's dialogue heavy scenes were changed to include more action and allow for more interesting visual elements. Since the book relies heavily on Tris' narration, this was an allowable change for the transition.
The movie has very realistic CGI and special effects. The scenes showing the crumbling ruins of Chicago are particularly believable. Throughout the movie, "Divergent" tends to make its CGI a very natural experience, which is unique in the action-film genre, where more explosive and surreal effects are typically used.
The other thing that makes "Divergent" stand out is that it kept the undercurrent tone of morality from Roth, a Christian writer. One example of this is in a scene that shows one of Tris' biggest fears-going too far too fast in her relationship with the tall, dark and mysterious Four (Theo James). The movie emphasizes that she retains her purity in her relationship in a positive way that is seldom seen from Hollywood.
Thumbnail photograph courtesy of cinemotions.com.