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Divergent – When Outcasts Have to Hide to Protect Themselves

Divergent.jpgBased on the young adult novel by the same name, this PG-13 rated film follows the life of Tris who lives in a world divided by factions based on virtues. Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D, age 16, commented, “I really like this film. I went into it not knowing anything about the book trilogy so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleased with the outcome.” For her full review, read below or click on the link to her video review.

Reviewed by Raven D., age 16, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Video review here.
Cast interviews here.

Based on the wildly successful novel by Veronica Roth, “Divergent” tells the story of teens struggling to find their place in post-war Chicago. Society is separated by factions based on personality traits and virtues in attempts to keep the peace and encourage the population to participate equally in maintaining a functioning community. When a person turns 16, she takes a test to determine what faction best suits her characteristics to help her decide whether she should stay in her home faction or move elsewhere. Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, is a modest girl from Abnegation, but her entire life is turned upside down when the test reveals something about her she didn’t know was possible. She is a Divergent, which means she does not fit into any category, therefore cannot be controlled and is a threat to the system. With the advice of an older faction member, she is warned not to tell a soul or her life will be at risk. Young Tris then decides to leave her home of Abnegation and transfer to Dauntless, a fiery group of individuals that show no fear and protect the people. There, she has to learn to fit in and test herself physically and mentally, all the while guarding a dark secret.

I really like this film. I went into it not knowing anything about the book trilogy so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleased with the outcome. The visuals are interesting because even though this film is set in the future and it features some advanced technology, everything is kept quite simple looking. There are, however, some flaws with the visuals and effects because at times it is very apparent that green screen is in use. The soundtrack is absolutely incredible. It features a variety of artist that I really enjoy and I’ve already downloaded music from the film because it is something I actually listen to on a daily basis which isn’t the case with me for most motion picture soundtracks.

My favorite character is surprisingly not one of the leads, but a supporting role. I like the character Will, played by Ben Lloyd-Hughes, who is a boy Tris meets during her training in Dauntless. Will is a sweet, kind-hearted person who is always very supportive of Tris and her friend Christina, played by Zoe Kravitz. He is very level headed and is someone you can always count on. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Lloyd-Hughes and I think he is perfect for the role of Will. The rest of the cast works very well together. Shailene Woodley does a great job portraying her emotions and showing Tris’s character development. She goes through quite a lot over the course of the film and Shailene is really able to embody Tris and show how she transforms from a timid, modest Abnegation, to a fearless young woman who is not defined by anyone or anything. The only problem I have with the casting is that Four, played by Theo James, is supposed to be 18 in the book series. However in the film, he appears to be in his mid 20’s, since Theo is 29 years old. He does a wonderful job playing his character, but it makes the romance between him and Tris really uncomfortable.

My favorite scene in the film is when Tris and the rest of the new members of Dauntless are heading back from playing a capture the flag like war game. They each strap up to a high-speed full body zip line that goes rocketing through the empty city. I think this scene is visually appealing even though it is very short and has really no importance to the film. The CGI and landscape in this scene is just well done.

Since I have not read this trilogy, I was a little let down with certain aspects of the film. In “Divergent” the film, the whole movie is mainly Tris training in Dauntless and it feels like the plot takes far too long to develop. The last 15-20 minutes of the film is where the action and the conflict begins to happen and then the movie is over. I found out that this is how the first book is written as well, but as someone who has very little prior knowledge of the series, it seems a bit odd. The second thing that threw me off was that it seems as if quite a bit of the dialogue is taken directly from the book. This is something that fans of the book will love since the films stays so true to the novel. However, from my point of view, a lot of the dialogue does not translate very well to the screen and appears a bit cheesy and forced at times. Like I said, this is really only an issue for me since I have not read the series nor was I a fan prior to watching the film. Overall, I was entertained despite these points.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 or for anyone who has read the novel. The movie gets a bit violent during training scenes and towards the end but is nothing too bad and if you’ve read the books you know what to expect. Overall I give Divergent 4 out of 5 stars because it is entertaining and I’m already eager for the next installment in the series. Plus I and all my friends that saw the film have been quoting the movie non-stop and making “Divergent” references in almost every conversation, so it clearly left its mark on us! Be sure to check out “Divergent” in theaters on March 21st.

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