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'Divergent' is better than the book but not by much

Divergent (movie)


Full disclosure, this examiner has read them but is admittedly not a fan of the Divergent book series by Veronica Roth. In the books, Tris is unlikable and the premise makes little sense especially by the end of the series. Fortunately, one of the things going for the movie is that Shailene Woodley's interpretation of Tris is much better than Roth's. Besides Woodley, Divergent stars Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, and Kate Winslet (has it really come to this, Kate?).

"Divergent" is set in a post apocalyptic Chicago where everyone is split into separate factions based on their personalities. The factions are Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave). Once each person turns sixteen then are required to take a test to see which of the factions they truly belong to. From there, they are given the choice to leave or stay in the faction of their birth. However, unfortunately for Tris, her test is inconclusive and she is told she's "divergent" which means that she does not fit into any one faction but multiple ones (you know like how everyone, everywhere would). Conveniently, Erudite has begun hunting down divergents, so Tris must hide her true nature or risk death.

Thankfully, a lot of the annoying things about the factions in the books have been removed from the film. Gone is the insistence that no one really leaves their factions (this is mentioned in the books yet shown in the text that nearly everyone does) or the notion that no one is divergent (because again in the book every second person tells Tris they're also divergent). Also a lot of the characters are really likable. Miles Teller is great as Tris' rival once she decides to join Dauntless. Woodley and Teller worked together previously in "The Spectacular Now" and still have the easy chemistry they shared in that film. Kravitz is also great as Tris' first real friend in her new life and Theo James is serviceable as her love interest, Four.

The film itself is boring and underwhelming but not completely terrible. If you loved the book you'll probably love the movie. If you haven't read the books then this reviewer can't say she'd recommend you making a trip out to the movie theaters to see it. That said, parts of it are somewhat entertaining and worth a watch once it comes out on DVD.