The Faction Pains

Shailene Woodley in Divergent (2014)

In the future society has been split into 5 factions each of which represent a virtue and once you reach the age you get the chance to choose a faction although everyone will have a natural tendency towards one or another. But Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is different as she is in fact a Divergent which means she doesn't fit into any specific faction and that makes her a danger to some. Having chosen to join one faction Tris undergoes a hard physical and psychological training regime where those who don't cut the mustard are cut. But it seems someone in power has plans to destroy the harmony between factions and Tris being a divergent makes her a danger.

I wonder what the teenage me from the 1980s would make of modern movies if he could travel to the present. I would think that if the 80s me sat down to watch "Divergent" he would probably be awe struck by the special effects whilst he might form a crush on Shailene Woodley and ZoŽ Kravitz. And I am pretty sure that the 80s me would want to stay in the present purely because of the amazing movies in the cinema which compared to what he was watching in the 80s would be out of this world.

Theo James in Divergent (2014)

The thing is that it is a long time since I was a teenager and I have watched thousands of movies since and unfortunately for all the special effects and so on "Divergent" suffers because it feels like it has jumped on a band wagon. Here is another movie in a dystopian future where a teen who is special has to endure barbaric training and treatment whilst once again the population is split into factions with one leader with their eye on total domination or something. Basically "Divergent" feels like a movie in the "Hunger Games" mould and whilst there is nothing wrong with that it doesn't do a great deal for me.

Now as I said before, a teen version of myself would have probably been impressed with "Divergent" and it does tick a lot of boxes; there is action, adventure, big special effect sequences such as a massive zip line and there are appealing characters. In truth I can fully understand why a young audience might find this more entertaining than I do but it does constantly have the feel of a studio trying to recreate the success of another franchise with a similar product.

What this all boils down to is that "Divergent" ends up just another modern movie, probably more appealing to a younger audience than an older one but ultimately feeling like a movie made because of another popular franchise and only ending up weaker in comparison.

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