Divergent is another in a now long line of young adult style futuristic science fiction drama movies that have come out in recent years and all that seem to be following a set pattern. Directed by Neil Burger, based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth the film is the first installment in The Divergent Series and was produced by Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian, and Douglas Wick, with a screenplay by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor. It stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q and Kate Winslet.

Set in the not too distant future of a dystopian Chicago, now a walled city society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). An individual is allowed to join the faction of their choice but are given an aptitude test at the age of 16 before they join to see which is the best suited faction for them. Beatrice Prior grew up in the Abnegation faction as the daughter of Andrew who sits on the ruling council, but she has long been fascinated with the Dauntless. Beatrice has her aptitude test, done via a serum injection, conducted by Tori a woman from Dauntless and she tests out to be Divergent – meaning she doesn’t fit into a single faction. Tori tells her to keep it secret telling her that since Divergents can think independently and the government therefore cannot control them, they are considered threats to the existing social order and manually enters the result as Abnegation.

At the choosing ceremony Beatrice’s brother Caleb chooses Erudite while she, after hesitation, chooses Dauntless. She meets two Candor kids Christina & Al as well as Will an Erudite who all chose Dauntless. The new initiates then meet a brutal leader named Eric and Four, a famed trainer of the Dauntless and are immediately put through physical tests. The initiates are then told that at the end of the evaluations, the lower ranked of them will be cut meaning they will join the factionless destitutes. Beatrice, going by Tris now, struggles in the grueling physical challenges but slowly improves. After losing a fight with her enemy Peter, she almost fails but redeems herself by winning the flag for her team in the next game. The next tests are simulations that put the initiates in their personal fear situations but Tris is able to use her divergence to win the challenges in much quicker time than the others. Four, who has now struck up a relationship with her warns her not to do it that way but use the Dauntless techniques to win the scenarios to avoid detection. Tris visits her brother, Caleb, in Erudite, who tells her that Erudite is planning to overthrow Abnegation and become the ruling faction. On her return to Dauntless headquarters, Tris is attacked due to her success in training, with Peter, Al, and Drew attempting to throw her into a chasm. She is eventually rescued by Four. The next day, Al pleads with Tris for her forgiveness but she refuses and calls him a coward. Later, she is shocked to learn Al has killed himself by jumping into the chasm.

Four helps Tris to prepare for the final test by taking her through his own fear scenarios and learns that his real name is Tobias and he is the son of Markus, the Abnegation leader. They share a kiss after the simulation ends and spend the night together. The next day Tris is able to pass without anyone suspecting that she is a Divergent but after the ceremony for the initiates passing, they are all injected with a serum which is said to be administered as a tracking device, but which is revealed to be a mind control serum. Erudite controls the Dauntless using the serum and has them attack the Abnegation but Tris is unaffected as she is a Divergent and learns that so to is Four. They are caught and separated but Tris’s mother Natalie comes and rescues her daughter, but is shot dead in the process. Tris goes to meet her father & Markus and along with Caleb they infiltrate the Erudite center where Andrew sacrifices himself to save the others. Tris goes in alone and finds Four, who is now under a more advanced form of mind-control that works even on Divergents. After a fight she manages to wake him from his stupor, knowing he cannot shoot her while looking at her face, for that is one of his fears.

Before Erudite leader Jeanine can give the order to have the Dauntless soldiers kill off all the Abgnetaion members Tris stabs her hand with a knife and using the mind controlling serum has Jeanine abort the program and has it erased, freeing all the soldiers from their zombie like trance. Tris knocks her out and escapes Dauntless with Caleb, Peter, Four, and Marcus on the train, intending to ride to the end of the tracks.

Stale, tried and tested and yet boring plotline and characters who pale in comparison with the scifi characters we known and love. Why are these kind of young adult books so popular and then made into these movies? I was expecting something else totally but these plastic characters and cliches stories are so dull. And no one looks 16! Asheley Judd & Kate Winslet in small supporting roles!! I love the sets and the special effects but….it’s like eating a bland, boiled potato. Movie made $274 million on a $85 million budget. I give it a 6 outta 10!

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