Divergent: What You Need To Know
The latest ‘young adult’ novel to be adapted for the big screen, Divergent comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (11th August). With the next three instalments already on the release schedule, here’s what you need to know about the action packed teen sci-fi saga.
Who’s in it?
Relative newcomer Shailene Woodley takes the lead as Beatrice “Tris” Prior. You might recognise Woodley from this year’s teen weepie The Fault In Our Stars, or The Descendants, where she starred alongside George Clooney. Taking the role of Four, Tris’ mentor and possible object of her affection, is Oxford-born Theo James, another newcomer who’s made appearances in Downton Abbey and The Inbetweeners Movie.
Backing up those two fresh faces are a host of more recognisable names. Biggest of all is Kate Winslet, as the big baddie of the series. Ashley Judd plays Tris’ mother, whilst A Good Day To Die Hard’s Jai Courtney and Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny) appear as Tris’ instructor and classmate respectively.
What’s the plot?
In a future post-apocalyptic Chicago, society is split into five different factions, based on what values they deem most important: Abnegation, who value selflessness above all else; Dauntless, who lionise bravery; Erudite, who believe in logic and intelligence; Amity, who strive for peacefulness and pacifism; and Candor, who believe in honesty and lying being the biggest sin a person can commit.
The film focuses on Tris, a 16 year-old girl born into the Abnegation faction.
In the run-up the annual Choosing Day, every 16 year-old has to take an aptitude test to see if they should remain with their birth faction, or defect to another. Tris’ tests prove to be inclusive, making her a Divergent – a dangerous thing to be in this cut-throat world. When the Choosing Day comes, she chooses to leave her old life behind and picks Dauntless, almost on a whim.
We then follow her path through the tortuous training programme that all Dauntless initiates must go through, struggling to survive whilst making friends, gaining enemies, falling in love, and all the other things 16 year-old girls do. All this takes place against a background of discontent and rebellion, which will continue across the next three films in the series.
Does it deliver?
The comparisons to The Hunger Games are obvious – both focus on teenage girls in dystopian future society, who make a life-changing decision at an annual ceremony, go through an intense training camp and then end up as part of a revolution. But Shailene Woodley is a pretty different actress to Jennifer Lawrence and she makes the film her own. She is a much more tender and conflicted character than the headstrong Katniss Everdeen.
Fans of the original novels will love seeing the story brought to life, and for everyone else it’s an exciting sci-fi saga mixed with a fun teen soap opera. The concept of a world divided by what virtues they value over all others is interesting idea, and the big, action-packed finale sets up the next film well.
Divergent is available on Blu-Ray and DVD in hmv stores from Monday August 11