Saturday, 26 April 2014

Divergent: Uninspired Churn-Up


Divergent stars indie teen pixie of the hour Shailene Woodley as some kind of rebellious dystopian future young adult trying to find her way in an oppressive orwellian societal regime.

Yeah, it's like that other movie series that everyone likes at the moment. You know, also adapted from a book series? You know the one. Bows and arrows. The Hobbit. Or something.

Anyway, I knew this film was trouble when it walked in, opening with a clumsy world-building voice over that explains in great detail how there's this knackered up city and it's divided into factions that do different jobs and you have to join one of them or become a homeless person or some shit but DON'T FUCKING ASK WHY BECAUSE IT'S NOT IMPORTANT IT DOESN'T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE


The factions are Amity - who are dead nice to everyone but are afraid of sharks, Dauntless - who are supposed to be like the army but are really just a pack of dildos free-running everywhere and dressing like extras from a Joel Schumacher movie, er... Abegnation - who do politics or something, Erudite - who are all smart and do the science and that, and Candour, who are insensitive gobshites.

So you can see how logical this system seems and how a whole society of people would perpetuate it without question.

When kids are 16 or something, they do an aptitude test in which the sorting hat tells them which house to go into. The most amazingly uncommon thing, apparently, is for someone to not have an aptitude for one single faction, but ALL OF THEM DIVERGENT ALARM DIVERGENT ALARM


It's quite telling that being a multi-faceted individual makes you a fucking dangerous anomaly in this world of wafer thin characterisation and motivational irrationality.

It's not that I hated this film, I just sort of resent the fact that it exists. I haven't read the books, but this film plays like an uninspired churn-up of Hunger Games, Potter, Orwell, Ender's Game and most other genre pieces you can think of. And the romance reminded me of the subplot in a dance movie where the leading lady falls for her grumpy dance teacher/partner.

There is a quite lovely zip lining sequence and an amusing running gag about shooting people, but that's pretty much all that's on offer. Woodley is perfectly watchable in the lead, but she will always suffer from the obvious comparison to a certain blonde lady with a bow and arrow. You know the one. Legolas. From out of The Hobbit films.


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