The Horror Honeys: Divergent: New Release Review

Divergent: New Release Review

A Sci-Fi Honey Review - by Jen

Divergent OR May/December Romance Survives the Apocalypse

Divergent (2014)

As pretty much everyone who knows me is aware, I loves me some post-apocalypse. I also am no stranger to the Young Adult genre; Harry Potter and the Hunger Games trilogy are two of my favourite book series - and I read a LOT. So even though I hadn’t read the series on which Divergent is based, I didn’t write it off beforehand as some teenage angst crap that no one over the age of seventeen should bother seeing. After all, Jennifer Lawrence played a great youngish character in Hunger Games, and I liked the movies a lot, the second movie even more than the book (a rarity for me). So, I had no pre-warning alarm bells at seeing Divergent on it's opening weekend.

With no unease in my heart, Head Honey and I ventured off to the theatre to see what Divergent had in store.

Divergent takes place in post-apocalyptic Chicago, where survivors of The War were divided into five factions based on their personal traits, and mostly kept segregated from each other so that peace could be maintained. The factions are Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the intelligent. I found it interesting that those are all relatively positive traits, when I know some people that have pretty much none of those. I’m not sure where the Dumb As a Post faction, the Asshole faction, and the ill-dressed Bar Star faction live, perhaps out past the Hippy/Amity farm outside the wall, the faction that seems to have most of the grownups in it. 

That looks so peaceful. Wait. Is that a ship? 

Anyway. Each year, the sixteen-year-olds take an aptitude test where they get injected with drugs and hallucinate, and what they do while hallucinating tells them for which faction they are best suited. I think that’s how the Fraternity system operates today. After receiving the results of their test, these kids must decide whether to remain with their family/current faction or transfer to a new faction and never see their family again.

Mekhi Pfeiffer is the oldest member of
Dauntless/Police force.  What is this,  Logan's Run??
Our heroine Beatrice (Played by Shailene Woodley) grew up an Abnegation girl, so she dresses in bland clothes, eats bland food, and is semi-nice to the homeless, much to her barely concealed distaste. Pretty much like most people, really. Abnegation is made to look like the worst existence ever. What she really wants to be faction-wise, like any self respecting 16 year old, is Dauntless. This is the wandering horde of hot, fit teenagers dressed in black that run around aimlessly, climb over everything like ants and yell a lot, and generally act like teenagers at the mall on a Saturday. OH, and THESE PEOPLE ARE THE POLICE! Jesus fuck, I wouldn’t let any of these idiots babysit my cat, much less look after law and order. But hey, this movie makes it clear pretty early on that it isn’t for adults.

So. While 99.9 % of people get a single-faction result, her test results show that she doesn’t just show traits for Abnegation, she is also Dauntless and Erudite. Apparently she’s not honest or peaceful, so I wouldn’t let her babysit my cat either. What she is, is Divergent, and UH OH the government doesn’t like those!! They KILL those!! Because grownups want teens to fit into a tiny mold and never deviate from it, and are out to kill the spirit of anyone who isn’t ‘Normal’. So she is told by the tester to hide her Divergent-ness lest she be murdered.

Statutory in Aisle 7. Statutory in Aisle 7.
At her choosing ceremony where does Beatrice go? Dauntless. Her lame brother goes over to the Erudites (Smarty Pants faction), who are shown from the start to be pretty much evil and up to no good, aiming to run the show and treat everyone else shabbily and snottily. Basically how America sees anyone with a modicum of intelligence, and why George W. Bush was elected.

She changes her name to Tris (barf), goes through Rookie Boot Camp at Dauntless, meets Hotty McHotterson (played by Theo James, omnomnom), one of the leaders/trainers named Four (or Fore, not sure if he plays golf), who of course treats her like a snot-nosed kid at first but then sees her wonderfulness and beauty shining through and it melts his cold heart and OH GOD STOP IT. FOR FUCKS SAKE. 

Theo James is 29 years old, and he looks about that age. Shailene Woodley is actually 22, but she looks 16. When their characters make out, I wasn’t thinking ‘Hot’, I was thinking ‘I hope his buddies don’t bust him for Statutory’. I wanted to hug her and give her a cookie and tell Four that he was looking a bit like the guy who graduated high school but still goes to the high school parties for years afterward and hits on the 16 year olds. You know, Creepy Guy.

Anyway, she makes the cut (sort of), her and Hotty discover a plot to destroy all the Abnegation people BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT HATES PEOPLE THAT CARE ABOUT PEOPLE and blah blah blah eye roll eye roll save the day I really don’t care god that was lame.

Sci-Fi Honey Lowdown: I’m trying not to compare this movie to Hunger Games but I really can’t avoid it. Divergent is pretty much impossible for anyone above a grade twelve level of maturity to enjoy, as far as I can tell. It is ham-fisted, preachy, obvious, has every cliched character known to man, telegraphs every plot point with a gigantic neon sign, and has the most EW-inducing love interest pairing that I’ve seen in a long time. I got the ‘Just Say No and Tell an Adult’ feeling. The producers should have cast Theo James' character with a younger looking actor. It pains me to say that, because he was the highlight of the movie. Or maybe I think that because he’s blisteringly hot. Either way, a big thanks to Theo for making this pablum bearable. Also, call me.

I'll just keep looking here and pretend this movie isn't happening.

Where was I? Right, reviewing. The acting is overall not bad, the sets/CG look great. It’s just a crap one-dimensional script with one-note characters. I found Horton Hears a Who more mature than this movie. Hunger Games had a younger lead actress who had some gravitas. Even at the end of Divergent I didn’t feel like Tris could save herself, much less other people.  She might look a bit like Jennifer Lawrence, and she’s a good actress I think, but she wasn’t right for this role in my opinion. Also, this movie could have used a REALLY aggressive edit; it felt about an hour too long. I hoped about three times that it was over but alas I was woefully mistaken. Woefully.

Sci-Fi Honey Rating:  I give this movie two Cringe-Inducing May/October Make-Out Sessions out of five. It was pretty, and so is Theo James. Meow.