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Movie Review: Divergent

So Divergent is one of those cases where the book and the movie are kind of the same thing, but you pick up on whole different aspects of them. For instance, with the book I never quite bought the world-building, but it was a heckuva page-turner, so you could put things aside and not have to think about them. With the movie, you don't notice it as much because it's about as believable as, say, someone deciding to build a ginormous fence around Chicago being a good idea or defensible. (Seriously, it's a fence. Not even a tall wire fence like say between Texas and Mexico, I mean this multi-story affair that also has gaps big enough for multiple people to walk through. It looks cool, but WHAT IS THE POINT?!

I digress a lot. Okay, so in this world teenagers have to decide what virtue-faction they are going to be in the rest of their lives (because life-changing decisions at 17 have always worked out well for everyone). If you're a nerd you're in Erudite and do sciencey things, if you're nice you get to be in Amity and farm, if you're honest you're in Candor (Scott was greatly entertained that the honest people are the lawyers), if you're Amish I mean Quaker I mean just very selfless and into public service and truly ugly clothes you're in Abnegation, and if you're into metal and piercings and tats and cops/military you're Dauntless (that was one of the great things that bemused me in the book but really didn't work for me visually: the people with the most piercings were also the ones who were in constant melee combat, because that ALSO works SO WELL). And if you somehow totally fail out of life I mean the factions, then you get to be dirty and homeless (maybe the author's a republican? I got nothin') forever the end.

PLOT-TWIST! The heroine is Divergent, someone who can be MANY THINGS ALL AT THE SAME TIME, and so CANNOT BE CONTROLLED BY THE STATE! And so she tries to blend in and stuff, and passing the tests so she can be Dauntless and get tats and not be homeless is really important. Oh, another thing that seemed like a good idea at the time was also pumping teenagers with hallucinogenic substances so the PTB can analyze their dreams and know who they are. And stuff. Because reasons.

Now when I was reading the book a few years ago I mentally hiccuped over the relationship our heroine, Tris, develops with her Dauntless-teacher-trainer person, Four. If I recall, in the book she is 17 and he is like 19 or 20, so it's like....okay, I find the power in this relationship uneven at first, but....NO ONE IN THE BOOK IS BOTHERED BY IT AT ALL, so I guess the 10 week training thing is...manageable? Because after that they'll be equals? (Again, nothin'.) But watching the movie...they made the actress up so that she looks maybe 15 and the dude up so that he looked 27, which EW! EW! EW! Don't get me wrong, he's totally smokin' hot, but EW! I checked IMDB and they actually only have a 7 year age difference so they are both in their 20s, but STILL.

(I also came away from this movie with a minor crush on Zoe Kravitz who was so teeny with such cute hair in this movie, OMG. The girls' friendship was one of the best things in this movie.)

Okay, other things about the film that annoyed me:

*The trains! The trains with seemingly no drivers that are also passenger trains without actual platforms and--okay, does no one actually run these things?? I mean, I imagined while reading the book that it was post-apocalytpic world where we had developed really cool automatic trains or something, but nope, these were just good old Chicago trains. That went by themselves. Somehow?

*The guns! Some of which look like 1950s ray-guns with six-shooter thingies, and some were really big regular small arms, and some were really ginormous video-game style machine guns. There's a lot of violence/suggested violence and I think they maybe used the weird looking guns to somehow get a PG rating.

*Back to the trains! At the end they're escaping on a train where they'll go "all the way to the last stop" and see what lies beyond. Because...you could always do this before but no one ever did? Because reasons? ... I told Scott that the best ending would be they get all the way to the end and find the rest of the country carrying on like normal. "Yeah, Chicago went kinda crazy. It was a March Madness thing, we think? Yeah, we sort of forgot about you guys. Huh. Well, you're teenagers, would you like to go to a real school now?"

*Actually said ending didn't even make too much sense because they were clearly trying to hedge their bets and have some narrative closure in case they didn't get a sequel, but totally didn't want to do tons of rewriting in case they DID get a sequel. So, awkward. Now, in the book, this is what turned me off, because a lot of dramatic sudden stuff suddenly happens in like the last 25 pages, whereas in the movie they set that up pretty neatly so it just becomes the third act. So that was an improvement.

Final verdict? It was some fun cheeseball.

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