Sci-Fi Divergent (movie trilogy)

astonwest

Writing Fool
Writer
Watched this one without having read the book (ironically, began reading a sample of the book later). Thought it was an okay film, although it pretty much follows the same theme I've seen in most of the other dystopian teen films, and was fairly predictable in all aspects.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
It was recommended to me that I read the books. Based upon the movie, do you think it'd be worth reading the books?
 

astonwest

Writing Fool
Writer
It was recommended to me that I read the books. Based upon the movie, do you think it'd be worth reading the books?

The sample that I read seemed like it would be...although I'm half-tempted to read the first installment on my Nook while in our local B&N (where you can read free for an hour). I've heard from a friend that it was a pretty quick read.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
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Divergent (2014) - IMDb

Set in a futuristic dystopia where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, teenagers have to decide if they want to stay in their faction or switch to another - for the rest of their lives. Tris Prior makes a choice that surprises everyone. Then Tris and her fellow faction-members have to live through a highly competitive initiation process to live out the choice they have made. They must undergo extreme physical and intense psychological tests, that transform them all. But Tris has a secret that she is Divergent, which means she doesn't fit into any one group. If anyone knew, it would mean a certain death. As she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly peaceful society, this secret might help her save the people she loves... or it might destroy her.


Wiki Page
Divergent (film) - Wikipedia

Official Site
DIVERGENT | Official Movie Site | Now Playing In Theaters

I have not seen this movie yet.
I also have not read any related literature.

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The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015) - IMDb


One choice can transform you-or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships. Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Wiki Page
Insurgent | Divergent Wiki | Fandom

Official Site
http://www.thedivergentseries.com/

I am not looking forward to this movie because I have not seen Divergent...yet.
Once I watch Divergent I will decide whether to continue watching the series or not.​
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Watched this one without having read the book (ironically, began reading a sample of the book later). Thought it was an okay film, although it pretty much follows the same theme I've seen in most of the other dystopian teen films, and was fairly predictable in all aspects.
That about sums up my same reaction after watching the movie this week. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. It is, though, very predictable.

The one question that I had watching the movie but was never answered is "What is that giant defense tower for?!". That question might be answered in the next movie, I just hope that it involves some giant King Kong like monster because it looks like it came right out of a set for one of the many King Kong movies or even the movie Monsters from a few years ago.
 

Anthony G Williams

Greybeard
Writer
Film: Divergent (2014)

This one slipped past me when it appeared in cinemas a year ago and I only found out about it when I saw an advert for the sequel, due for release soon. I hadn't heard of the novels it was based on either until I looked them up, and discovered that the young author (Veronica Roth) had won awards for her trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant) published in 2011-2013. I haven't yet read these, so had no particular expectations of the film. There are a few minor spoilers in this review.

The setting is a post-apocalyptic world in which civilisation is maintained in Chicago, kept separate from the mysterious dangers of the rest of the world by an enormous fence. Within the city, the population is divided into five factions depending on their personal attributes: Erudite (the intellectuals); Dauntless (fighters and peacekeepers); Abnegation (who help others and run the government); Candor (who always tell the truth) and Amity (the peaceful; farmworkers etc). Which faction they belong to is determined when they reach adulthood by a psychological test. Those unable to belong to any of these are known as the Factionless, and live on the fringe of society, surviving by begging. The purpose of dividing society in this way was to achieve stability but, at the beginning of the story, Erudite is stirring up discontent with Abnegation's rule.

Enter the heroine, Beatrice or Tris (Shailene Woodley), brought up in an Abnegation family, whose test is inconclusive; she is a Divergent, a rare personality type feared and hated by the others because they are unpredictable and ungovernable. She keeps her result secret and chooses to join Dauntless, where she is put through a tough training regime designed to weed out the uncommitted. She is surreptitiously helped through this by Four (Theo James) one of the trainers who takes an interest in her. The tension steadily mounts as the growing political crisis becomes interwoven with Tris's personal battle for survival.

Divergent is reminiscent of several other stories, most obviously The Hunger Games and the film Aeon Flux (reviewed on this blog), with a touch of Harry Potter and even echoes of Huxley's Brave New World; plot elements which seem to have been carefully selected to appeal to the target Young Adult audience, as no doubt will the rather simplistic good guys vs bad guys characterisation. While the story contains little in the way of original ideas, these disparate elements are mixed together quite effectively in a film which is well-paced and well-acted, and it held my attention throughout. Not a great film but a good one, and worth watching.


(This entry is cross-posted from my science-fiction & fantasy blog.)
 

astonwest

Writing Fool
Writer
I'd forgotten that the second movie in this trilogy was almost upon us until I saw an ad for it last night...oops.
 
I set off a firestorm on another site by asking if there was "Dystopia Now?" In Divergent they have people divided by personality traits - abnegation, dauntless, etc. I gave the example of Romney characterizing forty-nine percent of the American public as "takers" to an audience of donors who he was, ironically, going to "take" money from. Nobody in that room said a word, was divergent, or indicated in any way or walked out to protest what was clearly unfair stere0typing. People saw what I said as "political" - not as a statement that dystopic fiction is supposed to be futuristic and more exaggerated and more polarized than the present, not less.

On a another site I put up a quiz. Answers were 3 people have the wealth of the 48 least developed countries - 85 people have the wealth of half the world's population - one in seven children go to bed hungry worldwide at the same time the top one percent worldwide have seen their income rise 60 percent. I was attacked for being "political" by people who said "let the rich keep their money." It didn't matter that I stated I wasn't suggesting anybody had to give any money. People see what they want to see.

I was horrified to see George Will this week write an op-ed that said income equality "benefited everybody." World banks who have no political ax to grind and only care where the money is and who has it so they can get some report some "winners" and "losers" in the past years of income inequality. Indian and China's middle class have had their income increase while at the same time the middle class in America's income has remained the same or dropped. Will mentioned in his convoluted op-ed workers making two dollars and fifty cents in China and billionaires, but there is no mention of middle classes, with good reason. I wrote him a letter saying he should be ashamed of himself. Don't get me wrong. I don't think globalization is bad. I think it's inevitable. It just doesn't have to be done the way it is being done and hurt so many people. On the same page was another op-ed that told about American workers who were forced to train their replacements or they wouldn't get any severance pay. This is a slave mentality that reeks in Will's op-ed. Will more than insinuates that everybody should leave the management of the economy to those who used "skill" to gain their wealth. Threatening people's severance pay doesn't take skill - it takes the mind of a slave owner. Anyhow, those skilled workers are moving from steaks to hamburgers. They are victims, but their children won't go hungry.Sadly the number of children of less skilled American workers going to bed hungry each night is very close to the number of children going to bed hungry each night worldwide. Will's 100 percent stereotyping of income inequality as "benefiting everybody" doesn't put food in the mouths of hungry American children who are living HUNGER GAMES more than the great American dream.

I don't expect an answer from George Will, but I could be wrong.
Unfortunately some people take his one hundred percent stereotyping as gospel, and that is definitely wrong.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
@Ken Hollar I can split a new 'politics' thread if anybody would like but in the interim.... yeah, I think pretty much that we are facing a dystopian future and we are going down that slippery path towards wealth and/or race class warfare a few generations down the line.
 

Tom

An Old Friend
I just watched Insurgent. If it had been a book I would have threw it away. The whole story could have happened in 1 hr but there was so much fluff inbetween even the movie made me yawn. I liked the technology as depicted but the ending was no real shocker - had that figured out in the first movie.

My rating....Meh
 

Anthony G Williams

Greybeard
Writer
Film: Insurgent (2015)

The sequel to Divergent, reviewed here in February, this continues the series of films based on the trilogy by Veronica Roth. To quote from that review:

The setting is a post-apocalyptic world in which civilisation is maintained in Chicago, kept separate from the mysterious dangers of the rest of the world by an enormous fence. Within the city, the population is divided into five factions depending on their personal attributes: Erudite (the intellectuals); Dauntless (fighters and peacekeepers); Abnegation (who help others and run the government); Candor (who always tell the truth) and Amity (the peaceful; farmworkers etc). Which faction they belong to is determined when they reach adulthood by a psychological test. Those unable to belong to any of these are known as the Factionless, and live on the fringe of society, surviving by begging. The purpose of dividing society in this way was to achieve stability but, at the beginning of the story, Erudite is stirring up discontent with Abnegation's rule.

By the end of that film (spoiler warning, in case you haven't seen it) the heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley), who tested as a hated Divergent personality type with characteristics of all of the others, has been caught up in the coup staged by Jeanine, the leader of Erudite (Kate Winslet), but has escaped to a farming community at the outskirts of the city.

Insurgent starts a few days later, with Tris plotting with her boyfriend Four (Theo James) to overthrow and kill Jeanine in revenge for her parents who died in the coup. What follows is a series of running battles as Tris, Four and friends try to recruit support from Dauntless and the Factionless while Jeanine is trying to capture Tris for her own nefarious purposes.

As is usual with mid-trilogy films (although the movie version is following the now established practice, after Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, of splitting the final book into two films), Insurgent suffers from having no beginning. It does at least reach a provisional conclusion, while setting up the next instalment. I was not as impressed with this film as I was with the last one, with the one visual highlight being a virtual scene in which Tris fights to rescue her mother from a burning building which is flying over the city; I was reminded of the mid-air fight scene in Star Trek into Darkness, but if anything this one is better. However, there isn't much else to point to here which is new from the first film.

I note that while Divergentwas critically well received, Insurgenthas not been, despite a strong performance from Woodley. I didn't think it was as bad as most of the critics say and don't doubt that most viewers who enjoyed the first film will like this one, but I hope that the next instalment has more in the way of new content.


(This entry is cross-posted from my science-fiction & fantasy blog.)
 
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