The first two films in the Divergent series both have plenty going on – romance, death and friendships. I was one of those people who read the books and was sceptical when I heard they were being made into films. In recent years; it feels like an increasing number of book series have been picked up by film companies in order to make money, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked both the films. No pressure for the third film then!
So far the films have elements not too dissimilar to that of Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games Trilogy’; a strong female lead, the segregation of people, a rebellion and a stellar cast featuring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller and Zoe Kravitz. The clear similarities were one of the reasons why I was so sceptical at first, being a huge fan of ‘The Hunger Games’ – and I don’t think the ‘Divergent Series’ will ever be as successful as ‘THG’.
In Divergent we are introduced to the futuristic world that was once the vibrant city of Chicago, and now it is a world shadowed by war and divided into the factions; Amity, Dauntless, Candor, Abnegation and Erudite. We meet Tris on the day she had to choose which faction to join, after her aptitude test revealed she is divergent. From there the rebellion begins as “what makes you different makes you dangerous.” The message being different is a bad thing is quite obviously played out through the film, without it there would be no storyline.
Insurgent continues on with the rebellion and leads to the discovery of a world beyond the wall, which sets up the next film. On the way there are many plot twists, attempting to keep the audience on their toes constantly, so just like Tris we don’t know who to trust. Unlike the first film most of the plot in this film is done through the use of ‘sims’ (simulations caused by injecting serum into a person). We spend a lot of time learning more about Tris’ character; her fears, her strengths, and not a lot of time in the real world. This does, however, mean that we can never be sure of whether something is real or not and therefore stay interested and invested in the film. One of her biggest battles is with herself – and this is played out in one of the simulations she is subjected to. This highlights the real life issue of making hard decisions and internally not knowing what is right or wrong.
My favourite character in the films so far is Peter (Miles Teller), regardless of the idea that the protagonist should be my favourite. I feel like Peter is the most honest out of everyone even though he is constantly switching sides and shows no loyalty for anyone except himself. In Divergent I disliked him as much as was intended by the writers, I only really began to like him in Insurgent.
Naturally the third book (‘Allegiant’) has been split into two parts – like most trilogy book adaptations at the moment, however the second part has a proper name Ascendant and will be released in 2017. One thing I like a lot are the titles of the films that are actually used in the films themselves; Tris is divergent, Tris and her friends are insurgents, allegiant is the name of a new faction and I am yet to discover what the connection is for ‘Ascendant’. The films appealed to me because of the post apocalyptic setting and the new science technology, for example the extensive use of serums as a way to control and categorise people.
For me I think this is one of those times where I prefer the books to the films by a long shot. That’s not to say the films are bad, I just prefer my imagination’s version of events when compared to how Neil Burger and Robert Schwentke have brought them to life.
Let’s hope the final two films are on par with the first two.