Divergent scores of talent, action

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Allison Case '14, Asst. Sports Editor

I love to read the books before seeing the movies. No matter what movie it is, I will always buy the book, race through it, and then join the slowly increasing fandom leading up to the film release. I did it with Twilight and again with The Hunger Games. With Divergent, I was prepared to be blown away.

The story itself focuses on a future society where society is broken up into five factions based on certain qualities they possess. Candor is for the honest, Amity is for the kind, Abnegation is for the selfless, Erudite is for the intelligent and Dauntless is for the brave. As Tris turns 16, she is required to take a test to determine which faction she should actually be in to help benefit society: however, her results are inconclusive. Tris does not fit into any one faction, known as being a Divergent.

Not much is known about the “Divergent” label until the end of the film, but it is clear that letting others know is dangerous. Looking to hide her true identity, Tris leaves her family behind and goes on a journey of self-discovery in Dauntless, before learning the truth behind the society she finds herself in and why her “Divergent” status is so threatening to the system.

To some extent, I was blown away. The scenery surrounding the film was breathtaking. Creating Chicago into a Dystopian wasteland is no easy task, but Divergent succeeds in every aspect. The first few minutes of the film, you are drawn into this mysterious land and feel like this run-down version of the Windy City is indeed real.

While first skeptical about the cast, their performances shocked me. Shailene Woodley, previously known for her stint on The Secret Life of the American Teenager as a pregnant teenage band geek, brings her acting chops to a new level, transforming from a shy, selfless Abnegation member into a tougher Dauntless fighter. While she doesn’t completely sell the transformation, she does just enough to prove that she is worthy of taking on the tough role.

Theo James, British hottie, is everything we thought Four, Tris’ love interest, would be. He is tough, protective, mysterious…and especially gorgeous. He delivers Four’s intimidating nature without a hitch. Kate Winslet also stars as baddie Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews and stuns in a role I never thought she could master. We’ve seen both sweet and dramatic sides of her, but her performance as the ruthless and manipulative leader of Erudite proves that her acting is truly Oscar-worthy. Never again will I question Winslet after seeing her intimidate Tris in an epic staredown in Erudite headquarters.

The action in the film draws you in, making you root for Tris to succeed, no matter how tiny and weak she is compared to the others. It is truly an underdog story, as Tris fights to be ranked in order to keep her status in the Dauntless complex. And the action isn’t always just concentrated in fights with others. In fact, the most stimulating part of the movie is seeing Tris go through her fear landscape, a simulation that displays her worst fears. Going into the mind of different Dauntless members allows for another level in the movie, showing that bravery is not just on the outside, but on the inside as well.

Not only do the characters and action shine, but the soundtrack delivers on all levels. Dropping beats from Ellie Goulding and Zedd, as well as other EDM stars, the music brings a futuristic feel to the entire film, while also complimenting all the action that occurs in the Dauntless compound.

As a fan of the book, there were obvious differences missing in the film that I considered important. Even though several aspects of the film were stunning, there were also disappointing moments. Neither Tris and Four truly seem to exemplify the bravery and bad-ass lifestyle that you expect from Dauntless. The other initiates play much smaller roles in the film then they do in the books.

With all these differences aside, Director Neil Burger crams all he can to stay true to the novel in a two hour and 20 minute spam. When adapting a book, that’s all you can ask for. With action, romance and self-discovery, this film is a must-see, whether or not you’ve read the book.

4 out of 5 Dolphins