A novel variation on the oppressive tyrannical dystopia, spliced with a Harry Potter-style private school coming-of-age story, and custom-tailored for teen audiences, Divergent offers enough novelty to keep the project from feeling entirely derivative, with only the occasional pander to teen drama.
My grade: B
Teenager grade: A
Her hair was distracting. Her long, thick, glowing, lustrous hair looks so beautiful throughout the movie- she's so busy being indoctrinated into a facist army, when does she find time to brush her hair 100 times before bedtime?
I liked the production design for the future society that has walled off what's left of Chicago. I appreciated how they don't really use the buildings that remain, but huddle in between them and below them, as if the past civilization's leftovers should be shunned. At the same time that the Divergent world seems to be a subsistence society, they have a working elevated train system, and someone's manufacturing brand new cars, weapons, computers, and chemical weapons.
I also didn't understand the tyrannical aspect of the society. Isn't there supposed to be a class of people who benefit from oppressing the other classes? It's obvious that some of the classes in this community are living a deprived life, but are the others benefiting from their status? It wasn't obvious what the bad guys are gaining in this world.
Also, as far as I can tell, this is one city with a couple thousand inhabitants, max. The stakes seem a little small. The powers that be say the city must remain walled off because "the rest of the world did not recover from the war" but what's really going on out there? Maybe the sequels will answer these questions. (On Demand with Emily and Sara)