Adding to the almost overflowing list of young adult book adaptations that are trying to capitalize on The Hunger Games and Twilight success, comes another contender in Divergent. Directed by Neil Burger (Limitless), and written by two on the rise screenwriters, Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs), this has potential to be a major franchise. Based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, the film takes place in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into five factions based on their personalities. A teenage girl learns that she doesn’t fit into any of the five, instead being ‘Divergent’, which means she matches to multiple factions. She would soon discover that the seemingly perfect society has a sinister plot brewing. In the lead is Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now), followed by up-and-comer Theo James (Golden Boy), as well as more established stars such as Ray Stevenson (Rome), Kate Winslet (Titanic), and Maggie Q (Nikita). The trailer debuted at the VMA pre-show, and is only about a minute long, offering just a quick glimpse of what’s to come, check it out:
Knowing very little about the books, I have to say that it reminds me a whole lot of The Hunger Games. Not story wise, but simply aesthetically it looks very similar: the gray army camps, the overly colored-high tech city, as well as the fight training. Also, the recent saturation of YA novels made into films has really made these adaptations feel like cash-ins, but hopefully that is not the case here. That being said, the cast isn’t simply a bunch of good-looking stars. There are some good-looking stars that can act. Especially after seeing The Spectacular Now, which I highly recommend, Woodley has the acting chops to rock a summer franchise film like this, similar to Jennifer Lawrence. The story seems neat with a nice social commentary atop the action, but the biggest worry has to be the love story that is clearly hinted at. These types of films all have them, so fingers-crossed that it isn’t too sappy in this flick. Plus having Kate Winslet in a villainous role is always a plus.
The film is due out March 21st next year so we’ll see how it all turns out in the end. Hopefully more Hunger Games and less Twilight for the masses.