Fresh off the financial success of "young adult" movie franchises Twilight and The Hunger Games, the studios responsible for those sagas are at it again with a new flick, Divergent.
Showing in cinemas today, Divergent, based on the novel of the same name by American writer Veronica Roth, stars a brave heroine fighting for freedom and survival in a post-apocalyptic Chicago-of-the-future. In the film, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation for the selfless, Amity for the peaceful, Candor for the honest, Dauntless for the brave and Erudite for the knowledgeable.
What faction a person falls in is determined by a personality test taken at the age of 16. Tris Prior (played by newcomer Shailene Woodley) takes the test, but she turns out to be the titular "divergent," a rare category that means her skills don't fit neatly with any of the aforementioned categories. This also means that she has the potential of breaking the order of a society, thus making her a target for lady-in-charge, Jeanine Matthews (played by Kate Winslet).
With all this talk about fearless female leads, tyrannical leaders of society, and the upending of the world order, it can't be helped for Divergent to be compared to The Hunger Games. Here we take a look at the elements of both series and see how both fare.
1) The Femme Fatales
Katniss Everdeen became a symbol of girl power with Jennifer Lawrence giving the character a certain, spunky edge. She's deadly with the bow and arrow, and has been able to adapt to lethal situations fast even if in the back of her head, all she really wants is to return home to her mother and sister.
Beatrice "Tris" Prior, by looks alone, scores points in our book as played by the lovely Shailene Woodley. Like Katniss, she begins the series like a deer trapped in the headlights, but her instincts and smarts should take her places. How far? Well we'll have to see how the latter films develop.
Who gets our vote? We're still in love with Jennifer Lawrence but Shailene definitely has tremendous potential.
2) The Guy Sidekicks
By our last count, Katniss has boy wonder Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and the brawnier Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) both looking to get hot with the Girl On Fire. Both have proven to be pivotal to Katniss's development.
Tris will be assisted by Tobias "Four" Eaton (Theo James) who serves as the instructor in the separatist faction Dauntless for all initiates born outside of the faction. Tris falls in love with Four, who seems to be more skilled in the ways of killing people than Katniss's sidekicks combined.
Who gets our vote? We like intriga so we're still going for the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale.
3) The Evil, Big Bosses
President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is about as scary as Game Of Thrones's King Joffrey and is every bit the psychotic megalomaniac as that tiny king. He's one of cinema's most famous dictators today, and is skilled in the arts of propaganda and fear-mongering.
Divergent has Jeanine Matthews, evil genius and a dangerous woman with an ambition to control Chicago, who doesn't balk at using her power to get what she wants even if it means starting a war.
Who gets our vote? Jeanine Matthews of course. We ain't about to pick an old geezer over Kate Winslet!
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