Will Divergent be the next young adult film series to take the country by storm? Smart and action packed, it looks like it has a fighting chance to be the next Hunger Games or Ender’s Game, movies that take a look at a dystopian future where children are at the center of a deadly narrative. This new featurette showcases the action and story from the upcoming film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s bestselling YA book series.
While the film looks like it might be a winner, there’s no telling if audiences are looking at Divergent like it is the next big thing, or if we’re in for another Beautiful Creatures, Mortal Instruments, or The Host. Summit Entertainment is approaching the film in the same way as Lionsgate did with The Hunger Games. Both are based on best-selling YA franchises, both star an indie actor making their way to the mainstream (Divergent’s Shailene Woodley to The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence), and both feature a dystopian society with a strict ruling class. The studio even placed the film in the same release slot that launched The Hunger Games to such great heights.
Last week, the first teaser trailer appeared during the MTV Video Music Awards. While the trailer is thrilling and action-packed, I’m not completely sold on the film itself. They’ve made it look too much like The Hunger Games, only with slick and glossy veneer. This approach is so well worn at this point that it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
Hopefully, I’m wrong and the film has its own legs to stand on, but for now I’ll remain skeptical about this one. But to be fair, most people didn’t think The Hunger Games was going to be any good, and director Gary Ross and company surprised the naysayers. Maybe Divergent can do the same. Summit definitely thinks they have something, and have already commissioned a screenplay for the Divergent sequel, titled Insurgent. The movie studio hired screenwriter Brian Duffield (Jane Got a Gun) to adapt follow up, if the first one turns out to be a box office success.
Divergent is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago where people are separated into five distinct factions: Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Citizens are divided based on dominant personality traits, but some people are unique and cannot be classified. These people are called “Divergent” and have no place in society. The story follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley) who must choose to stay with her family in the Abnegation faction, or find a new place. When she’s discovered to be Divergent, she must figure out how to stay alive.
Neil Burger (Limitless) directs, while Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs) co-wrote the screenplay. Divergent stars Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Tony Goldwyn, Ashley Judd, and Mekhi Phifer as Max, and hits theaters everywhere March 21, 2014.