Hey there, all you ravenous young adult fiction fans out there. As if it isn’t enough that this month sees the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Summit Entertainment’s adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent has been super active recently, despite the fact that the movie doesn’t open until March. Yesterday there was a new poster, and today sees the release of a shiny new trailer for the next entry into the dystopian teen sci-fi sweepstakes. Are kids these days just chronically depressed? If their fiction is any indication, the younger among us have a seriously bleak outlook.
All in all, this trailer doesn’t look too bad. There are definite attempts to make equate this movie with The Hunger Games—from the overall aesthetic, to that moment with Shailene Woodley and Ashley Judd that simply screams Katniss getting ready for the Reaping—but there are worse things to emulate, especially if you hope to launch a new hit franchise.
The set-up is standard stuff for this genre. There’s a jacked-up world full of corrupt politicians who say things like, “the future belongs to those who know where they belong,” and people who blindly follow the herd without giving it a second thought. Someone has to step up, pull back the curtain, and let everyone know how terrible things really are; someone has to lead them, and why not young Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley)?
In a futuristic Chicago, the population is divided into five groups based on five different personality traits—there’s Daunteless (brave), Erudite (smart), Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), and Candor (honest)—and you take a test at 16 that determines which faction you belong to, and hence, shape your entire future. When Tris gets her results it turns out she’s Divergent, with equal affinity for multiple groups, and that’s something of a problem. People like Tris throw the whole system into question, and she has to uncover a devious plot in what, on the surface, appears to be a perfect world.
This video offers us a deeper look at the world of Divergent than we’ve seen so far. There’s the usual stern officials, led by Kate Winslet, and some ominous words from Maggie Q that indicate Tris is in deep trouble, but we get a little more. You catch a glimpse of the intense psychological tests the teens undergo as part of the sorting process, as well as some of the Dauntless training, which is designed to breed mental as well as physical toughness. Training appears to mostly involve fighting and jumping off of things.
You also start to suspect that maybe Four (Theo James), the hunky love interest, is also Divergent. If not, he at least sympathizes. As his tattoos explain, he doesn’t want to be just one thing, and that seems to be the point the story is getting at, that you can be all of these things at once, and that no matter how anyone else defines you, you are your own person. Simple? Yes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pull it off.
One promising element from this trailer is that, though familiar, the world actually looks pretty good. It’s suitably scuffed up, but director Neil Burger and company appear to have put their own unique spin to make it stand out. And you get your first close up look at the big wheel, which figures prominently into one of the movie’s big action pieces, so there’s that to look forward to.
Divegent opens wide March 21, 2014.