You have a choice to make.
Once your choice is made, you cannot change it. You must see it through until your dying
day. That’s the way of life in a sci-fi dystopia consisting of Candor, Dauntless, Amity,
Abnegation, and Erudite, five factions that are designed to define who you truly are. You
can choose only one.
I have a secret.
I have been carrying it around for quite some time. I could endanger myself and those I
love if it ever leaks out into the open.
I have no choice.
Candor has injected me with a truth serum. The more I hold back, the more excruciating
the substance becomes. My pre-screening produced staggering results. I’m unable to fit
in with any of faction.
I am…Oh my God, this hurts…"Divergent."
*...runs for cover…*
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you to your seat.
Today, I’m going to compare "Divergent" to "Insurgent." Both are based on a best-selling
novel series composed by Veronica Roth. I’ll also be comparing them to other books and
Each film has a different director, Neil Burger and Robert Schwentke.
"Divergent", the first installment of the series focuses on conformity, obligation and the
intolerance of anything unusual or unknown. Anything that deviates from the five factions
is seen as a serious threat. People’s thoughts and actions are regulated by “the
establishment,” a totalitarian dictatorship, in other words, that seeks to eradicate the
faults and differences of human nature. The establishment is run by Janine, the main
antagonist, played by Kate Winslet. Couldn’t either the author or the filmmakers have
chosen a name more befitting of a female villain? Why Janine? Why not Rachel or Vicky?
Coincidentally, the trope of a high authority imposing mandatory ideals onto its citizens is
hardly original. It was heavily featured in George Orwell’s 1984. Might Roth and Burger
have borrowing from Orwell’s material without realizing it? Perhaps, but they got away
with this by putting a slightly different slant on the story. The characters are given an
opportunity to exercise free-will in choosing from one of the five factions.
Does this sound intense?
If so, you’ve taken your first step toward sympathizing for Tris Pryor, the main character
played by Shailene Woodley, as she is mentally and physically tested in Dauntless. The
more Tris endures, the greater the risk that her secret will be revealed.
Robert Schwentke collaborated with Veronica Roth to incorporate a darker tone to
Insurgent. Although the theme of control carries through in the second film, it is only
secondary to survival in an apocalyptic world.
Exposed as divergent and guilty of initiating an insurgency against the establishment, Tris
becomes a fugitive and is constantly hunted. She recruits the help of remaining faction
members to overthrow Janine.
I applaud the sequel for its increased gripping intensity and enhanced visual effects, most
of which can be seen during the simulation sequences where Tris is forced to face her
What bothered me about the movie was that instead of learning that an insurgency took
place I would rather have seen and experienced it. That would have granted more
meaning to the title.
I wish the film hadn’t relied on the cliché of an antagonist demanding that the would-be
conspirators hand over the main protagonist or else. Notorious Lord Voldemort used this
exact same tactic in "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2". Several villains before
him have used this strategy in other novels and pictures. It’s hard not to borrow or in
some cases steal from other books or movies. I know that. There are, after all, only thirty-
six plots to choose from on an Edgar Wallace Plot Wheel. One can always choose to make
their tropes and clichés a little less obvious, however.
Comparing "Divergent" to "Insurgent" is difficult. Both follow and demonstrate a
captivating plot, are rich in theme and character development and cause the viewer to
grip their arm-wrests in suspense.
*…assuming a thinker’s pose…*
Both have their merits.
Tris Pryor underwent a major arc as a fugitive in "Insurgent." There were many scenes
that caused my heart to leap into my throat. Ultimately, I’m going to have to say
"Divergent" is the better movie. I identified with Tris on a more personal level when she
was struggling with her self-actualization. I found her trials and tribulations in Dauntless
more moving and stimulating. She suffered greater losses, which causes me to care about
her even more in the first film.
I'm the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you out of following this regime.
Do you agree with my review? Which do you think is the better movie and
Let me know in the comments section.
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