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PopFitLife has been lacking in the "pop" (as in pop culture) part lately, but that's changing today because I have a new obsession! If your life feels empty of popular young adult books turned box office hits now that the Twilight and Harry Potter series have ended, then Divergent is here to fill that void.
Divergent is the first novel in a trilogy written by Veronica Roth. It is set in a post-war world where, as far as we know, the only city left standing is a destroyed Chicago. The survivors created a new way of life which divided people into five categories (called factions) based off of their greatest personality traits. Abnegation are selfless. They run the government and help the homeless (known as "factionless"). Candor are honest. They oversee the judicial system. Amity are peaceful. They plant and gather the food. Erudite are intelligent. They seek knowledge and truth. They are the scientists and doctors. Lastly, Dauntless are brave. They are the police and protectors of the city.
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The books are written from the perspective of Beatrice, a 16-year old Abnegation girl. It begins with Beatrice taking her aptitude test. These tests tell people which faction is best for them, but ultimately, the choice is theirs. Beatrice's test results are inconclusive because her mind works in multiple ways. She is selfless, brave, kind, intelligent, and honest. Therefore, she is Divergent. Divergents are seen as a threat to the system because they cannot be easily controlled. If she wants to survive, she must hide this fact and fit into a faction as best as she possibly can.
On Choosing Day, Beatrice surprises everyone by leaving her family and friends to join the Dauntless faction (where she becomes known as Tris). Dauntless' initiation process, based on combat and overcoming one's fears, threatens to expose Tris as a Divergent. Throughout the process, she makes friends, enemies, and one super dreamy boyfriend, but is she willing to sacrifice it all and chance outing herself as a Divergent when she learns that her family and the rest of Abnegation are at risk of being attacked by another faction?
I'll never tell...
So I finished the novel in about .067 seconds and saw the movie as soon as I could. As with all films based off of popular books, I went into the theater a little nervous. Thankfully, the movie is just as amazing as the novel! Below are the five things I enjoyed most about Divergent:
Like Book, Like Movie: While the movie isn't exactly like the book (what movies are?!), it keeps all of the best parts. For example, the book is packed with action scenes, so it's great to see them played out on screen. One thing I wish the movie showed more of is the relationship between Tris and her rival, Peter. The movie showed that he was a jerk, but it didn't let the audience get a good grasp on how evil he truly is. Like the whole stabbing someone in the eye while they sleep peacefully thing...
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The Perfect Mix: I'm a huge fan of young adult books/movies, but sometimes they lack key elements in my opinion. I enjoy the love story of Twilight, but I think it's lacking in good action scenes. In addition, the main female character, Bella, isn't involved in the fight scenes at all. Actually, Edward and Jacob remove her from harms way all together by placing her on a mountain top so that she doesn't get hurt. #lame On the other hand, The Hunger Games has an amazingly strong lead female character, but the love story (or lack thereof...) is almost painful to read let alone watch on screen. Thankfully, Divergent has the best of both worlds! Not only does Tris kick butt (and do some other really awesome things such as zip line from the Willis Tower - formerly known as the Sears Tower - #NBD), but she also has a pretty adorable, lovey-dovey relationship with Four, her instructor for the Dauntless initiation process. I guess some people really can have it all...
Killer Soundtrack: Zedd. Ellie Goulding. M83. Snow Patrol. Pretty Lights. Skrillex. Banks. Enough said! I was living for the music while watching the movie. Totally worth the $14.99 on iTunes!
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The Cast: The cast is filled with great actors - Shailene Woodley, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Mekhi Phifer, and Kate Winslet. Ashley Judd is the perfect actress to play Tris' mother because she is always so plain yet beautiful at the same time. I just fell in love with Miles Teller after seeing That Awkward Moment, so it was weird seeing him play a bad guy in this film, but he did it well. Shailene and Miles have great chemistry together even though they hate each other in this movie. (It must stem from their work together in The Spectacular Now.) Last but not least, Kate Winslet has a small role (I'm assuming we will see more of her character later in the trilogy) as the evil Erudite Jeanine. I loved to hate her in this role. Her way about her really reminded me of a blond, evil Rose DeWitt Bukater. #titanicreference
Theo James: Theo gets his own mention, and you will understand why after watching this short clip:
As I sat in the theater, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Where has he been all my life?!" He did a great job playing Four - a guy that is equal parts badass and romantic. I hope we get to see a lot more of him in both the later films of the trilogy as well as in other movie rolls. #seriouseyecandy
I'm sure you all are on Fandango purchasing your Divergent movie tickets as you read this if you haven't seen it already. It definitely has my gold star of approval, and I'd recommend it to everyone whether you've read the books or not. But, go read the book first, people!
Stay fit and fabulous,