Y.A. (Young Adult) novels have been fertile ground for films, with many stand-alone hits as well as such huge franchises as Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games.
Divergent is made with the express hope of being another one of these tent-pole series. However, for every one of these which achieves lift-off, there are many others which become huge misfires – such as I Am Number Four, The Golden Compass and Cirque du Freak.
It is hard to say exactly what it is that makes some of these series take off. In the long run, I suppose, it is just a question of how much you are attracted to the universe the film portrays.
And, to be completely honest, I can’t think of many more God-forsaken places than the world of Divergent. I wouldn’t ever, even for a second, want to live there. In fact, spending over two hours there in the theater was like doing hard time.
Divergent is yet another post-Apocalyptic world, where war has ravaged the main city (which looks like Chicago) which is now mostly a ruin. The world has turned into an odd mishmash of primitiveness and technology, despite the fact that they still seem to have electricity and many modern conveniences – trains (though for some reason, they never seem to stop, you have to get on by hopping on like a hobo), guns, trucks, computers and mind-altering drugs.
Yet the human race seems to live like savages.
Okay. Yeah. Whatever.
The clever catch in the universe of Divergent is that all of the people in the film’s world are broken down into five castes which are defined by their personal attributes: Erudite (intellectuals), Dauntless (strong and brave), Abnegation (charitable and humble), Amity (peaceful) and Candor (honesty).
Each group plays a part in the vast tapestry of this world, keeping it a (supposed) utopia.
Of course, if sci-fi has taught us anything, it has shown us that there is no such thing as a perfect utopia.