“Divergent” does not live up to high expectations

By Julia Pearl-Schwartz

Your eyes spring open.  You’re enclosed in a glass box, and after a spilt second you notice a hose on the floor shooting water into the box.  You will drown within minutes unless you can formulate a plan to escape.

This is an example of one of the tests that Tris (Shailene Woodley) must endure to prove she is “Dauntless” in the new movie “Divergent.”

The movie, based on Veronica Roth’s novel of the same name, premiered last Friday.  It has an intriguing premise, but the film drags on for too long and becomes bland.

Tris lives in a society in which people must choose to be a part of one of five factions: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Candor or Amity.

But when Tris takes an aptitude test to help make this impossible decision, she is deemed divergent: she could place in all five groups.  Because such people threaten society, the government concludes that they must be killed.

Consequently, Tris is determined to appear Dauntless (a faction known for being wild and risky).  But her Dauntless leader, Four (Theo James), is unconvinced. However, he happens to be divergent himself, which sparks a romance between the two.

Shailene Woodley in a scene from "Divergent." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Jaap Buitendijk)
Shailene Woodley in a scene from “Divergent.” (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Jaap Buitendijk)

While the idea for this movie is definitely interesting, it seems almost interminable. Sure, the beginning of the movie is mostly entertaining and the story kicks off well.

But as it continues, the plot becomes dull.  The only aspect keeping the movie moving is the potential relationship between Four and Tris.

And about halfway through the film, the plot becomes so complicated that it appears unsolvable (hence the endlessness).

A plot twist that should be captivating is really just irritating, because it involves so many different parties and story lines (spoiler alert)—Tris’ parents die, the faction system gets shaken up, the government starts to control the brains of Dauntless members, and Four becomes evil (for a little while).

And those are just a few of the problems depicted—too many factors combine to form an overwhelming plot that made me zone out while watching.

There were some aspects that I enjoyed, though.  Some parts of the movie are even inspirational.  I liked hearing the Dauntless leaders give pep talks about how fear should be exciting rather than inhibiting.

It was also entertaining to watch Tris train for Dauntless. But like the rest of the movie, this part of the story is overdone.

Despite the potential that this movie has, it doesn’t meet its high expectations.  It has an exciting premise, but fails to be sufficiently concise and entertaining.