Top 5 Warning Signs About “Divergent”

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by T.M. Burroughs

Divergent is a Young Adult book-turned-movie set in post-apocalyptic Chicago, where people are forced into segregated factions, and required to conform accordingly.  So far, no one has claimed the film is hinting at Common Core. Hint, hint.  Our children’s fixation with electronic communication comes into play, also.  These two, our federal education system paired with increased impersonal contact, are the methods used to dull our children’s senses and foster impulsive acting out (i.e. threats of violence and sexting).  We’re heading for a society of drones, addicted to electronic devices that fill in for flesh and blood friends, where you can hide behind a fictitious name and avatar, where you click on an emoticon to express feelings.  It’s a type of voluntary faction categorization, slash desensitizing.

Hat tip: New York Times

This [fictional] society makes no sense except as a metaphor. The social layout of Divergent was supposedly devised so as to maintain peace, but putting people into airtight factions guarantees conflict.

MileyCyrusDivergent may be set in the future, but the real, present world is brutal.  We’re in a pre-apocalypic society that pits kids against kids at school, puts them on guard with pedophile teachers, coaches, and priests; breaches their trust in celebrity role models like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. Kids face bullying, libel, harassment, isolation and peer pressure day in and day out.  They are inundated with mixed messages in the media about body image, and competence.  They see celebrities and role models rise and fall from grace due to a lack of self-control, self-esteem and healthy influences.  We live in a world where virtual popularity trumps actual praiseworthy virtues–where the number of “likes” and “shares” are more important than in-person interchanges of encouragement.

Teen idol DUI arrest --great role model.
Teen idol DUI arrest –great role model.

Hat tip: San Francisco Examiner

Divergent is a clumsy, humorless and shamelessly derivative sci-fi thriller set in a generically dystopian future.

How does all that relate to Divergent and what are the five warning signs?  Here they are:

#5  There are gaping holes in the story not satisfactorily bridged.  For this reason alone, you may want to save your $12 – 15.

#4 Divergent attempts to promote the theme of non-conformist thinking, but does so in a predictable manner, telling an overly familiar story with an unnaturally attractive cast enhanced by CGI.

#3 To really enjoy this movie, we are told to channel our inner 13-year-old girl.  Only actual 13-year-old girls should have 13-year-old girls inside.

#2 Divergent fills the screen with violent bullying, mass killings of unarmed people, bloody hand-to-hand combat, and abusive authority figures.  These are great images if you’re plotting revenge.

#1 Tris Prior, the female protagonist finds her inner strength, but along the way must become highly suspicious, guarded and poised to fight at all times.  These are great character traits if you want to become a highly suspicious, guarded fighter.


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