I really had little interest in checking out Divergent until I read the blog of Veronica Roth. Turns out she is a fairly vocal Christian. Somehow, knowing the creator of Divergent is a young twenty something Christian who does not hide her faith intrigued me. What kind of story might this be? A good one by the size of crowd that attended a late night, mid-week movie instead of some other Las Vegas entertainment… As an added bonus, it’s the first movie based on a NY Times best seller that I can enjoy BEFORE the book! First, let me say that the movie is very entertaining. The story of a dystopian future society where control is achieved through some form of government plan be it drugs that oppress emotions or in this case, factions that control who we are for the rest of our lives is not a new story. But Roth did a good job of building a story that takes familiar elements and turns them into a fun read for the young adult, at least as far as the movie adaption goes.
While I doubt this movie will be a top pick for me this year, it certainly held my attention for the 2+ hour duration and I walked out with a smile on my face. After plopping down $24 to see it with my wife, I would do it again. However, that may be partly due to the fact we saw it in Las Vegas so compared with $200+ for a stage show, a movie was welcome budget entertainment. I am also happy to see a fairly decent opening weekend for Divergent. It’s no Twilight, but it performed a lot better than some other adaptions recently (Beautiful Creatures, Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, etc). And deservedly so, as I for one am excited by a young adult novel that does not use mythical creatures, witch craft, or some other pagan means to garner the interest of the audience. Instead, we are given an enjoyable story where our heroine must rise against a corrupt system to free her family and friends from tyranny and prove there is something better to live for. Ultimately knowing what the future holds will require a sequel as Divergent is the first of a trilogy.
Knowing the author is an outspoken Christian might have you hoping for Christian themes, but Roth was clear from the start that she would not use the Divergent series to evangelize the reader. Still the movie deals with a common Christian question, how do we get rid of sin (in this case eliminate undesirable human traits). In Divergent, the drive of the antagonist is to ensure that society never reverts back to undesirable traits but what she fails to realize, it never got rid of them. Much like sin, we have no ability to control or eliminate it by human means. And while the movie does not provide the solution to the problem, thankfully the bible does. For God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. For if while we were sinners we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. That is the good news! It is not up to humans to solve the sin problem, for God has already solved it in Jesus Christ!
4 out of 7 – The movie is rated PG13 primarily for thematic elements and violent action and is a relatively safe movie for the younger crowd and introduces good questions to enjoy over desert after the movie (how do we control bad behaviors in society, what faction would you choose, is control worth any cost?).