Divergent is the latest challenger to The Hunger Games, which is sitting firmly atop the throne of lucrative young adult novel adaptations right now. However, most of the film’s marketing thus far has been focused on explaining the class structure and social constructs featured in the dystopian setting – a world where people are segregated into five different factions based on their personal traits – and portrayed in the original book, written by Veronica Roth; as opposed to, highlighting the film’s action/drama.
The latest theatrical preview changes tactics a bit, by laying out the narrative in a more conventional fashion. Moreover, the new trailer does a commendable job of showcasing elements like the order of things in the futuristic setting, key supporting characters and the requisite love interest for heroine Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior (Shailene Woodley) – in the form of a tattooed hunky warrior named ‘Four’ (Theo James) – without spilling too many secrets about the Divergent movie (no pun intended) in the process.
For those who are still catching up, Divergent reveals what happens to young Tris, after she discovers that she is the rare individual who doesn’t belong in any one specific group of society in her ordered, yet restrictive world. Oscar-winner Kate Winslet plays Jeanine Matthews, the President Snow-esque authoritative figure (a la The Hunger Games) in the story, who recognizes the danger that Divergents pose to the continuation of the new world order (and even how that could be used to her advantage…).
The latest Divergent promo wisely avoids delving into the more complex specifics of the series’ mythos – as well as social commentary inherent to Roth’s source material – in favor of the straightforward coming of age and good vs. bad aspects of the film. On that front, screenwriters Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs) – in addition to director Neil Burger (Limitless) – seem to have done a perfectly competent (if somewhat underwhelming) job of bringing Divergent to the big screen.
Bigger problem is, the Divergent marketing campaign has (arguably) yet to make the kind of strong impression that will convince newcomers to the franchise that this is more than just a Hunger Games-inspired knockoff, made on a smaller budget. No doubt, Roth’s books have a dedicated fan base, but this past summer The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones proved that YA movie adaptations have to (at least) seem like they’re not derivative of other popular franchises; that is, if they want to bring in a sizable audience (something the executives behind Divergent very much want).
Drop us a line in the comments section and let us know if you’re interested in seeing Divergent, based on the trailer footage shown thus far.
Divergent opens in regular and IMAX theaters on March 21st, 2014.