Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.
This past weekend, the first teaser trailer for Divergent premiered. I enjoyed the book by Veronica Roth and it’s sequel, and am eagerly anticipating the final book in the series, so I’m excited to see how it will translate to the big screen. Watch the trailer below, and then read on for my thoughts.
This teaser only gives us a vague sense of Divergent, without offering much to the audience beyond the Hunger Games-esque feeling of a female protagonist in a violent, dystopian world. The idea of a world where humanity is divided into factions based on desirable attributes is nowhere to be seen, nor is any explanation of what it means to be “Divergent”. That’s not to say that the trailer has nothing to offer, but to fans of the book who are hoping to sell the general public on the story, there has to be a bit of disappointment.
That’s not to say that the trailer isn’t good. It opens with Kate Winslet’s Jeanine Matthews, the leader of the Erudite faction, explaining to the graduating teenagers that “the future belongs to those who know where they belong.” It’s clear that the people who put together the trailer want to play up their star talent, and it seems like Jeanine’s role in the first film has been bulked up a bit from the first book. We hear Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley) worrying about having to decide the rest of her future, along with her being told by the mysterious Tori (Maggie Q) that she “doesn’t fit into a category. They can’t control you. They call it ‘Divergent’.”
We get a glimpse of Tris’s faction at the beginning of the story, Abnegation, with its grey and ordinary buildings and outfits, all designed to inspire humility and abnegation among its members. We also see sections of the the Dauntless base which seems to be, at least visually, wildly different from what I envisioned while reading the story. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a change. I envisioned Dauntless as much more organic and rough, and instead we have a recurring square, blue lighting theme, which seems more in line with most standard futuristic settings these days. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
We don’t hear a lot from our heroine, though we do get a good deal of Four, played by Theo James. He looks suitably muscular, though it’s hard to tell from this brief clip how the characterizations will turn out. Most of the dialogue comes from Winslet, who explains that Tris is a threat without exactly explaining why. It’s enough to understand in this short trailer that Tris is different from everyone else, both in that she doesn’t belong and that she’s not as interested as everyone else in trying to belong.
It’s interesting that we hear very little from Tris in this trailer. As I said in my review of the book, the story’s universe is interesting but the plot had some structural issues, but what really drew me in was Tris. To me, she was a more complex character than someone like Katniss from The Hunger Games, who only seemed to have one emotional state. The two women share many similar traits, but Tris is more expressive and conflicted (at least when comparing to The Hunger Games and Catching Fire… Katniss is very different in Mockingjay). But instead of hearing from Tris in this trailer, we get quick flashes of some of her biggest moments from the book.
We see her bold leap of faith in her first moments among the Dauntless:
We see her leap from a train (there’s a lot of leaping, but it’s important to the character):
We even get a flash of one of the more harrowing moments in the book, as Tris is attacked in a sickening way:
The trailer ends with what is one of the book’s most memorable scenes. Tris is forced to stand and have knives thrown at her, in a tense moment with a lot at stake. It’s here at the end that we also hear a bit of the Tris we know from the books, as she says, “Don’t try and define me.” If there’s one driving force behind the books, that’s it. I love the look she gives after her ear is nicked by the knife. It’s the defiant look of someone rising to a challenge. It’s the sort of look that gives me hope that they can actually pull this film off. There’s still a long way to go until March, with the final book in the series due to be released between now and then. But while this trailer might not have been all I might have wanted, there’s still plenty of time, and what we’ve seen so far looks good to me.
What do you think? Does Divergent look interesting to you? If you’ve read the book, what were you most excited to see and what do you wish they had shown? If you haven’t, did the trailer catch your interest or do you still have more questions? Let me know in the comments!