Divergent Trailer: Why it Just Doesn’t Work for Me

I’ve already made my feelings clear about the new Divergent trailer. It’s too clean. Too pretty. It doesn’t really dig into what the story is actually about nor who Tris really is. Mostly, for me, it is latching on to three main concepts- the story conceit (which is convulated and really should have been kept to a minimum in the trailer), the romance and Tris is a badass because she has knives thrown at her and can fight.

The problem is this really isn’t the most compelling elements of the story. Tris isn’t a badass because she can wield a gun. She was a strong person long before she joined Dauntless. She makes the choice of leaving her faction and training to become Dauntless, leaving behind her old life completely. That makes her already a strong-willed character- especially when you consider that she had equal aptitude for Abnegation where she could have stayed with her family. Tris is strong from the get-go.

The focus of the Divergent trailer is on her Dauntless training, yet everything is clinical. Nobody looks bloodied except when Tris gets her ear nicked with a knife. I found this odd because my recollection of the book is that the training was fairly violent. Tris gets beaten up, not to mention does her own fair share of beating people up. I’m talking bruises and blood and broken bones. Yet we don’t see anything like that in the trailer. In the book, Tris constantly has to prove herself more than anyone else because she was Abnegation. That makes her strong. She is bullied. Three of her fellow trainees even attempt to kill her yet the trailer glosses over that.

We see Tris doing lots of stuff, running, jumping, punching, but we don’t see her motivation. Tris in the book is a bit of an adrenaline junkie which is why she is so drawn to Dauntless, but I don’t get that feeling watching the trailer. We keep hearing that she is dangerous, different, special but aside from the long backstory, the trailer doesn’t show why she’s so special….

Then there is the relationship with Four. One of the reasons I enjoyed this book was that the relationship wasn’t so front and centre. She doesn’t throw herself at the pretty boy. Yet the trailer makes it clear that there will be a relationship between them. It’s as though they had to tick off that “love interest” box.

I hope I am wrong about Divergent, I really do, because I mostly enjoyed the novel by Veronica Roth, but so far this movie looks like fluff, and the trailer leaves me cold.