In the world of “Divergent,” which takes place in a ruined Chicago, the only city left standing a century after “The War,” all residents have been divided into factions.
Abnegation are selfless do-gooders in charge of the government. Dauntless are the brave soldiers and police force. Amity are peaceful farmers and artists. Erudite are the brainy scientists and teachers. Candor are always honest, so they tend to be lawyers (insert your own joke here).
Regardless of which they were born into, all 16-year-olds take a hallucinatory aptitude test to find out to which faction they’re best-suited. But they can disregard that and choose any faction they want. Once they choose, though, they can never, ever go back. Because, well, just because.
Anyway, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) learns she’s best-suited for three different factions, which is supposed to be impossible. She chooses Dauntless, falls for a hunky Dauntless leader named Four (Theo James) and then all hell breaks loose.
Oh yeah, when you choose a faction, you also can choose your own name. But, once again, after you’ve chosen, you can’t go back.
Why everyone agreed to all this silliness in the first place is just one of many questions raised by “Divergent.” Here are 10 more:
1) To announce their faction, teenagers walk in front of their families, slice open their palms — all using the same ceremonial knife, by the way, so apparently all blood-borne illnesses have been eradicated — and bleed into the bowl representing their choice. Why is it, though, that whenever someone in a movie or TV show needs blood, they always carve into their palms? Do you have any idea how long that takes to heal?
2) I get why no one would want to be Abnegation. Their clothes are terrible. Even their mirrors are locked away because they’re not supposed to think about themselves. But who chooses Dauntless, with their crazy boot-camp training sessions and all the face punching?
3) Are Dauntless’ co-ed, communal, no-stall, Sochi-style toilets really necessary?
4) Was Jai Courtney, who plays Dauntless trainer Eric, trying to look like rapper Macklemore? Or did that just happen?
5) Does Maggie Q’s Tori get more to do in the sequels? Because, so far, all she does is stand around, talk and give tests and tattoos. Hiring Maggie Q and not letting her kick people silly is like hiring Meryl Streep and cramming a ball gag in her mouth.
6) Miles Teller plays Peter, a fellow Dauntless initiate who’s always antagonizing Tris. Will Teller ever play a role that doesn’t involve me wanting to punch him in the head?
7) Speaking of heads, Woodley is lovely, but how much of her noggin is devoted to those giant, anime eyes? It must be at least 30, 35 percent.
8) What’s with Dauntless and all that jumping on and off trains? Were they all descended from hobos?
9) It’s fine and all — better than “Twilight,” worse than “The Hunger Games” — but “Divergent” feels like at least a dozen different CW dramas over the years. So why are teenage girls so excited about this and not the others?
10) Even in a world where Chicago is the only city left standing, could the Cubs still find a way to miss out on a trip to the World Series?