The first exclusive clip from the much-anticipated dystopian thriller Divergent is now online to give fans of Veronica Roth’s young adult series something to tide them over through the holidays. It’s a rather gooey romantic moment, in sharp contrast to the film’s gritty, action-heavy trailers, but they’ve got to start sucking in those hormone-raging teens somehow, right?
The clip is of the book’s notable tattoo scene, when Four (Theo James) shows off the ink of the five factions on his back to Tris (Shailene Woodley). Tris is divergent, meaning that she does not belong to just one of the factions, which she keeps a secret. If people find out that she is divergent, Tris risks her own execution. When Four shows Tris the tattoos, he stands in solidarity with her multi-faction identity. Unable to resist his empathy toward her plight (as well as his shirtlessness), Tris shares a kiss with Four, made entirely more awkward by Ellie Goulding’s song “Dead in the Water” filling the background.
From someone who just finished Roth’s book, the clip underwhelmed me a bit. Wooden line readings and the cheesy background music did not do a good job of selling the film, while both Theo James and Shailene Woodley both look bland and only mildly interested in the material (although the kiss looks convincing). Footage like this does little to sell the film’s intriguing dystopian subject matter, and this could ultimately backfire on the franchise’s box office potential.
Unlike The Hunger Games, Divergent could have trouble drawing in males – especially by playing up the romance over the science-fiction in clips like the one below. However, author Roth approved of this first look. “I’ve seen the clip, and… WELL. You’ll see. It is so good,” she wrote on her blog. Whether the book’s fans find the film as enjoyable remains to be seen.