By Tanya Ishikawa
OURAY–Novelist Veronica Roth succeeded in grabbing the attention of both book and movie audiences with her Divergent trilogy, winning the 2014 Young Reader’s Choice Award, selling millions of books and earning hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. Ouray High School ninth grader Evie Wood summed up the reason for the popularity of the story of a dystopia, centered around a female protagonist who is a teenager in the first book and film.
“I wish I had a cool boyfriend who kicked butt, and that I could do the things that she does,” said 15-year-old Wood, who has read all three books in the series but only seen the first movie. “It related to my life. When I was reading the book, the way the author had Tris act and react were ways I would have. I could see an event building and think how I would solve it. I would read a little further, and I’d be pretty close to that, so it was pretty cool.”
The movie producers of the series weren’t as successful in keeping audiences engaged, as the second film, Insurgent, pulled in less viewers and money. During a recent discussion of the movie, which will be shown by the Ouray Library at the Wright Opera House this Friday, several students in Ouray High School teacher John Kissingford’s journalism class admitted not being interested in watching the sequel.
Ninth grader Alannah Wister, 14, shared the sentiments of her classmates, who had seen and liked Divergent on the big screen. “I wasn’t too drawn back to it. Seeing Insurgent was not of too much interest to me,” she said.
Nathalie Valenzuela, also a 14-year-old freshman, agreed. “It was not like I needed to see this movie. I feel like with each new movie in “Hunger Games”, I have to see it, but this movie didn’t draw me the same way,” she explained.
As for 12th grader Marco Nandin, 17, he didn’t watch the movies because he is not interested in the entire young adult dystopia genre because of its repetitiveness and predictability. “You have an evil society, and a heroine who people are trying to recruit but she doesn’t fit in. They go out and wreak havoc and it’s all the same. Watching that once is fun, but not two or three times,” he commented.
Though a few of the female high school movie reviewers thought that the movie appealed more naturally to young women and wasn’t masculine enough for male viewers, Nandin countered that stories with female protagonists don’t bother him, the young adult dystopia genre was the real drawback for him. “Those novels are so clearly written with this theme that you want to break away from society, but at the same time, you listen to other people’s plans, become dependent on some side character and are not doing what you are presented as doing, not really breaking away,” he said, adding, “I think the metaphors are extreme to the point of ridiculousness. You are never going to be put into a death battle in real life