No, Divergent is not a Hunger Games rip-off

“I must have forgotten that part in The Hunger Games where Katniss gets to choose the district she wants to live in. Oh, and I guess I missed the part where Tris volunteers as tribute on behalf of her brother Caleb.”


This article originally appeared on and was published in 2014, following the release of the first Divergent movie.

You probably experienced it last March.  You wanted to invite your friends to see the ‘Divergent’ movie when they made the comment, “Isn’t that just a Hunger Games rip-off?”

Your reaction:

But that’s not as annoying as the actual movie critics.  You can explain to your friends how Divergent and Hunger Games are different. And (because your friends are good friends) they’ll believe you and at least give the movie a shot.  But the online movie critics?  Nope.  You can’t do that.

If every movie review that called Divergent “a watered down version of the Hunger Games” was a piece of toilet paper, it would be enough to clog the world’s largest toilet.

If you don’t know what I’m mean, just click here, or here, or here, or here, or here. Or here.  You get it?

Here’s the sad part: Months before the movie came out, we knew that there would be a landfill load of critics saying this.  Why?  Because it’s the easy thing to do.  Anyone could write up a 300 word review about how much more they liked ‘The Hunger Games’ as opposed to ‘Divergent’.  There’s nothing really praise-worthy in doing that.  If a movie reviewer can’t come up with a better headline than, “It’s the lite-version of The Hunger Games,” then I wonder how they got their job in the first place.  Surely it wasn’t for their original, unique, or even critical take on movies.

Look, if you’re a critic and you don’t like Divergent that’s OK! Just don’t call it a Hunger Games rip-off. There are a lot more plausible reasons to dislike ‘Divergent’.  Me?  I liked the movie.  But if you didn’t, that’s totally OK.  I can see why some wouldn’t like the movie or book.  I’m fine with that.  Please just don’t use the “Hunger Games rip-off” excuse as a reason. It’s unfounded and therefore lazy.

Now, let’s get something straight.  The point of this article isn’t to say that Divergent is better than The Hunger Games or vice-versa.  As I’ve said, I’m fed up with the “it’s a rip-off” reviews, and that’s what I’m addressing.

No, I’m not against comparing Divergent to The Hunger Games (book or films).  That’s to be expected.  Yes, you’re right.  They’re both YA novels.  The protagonists are strong female characters.  They’re set in dystopian worlds.  You have reason to compare these two franchises.  That’s fine. But if you’re going to compare them, then you should actually compare them. Calling Divergent a Hunger Games rip-off isn’t a comparison. The argument that it’s a rip-off just doesn’t hold any water.

Here’s why:

Last I checked, The Hunger Games did not own the female protagonist brand.  Before there was Katniss, there was Ella of Frell, Lyra Belacqua, and Lizzie Bennett.

And before there was Panem, there was Oceania’s Ingsoc, The World State, and the world of the Neuromancer.

Oh, and someone please explain to me how the plots of Divergent and The Hunger Games are even remotely similar?

I must have forgotten that part in The Hunger Games where Katniss gets to choose the district she wants to live in. Oh, and I guess I missed the part where Tris volunteers as tribute on behalf of her brother Caleb. And maybe I fell asleep when all the tributes were forced to kill each other to the death during initiations? And I guess if you really, really, really stretch the lines, you can see that Four is an obvious copy of Peeta and Peter is an obvious copy of Gale…  right?  (I mean, Peeta works in a bakery and Four likes cake, so…)

And don’t get me started on that contrived love triangle in Divergent.

Oh wait.

None of that is true.

They aren’t the same. Similar? OK, sure. Rip-offs? Obviously not. Each tells a different story with different characters. The problem is that this goes beyond Divergent and Hunger Games. Critics do this with every YA adaptation. Someone always has to inevitably call the latest YA film a rip-off of the previous one–despite the fact that they have different plots, stories, and characters.

If you’re still convinced that Divergent is a Hunger Games rip-off, then one of the following must be true:

  • When you went to see ‘Divergent’ you saw the wrong movie; in which case you need to talk to your theater’s manager and ask why they’re still showing ‘Catching Fire’.
  • Or, you just didn’t watch the movie; in which case, you probably shouldn’t be talking about things you don’t know anything about.
This article was brought to you by members of the Bookstacked Team.

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  • Haymitch • 9 years ago

    Yeah i’m going to trust the professionals, not the blogger with a raging woman boner for this Hunger Games rip-off.

    • YouBelieveAnyone • 9 years ago

      Ouch, ignorance at its finest…

      • Kevin • 9 years ago

        yeah, there are other resons they are similar. I wouldnt say rip off. But only because the time involved was to short for the entire novel series to be written after hunger games came out. One thing i disagree with the user about is that a critic is supposed to have a generic outlook on movies. They are the first line of acceptance before the general public. If you like bad movies because of your original or individual outlook on movies then you would be a useles critic. However, if you give good reviews that the general public agree with, then you are a much more useful critic. A simple example. A room of ten people have to pick a color. One gets to give their opinion on two colors (red and blue) that the other nine havent seen. The one likes red so tells the others it is good. But the others decide they like blue. So the critic that liked red is a bad critic because of their different opinion.

        • Kevin • 9 years ago

          In addition. Even if it isnt a hunger games rip off, it was a day late and a dollar short. Everyone ne that would watch this has already seen hunger games. So, everyones’ appetite for this kind of movie is already sated.

        • Menas • 9 years ago

          I agree, but it sounds like you’re accusing te article of saying that these critics are bad because they have different opinions than the article’s writer. But the article acknowledges that there are plenty of reasons why someone wouldn’t like Divergent.

          “There are a lot more plausible reasons to dislike ‘Divergent’. Me? I liked the movie. But if you didn’t, that’s totally OK.”

          So, if you’re trying to tell the writer that they shouldn’t be upset because critics have a different opinion, I feel like your comment is unfounded. They’re simply stating that the plots of Divergent and Hunger Games aren’t similar at all (and I agree). Divergent and Hunger Games have similarities, but like the article says, these are tropes that have been around too long to accuse Divergent of being a rip off.

          Divergent was a bad movie because of the poor acting, silly dialogue, and overall boringness of the majority of the plot. But not because it was a Hunger Games rip off. I agree with the article here–we need smarter critics. “Hunger Games rip off” is unfounded and lazy.

          As for your comment below, it’s true, but it belongs in an entirely different discussion.

    • Jasper • 4 years ago

      “Professionals”? Anyone can write a movie review online. Plus The article’s got a point. I bet you didn’t even read it.

    • Avery Johnson • 2 years ago

      Professionals? Yeah, okay.

  • The Rainbow Police • 9 years ago

    Honestly, I don’t get why people are calling it a Hunger Games ripoff. I read the book and it was unoriginal, terribly written, and just painful to get through. Hunger Games ripoff? Eh. But it wasn’t anything new, that’s for sure. Wow, a Young Adult book with a strong but mind-numbingly obnoxious female protagonist in a dystopian world? I’ll just read one of the other fifteen versions of that. Oh, and what’s that? They have houses like in Harry Potter, but the sorting system is arbitrary and doesn’t actually work particularly well when you examine it? Brilliant. I could really go on about why I hated the book, but “it’s a Hunger Games rip-off” isn’t that interesting or particularly justified to say.

  • Bradley • 4 years ago

    I agree with this and also critics and other people need to stop basing stuff off the movies when they haven’t even read the books because the books are way better.

  • James • 4 years ago

    I agree with this and also critics and people need to stop basing stuff off of the movies when they haven’t even read the books because they books are way better.