Movie Title: Divergent
Date Released: March 21st, 2014
Date Seen: March 23rd, 2014
Seen With: Dad
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
Divergent – another dystopian young adult novel taken in by Hollywood and turned into a movie. Having read the books and knowing what to expect – the movie wasn’t a let down. If you’re going into this expecting another Hunger Games type movie, you might be a bit disappointed as the plot is a lot more basic and pretty predictable. However, it does have a strong female lead who can kick some serious ass. The book Divergent, by Veronica Roth, seems to be written for a slightly younger audience than Hunger Games, however still manages to deal with a number of important topics. We see a girl, Tris, who has to decide who she is – and realizes that she doesn’t fall into one pre-defined category. Being the main premise of the book, of course the movie got this right. It also deals with some touchy subjects, such as rape and murder. But again, Tris is one kickass girl who can take care of herself. The movie does a surprisingly good job of following the overall plot of the book, which sometimes is a big fear when I see a book – movie adaptation. The overall arc or “message” of the story is one we’ve seen before, you might not fit perfectly into a category – and that’s damn well alright. The movie provides us with a nice vehicle to get this message across, while being a bit fuzzy at times, but strong actors and decent pacing keep you engaged.
As I said, the acting was pretty damn good. We have Shailene Woodley as Tris, the protagonist. She’s come a long way from “Secret Life of the American Teenager”. I was very impressed and thought she did a great job. Theo James plays Four, and I really liked him as Four – almost exactly as I imagined him in the book. Kate Winslet plays the super smart and intimidating Jeanine, head of the Erudite faction. She is great in that role and very terrifying with her crazy bleached blonde hair (I couldn’t stop staring at it!). Other people I enjoyed were Zoe Kravitz as Christina, one of Tris’ new friends in Dauntless. I also really loved Jai Courtney, as Eric, another trainer of the new recruits. There’s other great people as well, but those were the standouts in my mind.
It’s not an impressive movie in the cinematographic sense, however, there were a lot of very well done scenes that seemed straight out of the book. The one that stuck in my mind was the ferris wheel scene. This could be because it’s a sort of big deal and very cool part in the book, so of course it stuck out, but I liked it a lot.
Overall the movie was an enjoyable ride. It does spend a bit too much time, in my opinion, on the fighting and physical tests, while I would have liked to seen a bit more of the fear landscapes. Also, the main story arc with the other factions is pretty confusing if you haven’t read the book (or read it in a while like me). My dad was slightly confused as to what was going on. But still, overall, I’m happy to have seen the movie, and I’d say if you think you’ll like the movie, go ahead and see it in the theater. Otherwise, watch it on Netflix or rent it when it comes out, and you’ll have a good movie night at home for cheap.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
Now, I haven’t read the book in a while, but there were only a few things I noticed that were different, besides stuff being left out. First was that Tris’ fear landscape was slightly different. It was missing drowning in the ocean, but that was probably because it would be very repetitive considering the other drowning scene. It was also missing being kidnapped, which I would have liked considering it would have shown how fears could be created – and then once you have them they never go away (as we learned in Four’s landscape). The other thing I noticed that seemed different was when the Dauntless attack Abnegation and the fight with Four, Tris, her mom, etc. all happen. I just looked back at the book at the part and it actually wasn’t that different than what happened, just location changes, but it just seemed different in my mind.
Then there’s the ending, which goes down in a much more interesting and satisfying way for a movie. I’m completely fine with Tris injecting that stuff into Jeanine – why? Because I love Kate Winslet and I liked watching that scene with her. There, I said it. I’m happy with the slight ending change.
An enjoyable movie, runs slightly long, slightly messy plot at times, but overall a good watch. Netflix watch unless you’re a big fan or think you’ll really enjoy it, then it might be worth a theater trip.