I’m no movie critic, but I thought a Divergent movie review would be fun. And don’t worry – no spoilers!
I love books (“love” is an understatement) and I love movies. And although there was a time when I enjoyed analyzing books and looking for deeper meanings in movies, these days I much prefer to just enjoy a good story.
A couple of years ago, my neighbor introduced to me to the whole YA/Dystopian book phenomena that had apparently taken over the world while I lived happily under my rock. I read The Hunger Games and they were so good – I wanted more!
So then Divergent comes along (or at least, I become aware of it), and I jump on that train as fast as I can (<<— crappy and unintended Divergent pun). Count me as your ideal Fangirl. Aside from the fact that I’m 36, not 16…I’m pretty much a publisher’s target audience. I get pulled into a story easily, I get invested in the characters, I buy all the following books, I get excited about the movies…you get the idea.
I mean, I know that Twilight is no literary masterpiece…but I was just as excited about the movies as the next teeny bopper.
I was *super* excited about Divergent. Even though I didn’t love the entire series from a critical/analytical perspective (hello, major plot holes), I still devoured the books in about a week’s time. Sometimes, you have to just enjoy something for what it is.
The movie did not disappoint, but it did, ahem, diverge a bit from the book.
I thought the main characters were well-cast and put in great performances (and the guy that plays Four is super hot, so there’s that). I did NOT love all of the secondary characters, though – for example, I thought Peter missed the mark. Not sure if it was the actor or the role they gave him (you can expect a watered-down version of Peter when compared to the ruthless character in the book), but I missed the intense Peter I had grown to know in the story.
The movie was missing a few key storylines from the book, but it was easy to forgive. We don’t really get to know Peter or Al, and we learn little about Will. The movie is nearly two-and-a-half hours long as it is, and I don’t think they had the bandwidth to flesh out all of the characters we know and love (and love to hate) from the books. The main focus is Tris trying to keep her secret to herself (she’s a Divergent!) and the dynamic between Tris and Four.
A note about Tris and Four: The age discrepancy was a little bit distracting. In the book, they are just a couple of years apart. And in real life, the actors that played Tris and Four are only five years apart…but it looks like Four is quite a bit older. One of the first things my friends-who-have-not-read-the-books asked after the movie ended was, “How old are they all supposed to be, anyway?”
Along with the missing storylines and undeveloped minor characters (all who play very important roles in the book), we see a few twists and plot deviations that might be hard to see past if you’re expecting this movie to run true to the book. They don’t necessarily change the essence of the story, but…don’t expect it to follow along exactly.
Honestly, the changes/missing parts didn’t bother me too much. I imagine that they weren’t sure if Insurgent and Allegiant would be made into movies, and so had to provide a little more closure and highlight certain characters to better tell the story.
I thought that the movie did a pretty good job of creating Tris’ world, and I loved seeing Dystopian Chicago and how the factions lived and were separated. One thing I didn’t love about the book was the cheesy attire the Amity had to wear – I was pleased to see that the movie stayed true to the cheerfulness of the Amity culture (although we barely get to see them in the movie), but didn’t require anyone to dress like Ronald McDonald.
The only disappointment was The Pit – it was much darker and more intense in my imagination! I think the book did a much better job of bringing The Pit to life.
A couple of the girls with me had not read the books, so I was keen on getting their thoughts after seeing the movie. Was it a good story? Did it make sense? Or were they confused the whole time? You know how it is – some book-based movies don’t really make a lot of sense if you haven’t read the book, and Divergent is a big book. They both said it made sense to them and they seemed to enjoy it.
I liked it. I think that considering the scope of the story (it’s a big one!) the writers, directors, and actors did a pretty good job of telling the story in such a “short” period of time.
Is it a masterpiece? No.
Is it a fun way for fans to get more Tris and Four? Yes.
Later this week I am going to share with you a couple of series I absolutely love and am completely obsessed with – and that I think you will love, too.
But until then, let’s talk Divergent! Have you read the books? Seen the movie? What are your thoughts?