Hello there, new feature! I decided a while ago that I wanted to start reviewing book-to-movie adaptations on the blog, but the perfect opportunity to do so didn’t arise until Sunday, when I went to the Divergent premiere in Leicester Square. I’m kicking off this feature with Divergent since it is released today in the UK (go watch it, fellow Brits!), and I have many more reviews and movies lined up to write and watch! My reviews are going to be spoiler-free when it comes to the movie, but I’m obviously going to be spoiling some parts of the book. It’s hard not to, right?
As soon as I left the cinema – left my seat, even – I was giddy. I needed to get out of the crowded cinema so I could fangirl to Tatum, although I was cautious to do so because I wasn’t sure how she felt about the movie at that point. Divergent definitely wasn’t another Hunger Games, but it was highly enjoyable nonetheless, and I immediately wanted to watch it again. That’s always a good sign!
Tris was every bit as charming as I remember her being in the book. I enjoyed watching her on-screen as she started off as physically weak, and very uncomfortable in her own skin and her environment, because she slowly grew stronger both physically and mentally. They did her character so much justice, and there were certain scenes where I was getting teary eyed over her awesomeness. The sexual assault scene was particularly uncomfortable to watch, but at the same time I was captivated as I was silently cheering her on while she fought off her aggressor.
At first I wanted to punch Four in the face. I can’t remember how he was in the book, because I read it so long ago, but in the movie he starts off as a right jackass. While he was physically attractive, I wasn’t sure what Tris saw in him to begin with. But little by little he starts to improve, and Tris gets to know him better, and that’s when he begins to grow on you. I just hope that I don’t hate him in the Insurgent movie, because I really didn’t like him in that book. At all.
The casting of Four and Tris was very well done. I approve! At first I was very hesitant about Theo playing Four. He just didn’t look like the guy I saw in my head. Plus, Theo is nearly thirty. But, it worked out well, because he had that sullen look down to a T. And yet he wasn’t dull or broody like Pattinson’s Edward Cullen. There weren’t many emotional scenes that really pushed his acting abilities or tested his range, but he did a good job with what he had.
Shailene was also an excellent Tris. I’m probably going to cause an uproar here when I say that I think she was a better Tris than Jennifer Lawrence was Katniss in The Hunger Games. She fits the part much better, in my opinion. That’s not to say that JLaw is bad, I just think she wasn’t as good at playing her role in The Hunger Games as Shailene was at playing Tris in Divergent.
Shailene and Theo had amazing chemistry. Before the movie started, Kate Winslet herself said that the pair reminded her of herself and Leo back in their Titanic days. While I wouldn’t go that far (you can’t compete with the OTP of OTPs, the King and Queen of Hollywood, the epitome of true love, etc. etc.), they certainly did have a similar spark between them. Hell, they even won Tatum over, and she hated the book. I was trying so hard not to squeal out loud when the two of them were on screen together. They were great. I think we need an Insurgent movie just for the Tris and Four scenes, to be honest. Maybe I’ll actually like Four in the movie sequel, since I hated him in the book.
Queen Kate Winslet played Jeanine, and I was applauding her whenever she was onscreen. She made it so difficult to tell whether or not Jeanine was being genuine or not, and it was so much fun trying to decipher her true motives. Tatum also had a lot of fun trying to spot Winslet’s baby bump, which was hidden behind folders and iPads most of the time. I do think she needed more scenes, though. Mostly so I could see her beautiful face.
And, of course, I can’t not mention Jai Courtney, who played Eric in the movie. I 100% approve of this casting choice, since I’ve been a fan of Jai’s since his Spartacus: Blood and Sand days. I’ve vowed to follow the Spartacus cast wherever they go (Hollywood and entertainment-wise, of course. I’m not actually following them around in real life. At least, Dustin Clare doesn’t know about it yet.) Eric was a right arse in Divergent, and Courtney played the part wonderfully.
As for the rest of the cast, I have no strong feelings about them as very few of them were actually featured for more than a few minutes.
I’ve noticed some people, particularly the critics, complain of info-dumping. Honestly, I didn’t think this was a problem at all. I thought that the explanations about the faction system and the dystopian society were very well done. There is an introduction at the very beginning of the movie with Tris talking about her city as different parts of it are shown on screen. This goes on for a couple of minutes, and it’s the only thing that I would class as an info-dump. The rest of the information is revealed naturally as and when it is needed.
The pacing throughout the movie was pretty flawless. It was on par with the book on that front. There was never a dull moment where I felt tempted to look at my watch. I was captivated the entire time.
Admittedly, it has been a while since I read the book. I think I read Divergent back in the spring of 2011, and before watching the movie I only remembered a few things about it, the most important thing being that I loved it. As far as I can tell, though, Taylor and Daugherty did a great job at staying true to the book. I would have preferred it if the movie had been given a higher rating so it could be more brutal and show the more gory scenes, but they needed the younger audience, I guess.
- The action scenes! These were fucking brilliant. They were so well done in terms of direction and cinematography. The fight scenes had me in awe, especially as Theo did his own stunts. I loved that the camera didn’t have to shy away from showing his face during the fight scenes, and there were no weird or awkward angles. When Four and Tris work together at the end to fight against the Erudite team, I had goosebumps all over my body.
- Shailene and Theo’s chemistry. This deserves another mention because they were hot. Very few of their moments were cheesy, which is what I was expecting.
- How it’s such an true adaptation of the novel. This speaks for itself.
- Lack of gore. There wasn’t enough for me, but as my uncle recently told me, I’m pretty deranged and bloodthirsty.
- The secondary characters should have been built up more, especially Christina.
- There was some awkward delivery for some of the characters, but that can be improved upon in the sequel.
- ???? That might be it.
- Nope, that’s definitely it.