Faithful Book Adaptation: 3/5
Stand Alone Piece: 4/5
Divergent, based on the first book of the popular trilogy by Veronica Roth, is about a post-apocalyptic Chicago in which the survivors of the war are separated into five different factions in an attempt to keep the citizens under control. There’s Erudite for intelligence, Amity for peace, Candor for honesty, Abnegation for selflessness, and Dauntless for bravery. Similar to today, at the age of 16, teenagers are forced to take an aptitude test that will help them decide where they belong. Those whose test results come out inconclusive (that is, more than one faction is their result) are considered divergent and thus, a threat to the society. The story centers around 16 year old Beatrice “Tris” Prior, played by Shailene Woodley (Secret Life of the American Teenager), whom is Abnegation-born but chooses Dauntless after she discovers she is classified as Divergent.
When the promos for Divergent first came out, I, as a fan of both the YA genre and the butt kicking female protagonist genre, was extremely excited to see the film adaptation being taken seriously. I was also incredibly excited to see a dystopian Chicago be brought to life on the big screen. I was impressed with this movie for a number of reasons and one of the reasons was definitely the cinematography. The movie was beautifully shot, point blank. Scenes where green screen were most likely used felt lifelike and the director did an amazing job not only creating but also capturing the ruins of Chicago and different faction locations. I also want to take this time to show appreciation for everyone who was involved with trying to mask Kate Winslet, who played Erudite faction leader Jeanine Matthews, baby bump.
Despite the script not being word for word from the book, those who hadn’t read the book should be able to understand the story for the most part. Although, I believe they could have done a better job with introducing some of the minor characters such as Al, whom some of the people in the audience seemed confused of who he was or if he even had a name for that matter.
Focusing on characters, for someone who has read the series, I thought the actors and the writers did a good job displaying them on screen. My favorites would definitely have to be Shailene who depicted Tris as this lost girl developing into someone who is strong and confident, Zoe Kravitz who depicted Christina as honest, badass, and loyal, and Miles Teller who played Peter with such honest evilness that he couldn’t help but steal the screen whenever he appeared (which is similar to how I felt about him when I read the books.)
The only character I was a little iffy about was Four, played by Theo James, I’m not sure if it was his line delivery, the writing, or just my dislike for the character in general, but I felt like there was something missing with him when watching the film. However, it wasn’t anything too major that it would ruin a Divergent fan or general spectators viewing experience.
Another thing I feel entitled to acknowledge is the amazingness that is the choreography of the fight scenes. They definitely did not hold back with the fighting in this movie. Just like the books, the fights were brutal and honestly I winced a couple of times when watching. The choreographers did a great job designing the sequences and the actors delivered in full force.
So regardless what all the old critics are saying about Divergent, I, as an 18 year old female, deems this movie a must-see. Tris is a great character for girls of all ages for her amazing strength and lack of one layerness. Then there’s Christina who is more than just a sidekick, she’s a strong POC and a great example of race representation in the media and so on. My only recommendation is that if you’ve read the books please try to keep an open mind when watching the movie because although it’s not completely the book on screen, it definitely stayed true to the general idea. Now all that’s left to do is wait to see how they’re going to bring Insurgent to the big screen.
*Bonus comment: If you’re a fan of Ellie Goulding, you’re going to enjoy the movie score.*