Friday, 21 March 2014

[MOVIE REVIEW] Divergent by Veronica Roth

So fellow initiates, as I'm sure you're aware Divergent THE MOVIE was released today (or if you didn't, now you do know) and if you know me you know how big of a fan I am of the series so I HAD to watch it on release date. It also helped that I have Friday's off. 

Anyway the movie was two and a half hours of pure dystopia fun. It was amazing but there was still a lot that bugged me. 

The movie relies too much on the audience having to read the books prior (haha get it 'Prior') to watching the movie which makes for a good movie for the readers but a confusing movie for those new to the series.

First, most of the characters weren't introduced in the movie. In fact I'm sure if I didn't read the books I wouldn't know 80% of the character's by name but rather by their personality. "Oh look the guy who almost killed Tris" or "The guy Miles Teller plays who's always mean to Tris and keeps getting a lot of screen time" or my fave "That girl who was cast to beat people up and gets most of the speaking roles when they need 'some person' to talk"

It's not like these characters were written out of the story, no they're still there. For instance, you see Edward's name on the scoreboard. For readers, you'll know the importance of Edward and his pivotal scenes in Divergent and the sequels. I don't know who plays Edward and he most definitely didn't get any face time during the movie. There's also Uriah. One of Tris' only close NON-TRANSFER friends isn't mentioned at all. (I have a sneaky suspicion who Uriah was but there was no name to confirm this of course). 

Missing characters also leads to missing scenes. Edward's butter knife scene was written out. A lot of scenes were also shortened. Most of the simulations were shortened: Tris' first simulation test before her choosing, the test fear landscape they were suppose to go through on the first day of the last trial and Tris' full fear landscapes (we weren't shown seven!). The only one they showed the entire fear landscape for was Four, but I think that was mainly because you had to know why he was called Four...

For the most part the movie stayed true to the book. The plot line still flowed in the same order, there were just a lot cut out. 

Lots of things were also NOT explained, again relying too much on the audience having to read the book. Why did Tris get her tattoo? That was one of the most touching scenes in my opinion and it was completely played down. 

Some of the things in the book were also, for lack of a better term, "dumbed-down." The factionless were only defined as "those that don't belong in any of the factions"when in reality it takes a lot more than 'not belonging' to become a factionless. 

The key message believed by all citizens is "Faction before blood" and that was completely downplayed. The most conflicting part of the choosing ceremony was the notion of loyalty. Do you stay loyal to your family - blood - or do you stay loyal to yourself - faction. In the book, defects, those that change from their original factions, are frowned upon. Whereas in the movie there's this idea of "choice." Respect someone's choice, let them choose what they want. I find that makes the story seem less dystopic in nature; if that makes sense. Dystopia lit is all about a government forcing you to do something, how citizens have to conform lest they be removed. And the choosing ceremony is only one of the ways the government makes people make the challenging decision of conforming or rebelling and following their free will. Reminding them that they have a choice sort of contradicts that, in my opinion that is. 

Overall most of the character's motives are unclear. There's not a very well developed background story or justification behind some of the major actions taken.

On a last note, the ending of the battle was changed...and I'm really not sure how the series will continue and stay true to the book. (Where's the hard drive???)

Even after all that ranting thought, I can say that Divergent was an excellent movie with top notch actors. I would definitely read the books if you haven't already, even if you're not planning on watching the movie because the books are absolutely amazing!

PS did anyone catch the Veronica Roth cameo???
For my reviews of Insurgent and Allegiant click below:

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