So, last night I went to an advanced screening of Divergent with my friend Pascale (of Dogshaming fame–yes I’m name dropping). And by last night I mean Wednesday, March 19th, but I stuck this in my drafts and haven’t been able to get back to it until now.
So, last night I saw Divergent. You’d be safe to assume there are spoilers below if you haven’t already read the books.
It was so much better than I assumed it was going to be after I saw the trailers. This wasn’t a movie I was looking forward to seeing (unlike Muppets Most Wanted and Winter Soldier) but I knew I’d get around to seeing it eventually because I read the books and all that nonsense. Anyhoo, I’m really glad I saw it because it was surprisingly good.
For the most part it held pretty true to the book, even visually to how I pictured things. I did imagine Dauntless to be darker and grittier than it was, I pictured the pit differently, and the fence surrounding Chicago, but otherwise, it very so close to my own imagination.
The things I didn’t like were things like Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Will’s (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) relationship (if I hadn’t read the book I wouldn’t even know they’re supposed to be a couple, and perhaps they cut out their relationship altogether to keep the focus on Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James), but that would just cut out a huge part of Christina’s story, so who knows how big a role she’ll in the next 2 films) and little things that signaled to Tris’ character. I wish they’d shown us more of Tris’ friendship with Christina, Will and Al (Christian Madsen) so that we could connect to her more when Al betrays her and she’s forced to kill Will.
Probably the biggest problem I had with the movie was how they portrayed Peter (Miles Teller). Peter is an absolute fucking douche in the books (and I’m being nice with that description) and in the movie he’s just an annoying jerk. We don’t get shown that Tris knows it’s Peter who orchestrated her attack at the pit, we don’t get much sense of how threatened he is by the “Stiff” improving during their lessons or how desperate he is to make sure he maintains a spot in Dauntless (so there is no fork-in-the-eye scene, you can decide how you feel about that being left out). I loathed Book Peter and I just merely dislike Movie Peter.
There are other things, small things when it comes to translating a book to the big screen, that I’d have liked to see, but such is the nature of the beast, and don’t get me wrong, I’m just being nitpicky about a movie based on a book I enjoyed (that’s my nature) I did enjoy the movie.
Not being a particular fan of Shailene Woodley (sue me, I think she’s kinda boring) she was great as Tris as was Theo James, who was not who I pictured as Four (ahem, Jesse Williams–who will always be my perfect Finnick too). Kate Winslet, as always, was fabulous as the sinister ice queen and head of Erudite, Jeanine Matthews, but imo, there’s very little Kate Winslet could do wrong.
Overall, I think if you liked the books, you’ll be fairly happy with how they translated the book into a movie and if you haven’t read the books then you just spoiled yourself for stuff and I can’t be held responsible because I warned you.