Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie Review: Divergent

Let's just start out by saying that movies are NEVER EVER as good as the books on which they are based. Actually, I can think of one movie I liked better than the book, and that was The Notebook. But that is the only one. And believe me, I've read a ton of books that have been made into movies. It has taken my a l o n g time to teach myself to separate movies from the books they are based on, as if they are two completely different forms of entertainment with the same base story lines. But it has made for much more enjoyable movie-going experiences. And I truly love going to the movies. (So much so, that right out of high school, I set a goal for myself to see at least one movie a week for a year. I way surpassed the 52 movies in my goal, and saw over 80 movies, in the theater alone, that year. This was obviously before kids and any kind of actual bills I had to pay...)

That being said, I can honestly say I did really enjoy Divergent. The script worked for anyone who had not read the books beforehand (which is a big deal when seeing a book-based movie), and the acting was good. And Four (played by Theo James a.k.a. Mr. Pamuk a.k.a. the guy who died in Mary's bed in the first season Downton Abbey. Yes. That guy.) is quite the looker, with a voice like honey to my ears...

Ah-hum. moving on...

But of course, because I have read the book series (more than once even...) I definitely found some major differences. They're things that, if you have not read the books, will not be a big deal, as the story still flows fine (for the first movie at least...) and I'm sure at least one omitted scene had to do with keeping the rating a mild PG-13 as opposed to an R rating for goriness. Also, I've heard so many fans say they think author Veronica Roth must be so upset with what they've changed... Um, you guys. She was a producer on the movie. She had a say in what got changed, and may have even done the changes herself to fit her vision, yet keep it within the time and rating restraints. (And Bonus: Did anyone else see her cameo? She was the first Dauntless out on the rooftop in the zip-lining scene!)

So here are where some spoilers might be starting. Don't read ahead if you don't want to know! You've been warned...

Major difference #1: Where the heck was Edward? The whole getting-his-eye-stabbed-out-with-a-butter-knife scene was a big part of Divergent, and why Tris hated and feared Peter (played by Miles Teller, who, in the movie, is definitely mean, but nowhere near as evil-cruel as in the book) so much. Edward practically did not exist in this movie, which makes me really wonder what they'll do for the second movie in this series, Insurgent, which will start filming next month, and, according to it's IMDB page, is due to be released March 20, 2015. Edward kind of has a big part in the rest of the story, as a factionless leader.

#2: It was never established that Will and Christina are actually dating, which will make it SO much harder for Tris to tell Christina that she killed Will when the Dauntless were under the serum attack, which in turn makes Christina kinda hate Tris for a bit there.

#3: So this isn't that big of a deal, I know, but Tris's mom doesn't sneak in to the loading dock area to warn her she's in danger. She comes to parents night at the Dauntless, and Tris realizes her mom used to be Dauntless when she tells her to try the chocolate cake, because it's delicious, after she tells Tris to be careful in a dauntless hallway, hidden from the view of the cameras.

#4: Jeanine and the Erudites (that sounds like a band name, doesn't it?) were not in the control room while Four was controlling the serum simulation (while under the simulation himself) and therefor was never "serumed" by Tris and Four to stop it. Four shuts it down on his own, after he breaks out of his serum-induced trance thanks to his love for Tris.

OK, those are all the spoilers I'm including... for now.

Like I said above, I really did like this movie. Enough that I would even see it again. It may not be as well done as the Hunger Games movies, but it was still an entertaining story and a great way to escape life for a couple hours.

I'd recommend Divergent to mature upper elementary aged kids, so maybe 11 or 12 and up, due to violence and some adult situations.

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