March 30, 2014

Haiku Revieu: Divergent

Divergent (***1/2)

Tris is not "normal"
Dystopian Chicago
Four has a nice back

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I was a huge fan of the first of Veronica Roth's Divergent series the first time I read it, but became less enamored of the world once I read Insurgent and Allegiant. Because of my disappointment in the books, I wasn't super excited about seeing this movie.

Both the book and the movie are set in a dystopian Chicago, long after humanity has made the rest of the world unlivable. The humans are split up into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Each has certain specific characteristic; Abnegations are selfless, Amitys are kind, Candors don't lie, Dauntlesses are fearless and Erudites are smart. When kids in the society reach a certain age, they go through a test that supposedly tells them which faction they'll belong in for the rest of their lives. Typically, kids get one faction. Tris Pryor, on the other hand, comes up as three, which makes her Divergent—and a danger to the security of her society. Tris, who was born into Abegnation, chooses Dauntless, where she meets Four and is thrust into a faction war that no one saw coming.

When I first read about the actors playing the main characters—Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four—I wasn't on board. Not because of their acting, which I've honestly not seen much of, but because of the seemingly huge divide between their ages. In the books, Tris and Four are teenagers, and only about two years apart. IRL, Shailene is 22 and Theo is 29. That's not a huge age difference, but Shailene just looks so much younger than Theo, to me at least. The two were surprisingly good in their roles, but the needed chemistry between the two just wasn't there.

The standout of the movie was, to me, the sets. The world Roth built in the books is a neat one, and the movie makers did a good job at bringing it to the screen. The adaptation of the story was a bit loose, too, but I haven't read the first book in a while, so that wasn't that bothersome. Besides, what YA-to-big screen adaptation is ever wholly faithful?

I'd recommend this movie to Divergent fans. If you've not read the books, I'm not sure you'll quite "get" all that's going on. But I could be wrong.

If you've seen it—having read the book first or not—I'd like to know what you think. Let me know in the comments?


  1. The Wachowskis are hit and miss, at least from experience with The Matrix. The first one was amazing, and then the second two were let downs. Jupiter Ascending definitely looks neat, but I'm not entirely sure about the story.

    And I think Scarlett definitely has the chops to hold her own in a Black Widow movie. I think it would be awesome to see something with her and Winter Soldier. And, since Sebastian Stan got that huge contract, they might already be considering it?

  2. 1) Amy Acker as The Cellist. I love that! Yes. 2) MOAR Archer. Win! 3) Rosemary's Baby intrigues me greatly. 4) Tucker and Dale. The Husband has been trying to find that for me for monthsandmonths. I am glad it is that super! Will have to see it before the sequel, f0' shizz. 5) Prometheus 2. I'm looking forward to that. I actually really enjoyed Prometheus (I am not an Alien nerd. I enjoy the films, but I have only recently watched them). 6) Truly, truly, truly outrageous! 7) M. Night Shyamalan. What a twist! 8) Maleficent. All of the yesses. 9) TMNT. The turtles look rad (and that "it's a mask" thing? Adorable! I love Mikey). Megan Fox worries me. 10) Hello, Sweetie. 11) Tangled, Frozen and TLM. That's kind of awesome. And sad.

  3. I loved it -- at least I liked it better than The Hunger Games. I'm hoping Insurgent will improve. :)

    I *did* like the series... especially the ending.

  4. I too was entirely in love with Divergent (the book). Although I liked Insurgent, I really didn't like Allegiant, except the ending which I though suited very well. But the whole 'reveal' of the world I found a super let down.
    As for the movie, I did enjoy it a lot. I agree the set design and world building was definitely the best part - especially the Dauntless compound which was exactly how I pictured it. I do think this presented a much shallower aspect to the characters compared to the books which was really disappointing, but I feel that it nearly always the case. Of the changes, I think I hated the ending most. It made no sense for Janine to be there. But, I have learned to accept that book-to-movie adaptations are never going to be what I want, haha! However, I think this is one of the better ones.

  5. I feel kind of the same way with the books; I loved Divergent after not having many expectations at all. But the following books were kind of a let down. It's been awhile since I've read it, so a revisit is in order to compare the book to the movie, but I was generally okay with the movie. Some things just looked silly on screen (the world itself was gorgeously rendered, but the Dauntless running around made me laugh, and just seemed comical at first) and I don't know how much I buy the chemistry, but overall I enjoyed seeing it in the theater.

  6. I was impressed at how closely it followed the book. I just read Divergent and flew through it in a day. Theo does seem a lot older in the movie, he came off as being at least 24 in the movie when he's only 19 in the book. The chemistry wasn't really there, but Four is so swoon worthy ;)

  7. You MUST see Tucker and Dale. It's so fantastic.

  8. Really? I was so disappointed in the ending. And I love the Hunger Games. To each their own, of course. :)

  9. I was expecting the Pit to be a bit darker, but other than that, was super pleased with everything else. I would have liked to see more from the characters, too. Particularly ones like Edward, who wasn't really even in the movie other than in the background.

  10. Agreed with all of the above. :)

  11. Um, yes. I was definitely distracted by him throughout. ;)