It’s big news. Divergent is here. Veronica Roth’s best-selling novel has been adapted into the screenplay every reader was dying to see. So, how did it do?
Directed by Neil Burger
Written by Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor, and Veronica Roth
and Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It was entertaining and I was very happy to see it co-produced by Veronica Roth as it stuck very close to the original story. The set design and overall look of the film was beautiful. The post-war Chicago had a very dystopic feel to it that suited the story; it was the best vision of Roth’s Chicago as could be interpreted, in my opinion.
I was unfamiliar with most all of the actors, but I was pleased with their performances. Shailene Woodley I am entirely unfamiliar with, but her timidness suited the abnegation character very well. I didn’t really perceive much of the Dauntless character in her, but I know that can be expanded in the sequels. Theo James as Four was a good pick, he was distant and harsh while still offering glimpses of deep emotion. I can’t say Tris and Four had great chemistry in the film, but to be fair, It wasn’t superb in the book either.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the film was the stunt-work. The zip-line in particular was fascinating, even better than I imagined it in my reading. There is a good amount of action in the film, along with some drama and a teensy bit of romance of course, but I actually enjoyed the scenes running to get on the train, jumping in the pit, and training in the compound. Along with the stunts, the technology was suiting to the dystopia. I thought the serums, the computers, and the weapons were a great vision of Roth’s novel.
Now, as much appealing as the image on the screen was, with the broken Chicago setting, inventive technology, and new stunts, I wasn’t overall impressed with the script of the film. I thought much of the dialogue seemed very bland, or at least it was delivered that way. There was little character development from dialogue. Instead, characters transformed suddenly without any spoken epiphany or the like. In the novel, at least readers had the first person perspective of Tris, but that seems to be lost in the film. Jeanine especially was a confusing character without the supportive plot development or Tris’s understanding that wasn’t shared with viewers. There wasn’t much supportive character development, Christina especially was left in the shadows of the main characters, Tris and Four. Lastly, the shooting of this film had one major flaw – an abundance of close-ups made me forget the story and wonder why they were shooting inches from these actors faces. Especially when these actors weren’t exactly giving oscar-winning performances. Hopefully in the sequel they will focus on the scene and not just the character.
Overall, I enjoyed the film. With a few distracting elements and a general blandness to the script, I have to argue that Divergent was a good movie, but not great. I definitely recommend watching it. Especially to those who read the books. The film will not disappoint readers. While some changes were made in the translation from novel to script, it is very formulaic to the book and does well choosing the best scenes for the film. The changes that do happen between the book and the film are minor and forgivable. It would be unrealistic to expect the movie to be exactly the same as the book, yet Divergent gets pretty darn close. Go watch it, this is a cinematic experience that will be worth your time.
I give Divergent 3.5 Stars
To read my review of Divergent by Veronica Roth, go here