I needed to reread Divergent (and Insurgent) so that I could read Allegiant and I had yet to see the movie by this point, so I thought, “Hey, let’s watch the movie right after re-reading the book, why not.” And here we are.
SPOILERS FOR BOTH THE MOVIE AND THE BOOK, HO!
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Release Date: April 25th 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Hardcover, 487 pages.
Rating: 5/5 Crabapples
Find it here: Goodreads || Book Depository
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
First off I just want to mention the fact that I thought the whole initiation process was rushed, and there were definite changes to a lot of the processes that took place in this part of the book. I can understand why they did, in a movie they can’t linger too long on certain aspects or the viewers will get bored in ways that readers reading the book might necessarily not. I was a little disappointed in the fact things were cut and others were changed, but some I was happy about. For example, Molly’s character was shown but she was never named, and her bully aspect was rendered solely onto Peter, which I was actually okay about. Her portrayal in the movie might have been weak considered to what it was in the books, but she was nicer and had more redeeming qualities about her. I do wish she had been named at least once, though.
What I’m most confused about regarding the bullying was the fact only Al was revealed in the part where Tris is kidnapped and about to be thrown to her death. Unless I missed something? It seems like her other attackers were never shown or named, and only Al was the one taking all of the blame despite being one of three guys doing it. I mean his deception was a big part of the scene, sure, and of his character, but I figured they’d at least mention the fact he was with two other people when he did what he did. We all know Peter’s a major asslick, but readers of the book are made more aware of this than those who watch the movie, in my opinion.
I didn’t hate the movie, and I always like to have a visual to go along with things that I’m reading so the fact it was made into a movie is thrilling to me, but this definitely will not be among my favorite book-to-movie adaptations. After watching it, I feel like they got the core of the plot down, but I still felt kind of cheated with what I was given without really knowing why.
(I’ll admit I was really, really happy they cut the eye-stabbing scene though. I was tense the whole time waiting for that to happen, up until it was clear it wasn’t going to.)
Something that directly stuck out to me while watching this was the final fear testing thing that initiates have to go through in order to be accepted into the faction. I don’t think it was a bad move to have it more studied and public than it was in the books, but knowing what was going to be shown (at least, for the most part, since they changed it somewhat) just made me realize how much more embarrassing it was going to be for Tris. I mean, even more so since the fear scene with Four seemed a lot more… non-consensual than the original had. In the original, he wasn’t forcing himself on her like he was in the movie, and all she told him to get him to go away was that she wasn’t going to sleep with him.
And then the whole thing with Eric’s character? That confused me. In the books, his character is a lot easier to understand as a villain-type, but in the movie I found myself wavering at one point or another, when he would show the occasional hint of kindness before turning around and snapping it back. Such as the scene with Christina and the chasm, it didn’t totally throw me through a loop since I knew Eric to not be the nice guy of the series, but on the train when Tris comes along despite being told she was cut, I was expecting him to do something to her for disobeying him. Instead, he just lets her go, which is what confused me.
Final thing I just want to throw out there. Tris is taller than Christina despite Tris’ short height being mentioned multiple times. I know this isn’t a massive thing (and actually, the fact it was mentioned so much in the books bugged me just the slightest of amounts; I mean, we get it, she’s tiny), but it’s something I noticed right away since it is mentioned so many times in the books. I enjoyed the actresses chosen to portray the respective characters, so the fact their heights were switched really wasn’t any skin off my nose. It’s just something I noticed.
So, yeah. Pretty okay movie, but not my favorite. Whether that’s because they changed it around some to be a more entertaining movie (don’t think so) or because the book was just more exciting to read than to watch (probably), I’m still glad they made it into a movie and I will be watching Insurgent when it comes out later this month. Expect a book-to-movie post for that one, too!
(One more thing and then I’ll stop. Caleb? Adorable. Can’t wait to see what he’s like in the next movie.)
Thanks for reading!