Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Divergent Movie Review

Divergent: The Movie

So I (FINALLY) went to see the Divergent movie two weekends ago! I read the book a couple summers ago and I absolutely loved it. The entire series is one of my favorites. So I was a little nervous when they decided to turn it into a movie. I've been wronged by the YA movie industry before (looking at you PERCY JACKSON). I've had movies I love totally flop (staring at you THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS). But then again I have book to movie adaptations I love (lovingly gazing at you HARRY POTTER, LORD OF THE RINGS, THE HUNGER GAMES). It's a game of chance we play, us YA movie people.

I wasn't sure how to feel about the casting. I love Shailene Woodley...but she's so nice. Tris, as much as I love her, is not nice. Tris is strong, brave, and brilliant. But overall she's kind of a jerk. So I was slightly worried about Shailene. Theo James had me from the start. He's gorgeous and intimidating, like Four. I love Miles Teller and he seemed like a perfect Peter (Tris's nemesis). The weirdest casting for me was Ansel Elgort as Caleb (Tris's brother) because he's also playing Augustus (from TFIOS, which if you haven't read get out of the hole you're living in and go pick it up and a box of tissues) . The whole time I watched the movie I was expecting him to start making out with Tris.

I went into the movie with high expectations though because everyone I knew who had already seen it was pretty hunky dory about it. And....IT WAS AWESOME! They did a beautiful job. And the movie is actually doing good so SEQUELS. I LOVED IT.

The movie opens with a voiceover of Tris explaining the faction systems with the five groups each representing a different virtue they think is most important. Abnegation-selflessness, Candor-honesty, Amity-peace, Erudite-knowledge, and Dauntless-courage. I also learned I've been saying Erudite wrong my whole life. We get the world building done right away, which was nice. It was informational, but didn't feel like info-dump.

Next we have Aptitude testing. The scene where the Dauntless come in on the train for the tests had me like:

Except I was sitting down so it was a lot more subdued. But internally, this is how I was. It was so cool and Dauntless.

The Aptitude test wasn't exactly how I pictured it because of how it had so many mirror images, which got to be a little confusing. It still looked awesome and everything, but I would have liked it better if they hadn't done that. It was also shorter and less scary than I imagined it. Tori telling her she was Divergent was totally creepy and bone-chilling how I wanted it to be though!

Then Tris goes home and spends time with her family. Her family in the movie is a lot more affectionate than her book family. I understood why they did that though because otherwise we wouldn't have connected to them at all because we don't get to hear Tris talk about them. The scene where they're eating in the dark really got me because I never thought about how they probably wouldn't use electricity unless they needed to. (Warning: to be Abnegation you must not be afraid of the dark.)

The conversation with Jeanine before the Choosing ceremony was a good thing they added in. Kate Winslet is a fantastic Jeanine. She plays the cold, cool villain so well. She's almost in the movie too much though. Sometimes when they added her in I liked it, and sometimes I did not.

The Choosing ceremony was a highlight and suspenseful. I knew what was going to happen and I was still like PICK DAUNTLESS! PICK DAUNTLESS TRIS! She did choose Dauntless obviously. Then things really got going. She takes off out of there with the rest of the Dauntless and climbs up the support beam to the train tracks where they then have to jump onto a moving train. NBD.

We get the scene where SHE HAS TO JUMP OFF A MOVING TRAIN ONTO A BUILDING OVER A HUGE GAP. Man, it's sweet. Then Tris volunteers to be the first jumper and jumps off the high building into a hole in the ground. This was killing me because like Four heights terrify me.

She lands in the net and then we are introduced to Four.

This kicks off initiation! We meet Will, Christina, and Al. We have less time to get to know them, which is sad. I did like how they were all portrayed. Christina and Tris's friendship was a lot more solid and had less fighting. The Dauntless compound is pretty much exactly how I pictured it being all dark and chilling. (Warning: to be Dauntless you must also not be afraid of the dark.)

The first stage of initiation: beating the crap out of each other. Tris being a slight girl from Abnegation doesn't do so well. But through a badass training montage we see her slowly improving with the help of her friends and her good looking instructor.

We meet up with Tori again while getting tattoos to hear her explain that if people find out Tris is Divergent they WILL kill her. Tris is naturally a little freaked out by this.

Scenes in first stage initiation I loved and felt very true to the book: Christina dangling from the chasm, the first meal where Tris tells Four he's approachable (laughed out loud at this one), the knife-throwing scene (ultra ultra awesome).

They changed the war games. Instead of paintball it was an actual gunshot simulation serum. This made it ten times cooler. This was definitely a highlight of the movie for me. The ferris wheel part was cut short but I didn't mind. The action packed fight more than made up for it. These changes made me like it more than I did in the book.

Next was the zip-line scene............

BECAUSE IF YOU KNOW THAN YOU KNOW. But yeah it looked cool. I wish Uriah could have been in this movie. He better be introduced well in Insurgent.

Then Tris makes the cut to stage two: fear landscapes. You are injected with a serum that makes you live through your worst fears without realizing they aren't real. You experience things such as being pecked to death by crows, being trapped in a glass box slowly filling with water, and other happy things like that.

They were incredible and scary, as they should be. Tris can get through them easily because she's Divergent and simulations don't work on her like everyone else. She quickly moves up through the ranks while trying to keep her secret.

Due to jealousy three of the other initiates attack Tris one night while she's alone and almost toss her into the chasm. Luckily Four shows up and takes care of them. The romance is then developed and played out. I liked how they did everything. The best part was the tattoo scene of course.

Four takes Tris through his fear landscape to teach her how to do it like a Dauntless rather than a Divergent. I really liked this change! It made so much more sense. This whole sequence was awesome and we find out Four is called Four because he has only four fears. His real name is Tobias (unfortunate dude) and he transferred to escape his abusive father in Abnegation.

We get to the final day of initiation with the final fear landscape. Tris makes it through and the celebration is supposed to begin. Then the leader announces everyone needs to get a tracker before it can. Once everyone does all of the Dauntless freeze. The tracker is a serum that lets them be controlled by someone else. Tris because of her divergence, is not affected by it.

Everyone else though grabs a gun and boards the train. She finds Four and is relieved to find he isn't affected either. The train stops at Abnegation where the under control Dauntless start rounding up the government officials and killing them. Tris wants to find her family and protect them.

Before she can her and Four are caught by Dauntless leaders. Jeanine orders them to take Four with them and kill Tris. Tris is saved narrowly by her mother. They make a get away, but Tris has to end up shooting her friend Will (hello future angst). On the way to the safe house where her father is her mother jumps in front of her and gets shot. She then dies in a heartbreaking scene.

Tris has to keep going and meets up with her father, Caleb, and Tobias' father at the safe house. Tris delivers my favorite line of the movie after Peter says she won't shoot him. Tris gets them to go with her to the Dauntless compound to try and end the simulation. To make it to the computer room they have to get through the Dauntless guards and her father ends up getting shot (back to back parent death!). Tris keeps going though and enters the control room to find Four being controlled too and Jeanine instructing him to kill her.

This was also a highlight with Tris fighting to get Four to recognize her. When he eventually does and proceeds to beat everyone else in the control room it's awesome. Jeanine tries to keep the program running but Tris THROWS A KNIFE TO TRAP HER HAND ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN. It was so cool. She gets Jeanine to undo the simulation and escapes with Four, Caleb, and Four's father on a train. They take off into the distance as Tris gives another voiceover about how the future is uncertain with all the enemies they've made today. Roll credits.

Overall: 4.5/5 Stars

The movie rocked and I think nonbook lovers would enjoy it as well. It was no Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the movie by which all other book-to-movie-adaptations should be judged). The pacing was good because they didn't rush anything, but the movie is LONG. Tris was still almost too nice for me. Jeanine was in the movie too much for me. It was very true to the book. It just didn't have the extra something for me to give it a five. I highly recommend that people go see it though. It is a cinematic experience worth having.

The soundtrack is pretty cool as well. Even though half of it is Ellie Goulding.

"We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that that drives one person to stand up for another."

"Fear doesn't shut you down, it wakes you up."

1 comment:

  1. Nice review Michelle. With the exception of a few well-choreographed action scenes and fights, this movie fails to deliver anything new. Just felt stale after awhile.