I’ve been looking forward to the Divergent movie for a while now though I wasn’t sure if I would actually enjoy it or not. While I’m incredibly happy that so many books I know and love are being made into movies, there’s always the chance that what I pictured in my mind won’t end up translating well to what I see on the big screen. But with Divergent . . . I left the theater thinking is was awesome and that Insurgent will only be better.
I have to admit that when I first heard Shailene Woodley was cast as Tris (and then Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars) I was disappointed. I hadn’t seen much of her acting before but what I had viewed didn’t leave me confident that she would be able to carry out this strong kick-ass heroine in the way the world needs to see her. Tris has a vulnerable side, too, and while I was watching that was the first side of her character that left me impressed with how Woodley handled it. As the movie progressed and Tris’ character continued to build, I realized that all of the fears I had held about the leading lady’s ability to hold her own were unfounded.
Theo James, while undeniably attractive (one of the reasons why I immediately bought my friend a poster featuring him when that was released) also left me wondering if I would get the Four I wanted. He was great. There were only a few moments between him and Tris that I thought were unnecessarily corny but for a YA adaptation there was practically nothing for me to complain about on that end. James was great as the attractive older instructor and a love interest.
There were scenes that were perfect for me, just like what I’d seen when reading the book. It was so incredible to see that translated into a different medium. I have to admit that the ziplining scene had me tearing, partially because I kept thinking of Allegiant.
My biggest complaint overall is how they altered the ending. I think I would have finished the movie happier if they’d fiddled with some other scene instead of changing the big finish the way they did. I’m not sure who thought that was a good decision but it was a very awkward, confusing section where I spent the entire time thinking about how it was done much better and cleaner in the novel.
I hear a lot about people comparing this to other book to movie adaptations and that really needs to stop. There’s no way to compare it when there are different teams working on each film and each book is unique in the way it needs to be changed to fit the screen. It seems like since the success of The Hunger Games everything is getting compared to that . . but I wasn’t 100% happy with it when that first came out and I loved it despite its flaws, just like I loved Divergent.
Overall I’d give this movie an A-.