Monday, March 24, 2014

The Book Vs. The Movie~ Divergent Trilogy Series Part 1 of 5


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.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Welcome dear readers to my Divergent Trilogy Series Part 1 of 4. I have a lot planned, and as you can read (there's a handy title just for those purposes) this is a comparison review of the Divergent movie and the book.  I know everybody and their second cousins third mother (where did that come from?) is doing a review, but I just thought I would join he crowd. 

The Book: I never liked the book. *turns away with tears in eyes* *turns back and sobs* There! I said it! It was always mediocre to me. The reason why is because EVERYONE in my ENTIRE GRADE was FREAKINGSHLY OBSESSED with the series. *flails* So I basically didn't like the series because everyone did. My thoughts have changed/been impacted by my recent reading of Allegiant, so now I'm conflicted. Anyway, onto the review


My feelings about Shailene Woodley at Tris are a bit mixed. She doesn't exactly look the part. I know this isn't usually a huge issue when it comes to movies as long as the acting is great, but Tris being small and petite was such a huge part of her character. That's what made her an invincible, yet understated force. Instead, Christina was 5 inches shorter than Tris instead of vice versa. I also thought she wasn't the most amazing actress in the world. Nevertheless, I think pressure was put on her, everyone has high standards, and people will always have their own individual ideas and visualization of a character. I believe an actor can't always live up to everyone's expectations, and that was just the specific case for my personal opinion about her. I mean....I still remember her as Felicity from the American Girl movies. 




One of the biggest areas that Summit Entertainment succeeded in was Four. Most of my friends think Theo James is ugly (idiots *rolls eyes*), and I was one of them (What was I thinking?) but when I saw him 40 feet tall, my opinions....changed. What words shall I use to describe him (you know, besides swoon-worthy, hot, and yummy)? He was understated, and subtle. Two extremely interesting decisions, while he  was never an in-your-face character, he could have been betrayed as a menacing force of nature, an emotionless wall of brute force.  Instead, he was (to quote Little Women) "like the tide...once it comes it goes out slowly, but it can't be stopped". He crept up on everyone until the very last moment, and then everyone noticed him. In the book, I didn't see him as a real person, he seemed foreboding, and one-dementional, somewhat like a cardboard cut out (although I would love a cardboard cut out of Theo James). In the movie, he seemed perfect in every aspect and was the very best casting decision. 

I LOVED the chemistry between Theo and Shailene (I mean, look at the giant 'LOVE' up there). How many people's favorite scenes were when Theo took off his shirt (such a huge bonus) and then they started making out? On paper (computer screen) that sounds really weird. Anyway, their dialogue together, and
 the way everything seemed so fluid between them was what made Tobias and Tris the ultimate on-screen couple, or shall I say Four and Six? May I add that the soundtrack  was amazing? I'm not the biggest fan of Ellie Goulding, but Dead in the Water was incredible for this scene.

-Sets: There were quite a few times where the camera either panned around or gave us an aerial view of 'Chicago' which looked incredible. On top of that, the fear landscapes were done excellently well, especially Four's can I just tell u how nervous I was (although I was perfectly fine) when rhe two of them were on a beam about 40 stories up? Or about the room/box that's walls individually moved in and practically gave me claustrophobia. 

-Jeanine: Besides Theo James, Kate Winslet stole the show. I could not have casted her part better myself. I keep talking about how quietly Four crept up on me. Jeanine was in my face as broad as daylight. She was cold, calculative, knew which battles to pursue, and when to draw back so that her next move would strike even harder. Winslet was the best Erudite that has ever existed, her gaze leaving marks upon your soul. Okay, maybe not that intense, but definitely creepy. If I had one, I would slap the 'Villain you love to hate' stamp all over her. 

-Natalie Prior: Ashley Judd played this role better than an Asian kid on the piano with a tiger mom parent. I know that makes no sense, but in the Asian community translation = VERY WELL. She was sort of like an older Cammie Morgan. She could blend into any surrounding. She was selfless, wise, and peaceful, but at the same time she was able to go believably badass and humorous. It was kind of like when Mulan drew her sword to face the Huns when they underestimated her for being a girl.....or being Abnegation.  

-Secondary Characters: Summit Entertainment messed up on this one big time. I know that Divergent was written in first person, and like The Hunger Games, was meant to be told in the narrator's perspective, but I was watching the #SOBPL (Story of Beatrice Prior's Life). My mom -who knew nothing about Divergent except that there were five groups of people named after adjectives- had no idea what any of the secondary character's names were. Christina, Will, Peter, Edward, Al, Drew, Molly, Lynne, practically even Eric weren't given life. We also can't forgive the scriptwriters for excluding Uriah from the entire movie.  It was as if someone had just played the 'attack Tris at the chasm' card in the Divergent board game. The motive, circumstance, and even characters weren't established whatsoever. Hardly anyone noticed that Will and Christina were best friends with Tris, let alone that they were in a relationship and the significance of Tris shooting Will.

-Details: There's some quote out there that I'm having trouble recalling that's about the importance of details, but whatever. The point is that the script writer, or whoever was the one that called the shots missed details. I know people say "Focus on the big picture!" and all of that stuff, but I honestly don't care. They missed simple details in the dialogue, props, and other aspects that would have been so easy to fix. How hard would it have been to hand Ansel Elgort a measly pair of glasses? Or to have Tobias kiss Tris after the results were shown? Or remove some mascara from Shailene Woodley's eyelashes? Or to add water to the chasm? Or have people eat Dauntless cake? Are you catching my drift?

Final Verdict: Everyone always knows that the movie can/will never live up to the book, but Divergent did try very hard. I personally loved the movie as a movie only and would give it 4 1/2 stars, but as a book adaption I would probably have to rank it as a 3 star one. While flaws were few, they were major ones that impacted the story, along with Insurgent and Allegiant. 

Post Script~ Clues for the next posts in this series. 
-Has anyone read the last book before/after seeing the movie, and started wondering just how much the decisions would affect the overall feel of the trilogy in movie form?
-Fact of the Day: This is NOT a new Hunger Games, please people, there are broad similarities, but the same, new,CPR better thing? I don't think so. 
-Why does everybody love Divergent?
-Factions. Factions. Factions. 
-How do you think both the score and soundtrack affected the movie? It is huge in terms of setting the stage. What are your thoughts?

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