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01 April 2014

Book to Movie: Divergent Review

Lead characters Tris and Four stand above a futuristic Chicago.

Like many of you, I read and enjoyed Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I read it when it first came out, was one of the first to read Insurgent (and was disappointed, but that's another post here), and have yet to read Allegiant (though it is on hold at the library).

But, when I started hearing rumblings about a Divergent movie, I was interested.  Yes, I could definitely see this book as a good movie, but I was fearful of the recent Hollywood trend of turning good YA books into horrible, and horribly undergrossing, movies.  I honestly figured though that I'd watch it on Redbox or Netflix, I never figured Aaron would actually want to go see it in the theater.  So, I was really surprised when I mentioned after seeing a commercial for it how I'd like to see it, that Aaron agreed to go see it in the theater ON OPENING WEEKEND!  (this never happens---I didn't even get to see Harry Potter #7 part 1 or 2 on opening weekend, but he was off and I guess figured had nothing better to do).

As we were sitting in the theater, I gave Aaron a brief synopsis of the book and he perked up a little (I'm guessing he figured it was going to be more of a girly action movie).  I was very happy when he didn't grumble through the entire movie, or make stupid comments (like he's been known to do) when he wasn't enjoying the movie (yes, my husband is THAT guy).

I thought the storyline stayed as close to the book as a 2 1/2 hour long movie could.  Did they cut some characters and scenes out?  Of course.  Did it make that big of a difference?  Not really.  It was really funny though, as we were walking out of the theater, a girl who was quite obviously a huge fan was arguing with her friend over the importance of a character that wasn't in the movie.  The friend didn't think his addition or subtraction really changed the storyline at all, but the superfan was adamant that IT DID!  To be honest, it had been so long since I read the book, I had forgotten about the character (Elias, I think), so I have to agree with the friend.

As far as casting, Theo James is dreamy to the extreme as Four/Tobias.  He was tough, he was broody, but he had a soft core.  I said this to Aaron, and he agreed that he was much better looking than Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) or Gale (Liam Hemsworth).  

I also loved Ashley Judd as Mrs. Prior.  She can do silent and giving, but also kick so much butt.  Kate Winslet as Jannine Mathews was just brilliant casting.  Kudos to whomever gave her the script and whomever cast her.  She is so perfectly cool and calculating.  

However, the casting of Shailene Woodley as Tris was a point of disagreement between Aaron and I.  I think she did a great job, and embodied the smart yet physically weaker girl.  I also think she is naturally stunning.  She doesn't need gloss and glamour to shine, it just comes naturally.  Aaron disagreed--he thought she was too weak looking, that the fight sequences (especially between her and Four) were super unrealistic.  That there was no way that this little slip of a girl could kick a guy like Four's butt.  

All in all, I think it was a great movie.  I'm happy that it has done so well, and I do hope that Insurgent gets made into a movie as well (even though I didn't like the book).

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