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Divergent: The Movie

18 March 2014
So, it's no secret that one of my top five favorite books of all time is Divergent by Veronica Roth. I read it in 2010 when it first came out in one intense all-nighter and then immediately read it three more times. After sleeping. But only a little sleeping.

I have been very nervous about Divergent the movie. Specifically, I do not agree with the casting of Theo James as Four. I think the man is a fine actor, but as Four he is ten years too old. Also I don't think he's attractive. That's my opinion and you don't have to agree with it. Mostly my complaint is his age. He is 28 and Four is meant to be 18. Bleh. I'm also not a huge fan of Summit Entertainment in general.

So as the movie has loomed near, I have been more nervous than excited. I wanted to see the movie, but I was also dreading it.

I am happy to report that I was wrong. (Except about the part where Theo James is too old.)

The movie was fantastic. I won 2 tickets to a prescreening (thanks, Salt Lake Comic Con!) and took my 17 year old sister to see the movie with me. The first five minutes of the film made me scared. But then I got sucked in. And it was an intense ride that did not let go.

I do have some complaints.

  • First, the boys cast as Caleb, Peter, Will and Al all look extremely similar. It was SO HARD to tell them apart - especially Al and Will.
  • The ending with Jeanine and the serum did not make any sense whatsoever. If you think too hard about it, it's ruined.
  • They moved an issue with Caleb from Allegiant to this movie. If you've read the books, that sentence will make sense. If not, GO READ THE BOOKS.
  • I loved that, in the books, Four is the responsible one with regard to...physical...ness. He's the one that sets limits with the make-out session. In the movie, Tris is the responsible one. Taking that bit of awesomeness away from Four hurt my heart a little bit.
  • -Elle Goulding's screeching "wooohhhhaaahhhhaahhhh"'s were so annoying. I am over her and her music.

Now for the good!

THE ACTING WAS PHENOMENAL. Seriously, top notch all over the place. I was so pleased by the acting. Wow, wow. I had heard that Shailene Woodley was a terrible actress and I am so happy to report that she is AMAZING here. Shows so much emotion - in one very painful scene near the end, her expression just about made me cry. Heartbreaking. Beautiful. SO MUCH GOOD ACTING IN ONE PLACE.

Most of us who want our favorite books turned into movies want 20 hour long films with every detail included. This film, at 2.5 hours, was the perfect length. Yes, there were parts left out. Yes, things were glossed over.

But friends, they tried. I want that emphasized because if you know what to look for, you will be so happy. So listen up: there are nods all over to the parts they had to cut out for length. In the beginning of the movie, they show symbols from each of the Factions. Like a scientist looking into a microscope for Erudite, an Abnegation taking the hand of a Factionless. Oh, it was so good.

It's all blurring together for me now, but I know there other parts. I am so proud of the director for making little overtures everywhere. People who are book fans will love it; people who aren't book fans won't notice.

I loved that they showed scenes from Amity and from the Factionless. I thought they'd gloss over the Factionless stuff like crazy, but it was very real and very present.

Did I mention how great Shailene Woodley was? And I know there are many fangirls complaining she's too pretty. Of course she's too pretty - but she's not THAT pretty. She's not movie star gorgeous. She has a chest like a real person. Her eyes are oddly spaced. She's real. I loved that.

Kate Winslet was amazing. The Choosing Ceremony was awesome. The costumes were SO COOL and I really really want a Dauntless outfit. The training scenes, though short, were epic. Every scene in this movie meant something and had something behind it. I've never felt a book-to-movie have this same sort of depth.

The soundtrack was so well done, with the exception of anything involving Elle Goulding.

So. For this Erudite Initiate, the movie was fantastic. I will be seeing it again (and again. And possibly again.) It brought out the best of everything I love about the books. I hope it leads more people to the books. As I was leaving, a heard a viewer say to some kind of reporter person that "purists will be disappointed." You better believe I broke in with "I'm a HUGE purist and I was NOT disappointed at ALL."

And it was so fun hearing my son's name on the big screen. I've never heard a "Tobias" in a movie theater. Now I have. Booyah.