Last month, I reviewed the book Divergent. A fan of the book myself, I went to see the film adaptation on opening night. To follow up with what I had speculated in my last review, I am pleased to say the film met my own expectations and was incredibly enjoyable to watch.
One thing to remember when seeing a film based on a book is to keep an open mind to the film for what it is. Divergent is a two-and-a-half-hour film. That being said, there had to be scenes taken out from the book’s story to keep the length appropriate. There were a couple moments and scenes from the book that were removed, and some of the development between certain characters was trimmed down.
The sequels may need to re-explain or re-approach those missing items, but from what I have heard those scenes were at least filmed and intended to be in the final product. I felt the characters were perfectly cast. Shailene Woodley’s portrayal of Tris was not only exactly how I would have envisioned her while reading, but also very well performed.
Her portrayal felt organic and was powerful during emotional scenes. The character playing Four also captured the character well, with his clear toughness but also vulnerability. Even in appearance, I thought they all resembled their character descriptions well. The supporting actors played their roles well. Although they did not get as much development as their novel counterparts, they still drove the story just as effectively and added flavor and humor to the script.
The climax of the book was also altered a little. This I felt actually worked well for the film medium. I remember the book’s climax moving from place to place to place — the film condenses that into fewer locations to keep the pace at a reasonable momentum, but the information given in the book is still there. The final confrontation was also altered, but again, in a way I felt worked for the film.
That being said, nothing is perfect. There were aspects of the movie I thought weren’t as effective as they could have been. The film begins with a voiceover to establish both the world and the main protagonist’s mindset at the beginning of the story; this I felt took away from the film.
It wasn’t necessarily the voiceover itself that bothered me as much as it was the length of it — there was a point when it felt like it had said enough, but then kept going. I do understand that the voiceover’s purpose was geared toward audiences who hadn’t read the book, and as a reader, it was nice to have that visual guide to the film’s setting; I just wonder if its content could have been made more concise.
The soundtrack also felt out of place at times. Maybe if I was younger or more of an emotional person, it would have appealed to me, but there were moments where I felt its tone did not fit with where it was in the film, or was just simply too much. That, as well as some moments in dialogue, made the film feel corny at parts. But in a way, I think that adds to the entertainment value.
Divergent is worth seeing. It is a nice adaptation of the books and still has entertaining surprises. If you have not read the books I still recommend seeing it. The story is engaging and supplies likeable characters and intense action. I will certainly be seeing it again.
Anthony Munoz can be contacted at email@example.com