Book to Movie Review–Divergent

Summary (from IMDb): In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Book to Movie Review:

I absolutely loved the book and I’ve been excited about the movie for a long time. I’m a believer that movies can be as good as the books and when they aren’t, they can still be really good. From the stills, previews, and other teasers, I was 100% confident that Divergent would be awesome and the public would be introduced to yet another amazing dystopian trilogy in cinematic format to rival The Hunger Games. I’m always excited to share these stories with non YA readers so they can see that YA stories can be (and ARE) awesome.

However, after 2 and a half hours of Divergent, I was left feeling disappointed. The movie was actually boring and the characters fell pretty flat. While I thought Tris was alright and I was happy with Four, neither of them really stood out to me as great characters. Even the strong and wicked secondary characters like Eric, Peter, and Janine were lacking the right dimensions and none of them seemed all that sinister. The friendly secondary characters like Will, Christina, and Al were sort of.. in the background. Good characters are shaped by the world around them and I felt like no one was shaped. I caught myself leaning over to tell my husband things because I didn’t feel like they were executed well enough.

The movie certainly captured the highlights and the major moments of the story. We got to see the opening scene done exactly as we all pictured. We saw Tris test, choose, jump, fall, and wind up fighting and training in Dauntless. We saw the relationship unfold with Four, the action packed moments with the tests, the Dauntless, and the Erudite along with the deaths, shocking moments, and betrayals. It was all there. In trailer sized portions, broken up into scenes, the movie is perfect. But the complexities of the world, the explanations, the faction tensions, the way of life, the beliefs of the inhabitants, the grit of the story, and even the motivations of everyone in power were completely missing. To anyone who didn’t read the book, I imagine they were thinking that the story lacked logic and had a bunch of huge plot holes. That’s the way it seemed.

I loved Divergent (the book) and I still think it’s one of the best YA dystopian novels I’ve read, so to see it pale in comparison on the big screen to a YA dystopian that isn’t nearly as good of a story (in my opinion) just bugs me.

If you were to take just about any story and rip it into simple pieces, it would probably seem predictable and flat to some degree. Any story. I mean, details and underlying themes, issues, and experiences really do make a major difference. And I feel like the movie ended up ripping the Divergent story down to the bare parts. My exchange student said what she took from it was that Blue people wanted to overthrow the Gray people who were in power and wanted to use the Black group to do it because they were like soldiers. Well, when you put it that way, sure, that’s the plot of Divergent. But anyone who read Divergent knows that there was so much more than that. Wasn’t there? Is that really all this story is?

In the end, it wasn’t a bad movie, but it didn’t blow me away. It was long, kind of boring, and it didn’t capture me the way a story like that should have. I wasn’t comparing to the book the entire time, but trying to fully enjoy it from the eyes of someone who wasn’t familiar with the story and I don’t think it would have made me want to read the books.

Bottom Line: *sigh* I’m just disappointed. No one is going to start a craze over this one.

I guess the next one to look forward to is The Maze Runner. Come on, YA dystopian movies, start kicking some ass.