Adaptation Report: Divergent

This is a bit of a throwback Thursday type post since I watched Divergent way back in April, but since I’m just starting my blog now I wanted to make sure I got this down. Since I did watch the movie so long ago my memory is about shifty so please feel free to let me know if I’m not remembering things correctly. Here we go:

When I realised just how close the release of Divergent was and I still hadn’t read the books I decided to power through them as fast as I could – which I did (read my review of the series here). This meant by the time the movie was released I was totally pumped to see the movie, especially since the first book was my favourite and the movie was so hyped.

I happened to be in London for the London Book Fair the weekend the movie came out in the UK so myself and a few friends made our way to the theatre near our hostel to watch the movie. We were all so looking forward to it…and uh..we weren’t the happiest leaving the theatre (though we did run across streets yelling ‘DAUNTLESS’ when we got out).

It wasn’t bad, but I certainly didn’t think it was good either.

I had a lot of issues with what was cut from the story – and yes, I do understand that certain things need to be cut for time purposes, but some stuff that wasn’t included, I think, really hurt the plot.

Other than them not casting Uriah in the first movie (biased opinion as Uriah is one of my favourite characters in the whole series) the one thing that really annoyed me was that they didn’t develop Al’s story line properly – it didn’t get the justice it deserved. There was no indication of all his suffering in Dauntless; they never showed how he would cry every night or really any of the big indications that he was depressed. I feel like the audience who hadn’t read the book didn’t really understand the full reason for his suicide – they got the short term causes (what happened with Tris) but they never learn everything that we do about how depressed he was in Dauntless. It’s almost like wanting to know what caused the first World War and only learning about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand not any of the long term reasons. The way his character was handled wasn’t something I was too fond of.

I also thought the movie overall was just a bit…blah. I didn’t find myself completely entranced the way I was with the book. Sure it was full of action, but I didn’t find myself caring.

I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the way I ended up feeling about the series on a whole…it’s definitely possible.

Also, they changed the ending didn’t they? I watched the film a while ago, but I’m almost certain I remember the ending being very different in the book. I think I need to watch it again to make sure I’m not going crazy.

One thing that I did enjoy in the film was the casting of Four. I think that Theo James had the right edge to him to play the strong, mysterious side of the character…not to mention he is ridiculously handsome (*cough*). I wonder if he is going to be able to play the sensitive (and really annoying) Tobias as well – we shall have to see.

Speaking of Four, his relationship with Tris was really rushed in the movie. I loved how their relationship developed in the books because I guess there was just more time for them to get to know one another and build the trust. This is probably due to it being a movie so it needed to be more compact, but the relationship in the movie seemed rushed.

As someone who isn’t necessarily the biggest fan of Shailene Woodley I think she managed the role of Tris relatively well (I prefer her performance in The Fault in Our Stars). She definitely understood the character, I just thought that sometimes the action bits and fights were a tad awkward and forced.

Miles Teller was a great Peter though – a little shit that has the ability to show redeeming qualities…sort of – and the actor who played Eric was great as well.

Like I said before, I didn’t hate the movie; it was okay. I will obviously continue to watch the movies as they come out, but I think I won’t go into them with such high expectations like I had with Divergent.

I rate this adaptation 3 out of 5 stars on the adaptation front and on an enjoyability scale.

Was I alone in my disappointment? Let me know in the comments or via Twitter (@throughpgs)

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