I was nervous before seeing it, and at the last minute even asked my dude if he wanted to see The Grand Budapest Hotel instead. A lot of the reviews have been very mixed, and a lot of people felt there were a lot of pieces missing. When I see book-to-movie adaptations, I like to view each one separately, or as companions to one another. This saves on disappointment big time. Each one is a different art, they just walk hand-in-hand together. It's sometimes impossible to get all the small details we love into a feature-length film, because there's usually a crap ton of other stuff going on.
This review might be a little spoilerish, so if you haven't read the book/don't want to be spoiled, please don't read this!
What I Loved:
1) Chicago/World Building! I loved seeing post-apocalyptic Chicago brought to life. It was super eerie to see the lake gone, and much of the skyscrapers torn to shreds. One of my biggest peeves with the book was that Chicago didn't seem very present. If you've ever visited Chicago, you know that there's definitely a feeling here, and the book didn't convey that. However, seeing the buildings, the trains, the ferris wheel, etc. The city was really brought to life in this world. I also liked seeing all of the factions in action.
2) Female badassery! I read this article before I went to the theater, and it only solidified how important these female characters are to young readers and viewers. Tris shows a lot of growth and determination in the movie. There are lots of weirdly motivating work out montages as Tris tries to build her strength. Her decisions in the movie also seemed really bold. In the book, I didn't think her choices were made with a lot of thought to consequence. The movie better translated her thought process and made her seem more brave. And, the scene with Tris and her mom kicking ass (
3) TENSION/ACTION! Holy moly. Much to my boyfriend's disappointment, I am not a fan of action movies at all. Dis movie tho. I could not tear my eyes away. There was so much going on. My heart was pounding the entire time while watching it. I felt anxious for Tris when she was choosing her faction. I felt the awkwardness when she's running with Dauntless for the first time, the thrill of climbing up to the el tracks and jumping on the train. THE SEARS TOWER ZIPLINE? THE NAVY PIER CAPTURE THE FLAG? It was the most thrilling movie I have seen in recent memory. And lets talk about that romantic tension between Four and Tris. I was the weirdo with the awkward smirk on her face every time Four touched or protected her.
5) Made me excited about the series again. When I finished reading Divergent, I was not in a rush to get Insurgent. I placed it on hold at the library, but after waiting for three months, I gave up. Seeing the characters brought to life, and feeling the excitement that the movie gave me, I am buying Insurgent today. Finally.
6) Ansel Elgort's running. Because lets be real, even in moments of pure intensity, his running was awkwardly hilarious.
What I Didn't Fully Love:
1) A couple of unanswered questions. My boyfriend has never read Divergent, and after the movie he had a lot of questions for me. Unfortunately, I've only read the first book, so I couldn't answer his questions, and I had a few of my own. Some of the elements of the world weren't fully explained. I also thought Erudite's reasoning for taking over Abnegation wasn't fully explained enough. Simply thinking they deserved to be in power was not enough of a reason for me to believe that they would turn a whole faction into a mindless army. I've heard a lot of these questions are better answered in Insurgent though, so I look forward to finding out more!
2) The fear wasn't fully there. In the simulations that Tris, Four, and other members of society go through, they face their fears and tackle them the way a person in their faction would. For Tris, her fears included attacking birds, being trapped in a box of water, and the attempted rape scene from Four. Four also takes Tris into his fears with him to train her on how to respond the way a Dauntless would. Because Tris is divergent, she is able to realize within the simulation that it is fake, and find a way out. This made the fears seem less dire. I would've liked to experience that fear more, but because we are reminded that it isn't real, it doesn't seem as serious to the viewer.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Divergent. I'm super looking forward to getting Insurgent in my little hands today and finding out what happens next. I'm also super ready for the next movie in this installment!
Did you see Divergent? What did you think?