Genre: Dystopian/Sci Fi
I was so lucky to win passes to an early screening of Divergent! I had an amazing time at the event, where stars Jai Courtney and Miles Teller stopped by. I unfortunately didn’t get to have anything signed, but I still got to see them, and got some swag. Plus, I got to see the movie!
Divergent hugely exceeded all expectations I had. As the film started I felt overwhelmed with emotions I hadn’t felt since I’d read the book over two years ago. All of a sudden I was re-immersed in this universe, which struck me in a way it hadn’t previously, and made for a lasting, memorable experience.
The world-building throughout the whole film was excellent. I feel the entire crew involved in making this film really understood the books and wanted to faithfully portray Veronica Roth’s universe. Right from the start I felt that they’d nailed it. The introduction into the faction system was perfect for both those familiar with the books and not, both visually and verbally (with Tris explaining everything in voice-over).
At the start of the movie Shailene Woodley was Shailene Woodley, but by the end I was 100% convinced she was Tris Prior, Dauntless-Divergent-Butt-Kicking Heroine. Theo James was not at all how I’d envisioned Four looking, but by the end I couldn’t imagine him any other way. He totally captured all the different angles of Four so perfectly. He was also surprisingly funny (more than I remember in the book). The romance and chemistry between Tris and Four was great. It was slow and steady, and amazing.
All the acting was outstanding, without exception. The initiates were great, and totally matched their literary counterparts. Eric and Peter in particular stood out to me, but that might just be because I’d seen them in person 20 minutes before it started. Kate Winslet was, well, Kate Winslet. She was outstanding, though I must say it was sort of distracting because she is such an icon.
I was sort of shocked initially by how violent it was, because reading it is an entirely different experience, but I think I’m glad that they didn’t hold back, because I could grasp just how intense their training was in a way I hadn’t before. I had so much more sympathy (and apathy) for the characters because of it.
The simulations were so cool, and while I usually can’t stand it when special effects are so over-used, I was impressed with them, and half the time I wasn’t even sure if they were using computer effects. The camera shots bothered me sometimes, though. Some shots they would be spinning or zooming really quickly, which made me nauseous (which is why I am not Dauntless), or things would blur sort of strangely (and not just in simulations). Of course, it could just be because I was in the front row with broken glasses and a migraine.
Just something about seeing this story, as opposed to reading it, was so intense. The message of the film moved me even more than the book, which still surprises me. The magic of film brought this story of the power of choice to life, and will likely stay with viewers long after the closing credits.