(Please note: the above image was found at Bobbins and Books.)
For this edition of From Books to Movies I'm going to feature my review of the Divergent movie.
Release Date: March 21, 2014 (USA)
Director: Neil Burger
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Adapted from: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Movie Website: http://divergentthemovie.com/
The Main Characters:
Tris (Beatrice Prior) - played by Shailene Woodley
I admit that I wasn't a huge fan of Shailene during her days on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I also realize those were some of her earlier acting days and she has worked at and perfected her craft as an actress since then, so I don't hold my opinion of her acting then against her acting now. Quite the opposite actually. I was blown away by her role of Tris. Tris is a well loved book heroin for her mental strength, tenacity and courage. Shailene brought Tris to life on the big screen and her portrayal of Tris was very touching. During two particularly emotional scenes in the movie her performance gripped me and I was very much in the moment with her character, feeling what Tris was experiencing, bringing me to tears.
Four - played by Theo James
(Excuse me while I wipe drool from my mouth). Sometimes the leads picked for a book-to-movie adaptation leave us with a meh feeling. Many times because we love our book characters so much we learn to like/love the actor portraying them even if they weren't what we envisioned (i.e. Edward, Dimitri, Jace Wayland). Or we whine and complain about everything they do wrong for the character. Not so with Theo James!!! He perfectly embodied the restrained power that Four exhibits. His serious, quiet and masculine demeanor, his untouchable aloof air (early on), and his sexy vibe - ALL of it he nailed! Honestly, he enriched Four even more than how he is written. He was PERFECT!
Some of my Favorite Side Characters:
Jeanine Matthews - played by Kate Winslet
Shrewd, cold, calculating, deceitful - Kate was perfect as this villain!
Eric - played by Jai Courtney
He is the perfect amount of douche for the tattooed, pierced douchebag he is in the book! I wanted to throw him off the ledge!
Christina - played by Zoe Kravitz
Small and fierce with an attitude to match - she played Christina perfectly!
Tori- played by Maggie Q
I loved Maggie in Nikita. She is a fantastic actress and portrays a fierce warrior even before there's a battle.
Natalie Prior (mom of Tris) - played by Ashley Judd
Humble, graceful, and strong - Ashley was beautiful as the Mom of Tris!
Characters I'm Not So Sure About:
Caleb Prior (brother to Tris) - played by Ansel Elgort
He definitely got the arrogant and sneaky vibe down, but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about his portrayal of Caleb - yet.
Marcus Eaton - played by Ray Stevenson
This was the only role casting that my jury is still out on. Marcus becomes a much bigger role player in book two, so I look forward to seeing what he brings to the movie Insurgent.
It's been a long time since I read Divergent, so every detail is not fresh in my mind. I had one friend tell me the color of a certain room was different than the book. Say what?! Those kind of minor insignificant details don't stick with me and sure don't bother me in a movie. On a high level what I remembered to be big parts or major scenes leading up to the plot were all included in the movie. I'm sure there were some liberties taken as there always are in film, but nothing stood out to me as "oh - they royally screwed that up." Some of my favorite book-to-movie scenes include (to keep it spoiler free I'm giving them all a name that hopefully book readers will well know) - : "The Leap of Faith", "The Ferris Wheel", "Dauntless Training", "The Dauntless Initiation Flight", "His Tattoos", "The Betrayal of Friends", "The Army", and of course "The Final Battle". I can't think of one scene I wished they would've included that they didn't. There are a few additions than what was in the book but that's to be expected. It certainly doesn't take away from the story line.
I loved it so much I saw it opening weekend and again the following week.
For those who haven't read the book and have no desire to - GASP! - have no fear! The five factions are explained thoroughly in the beginning and you won't be left wondering what's going on.
Still a favorite line, spoken by Four: "I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind and honest."
My Final Movie Rating (out of 5 stars) - 5 STARS!!!!