Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Movie vs. The Book : Divergent

"Fear does something strange to people, but not you. Fear doesn't shut you down, it wakes you up."
On Friday, I saw Divergent in the theater with a few friends. I read the three-book series by Veronica Roth this past fall. (I reviewed the first and third book a few months ago)
Divergent is the story of Tris Prior, who lives in what is supposed to be a very Utopian-like Chicago. The people of Chicago are divided into five factions: Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest) and Dauntless (the brave).  Upon turning 16, Tris and others must decide which faction they belong to. For Tris, she must decide between her family, and the chance to discover who she really is.
Tris Prior is played by Shailene Woodley, her brother Caleb by Ansel Elgort, Four by Theo James, and Christina by Zoe Kravitz.
Before seeing the movie, I had read an interview with Shailene Woodley in Teen Vogue Magazine where she talked about why she decided to join the cast of Divergent. She said that her decision was made after she read the script where she discovered the story taught important lessons and values: standing up for what you believe in, the importance of being yourself, and the mutual respect needed to have a healthy relationship. She said the following about the relationship between Tris and Four:
"I was so pleased by a relationship that was built on values of respect and communication versus pure physical attraction. There are so many young-adult movies and books out there where there isn't mutual respect between two people...What message are we sending to young people? That is not going to help this world evolve!"
Way to go, Shailene! I agree.
Note: at this point in the post, I would like to discuss some of the differences between the movie and the book, so please, stop reading now if you have not read Divergent. Spoiler alert. Thank you!
  1. No Uriah, Marlene and Lynn - these three Dauntless-born initiates were not shown in the movie, much to my dismay. Viewers did get a glimpse of Uriah's name on the ranking board a few times, but he was never introduced to Tris. This exclusion is the one that I missed the most - Uriah brought a humor and easy-goingness to the initiate training that I feel was missing on screen.
  2. Edward is not stabbed in the eye - (in fact, Edward does not even exist in the film) I was perfectly fine with the exclusion of this scene, given as it's gross and doesn't really add to the plot. In consequence however, the viewer does not get to see juts how cruel Peter really is. Instead, Peter is portrayed as more of a standard bully, who's taunting is minute.
  3. The final scene - In the final moments of the movie when Tris goes to Erudite headquarters to shutdown the system, Four is not the only one running the system. Jeanine is there, which leads to a powerful moment where Tris proves what it means to be Divergent by forcing Jeanine to shutdown the simulation herself. I loved this addition, as it showed Tris' change from a weak teenager who was so unsure of herself, to a woman who is brave and daring.
That's it! Really just three main differences that are worth noting. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and am actually tempted to go see it again! It was definitely better than I thought - as I imagined its structure and ideas to resemble The Hunger Games too much, but it didn't at all. Insurgent, the second installment of the series, is scheduled for theater release on March 20th, 2015.

Friday, March 21, 2014

On My Nightstand : March

{Books and Homework}

I've decided to start a new series of posts entitled On My Nightstand, and hopefully I can get around to posting them once a month. The posts will focus on what I am currently reading, working on, and interested in.

Currently Reading
I had to pick a memoir or autobiography for English class, to read for this semester's independent reading project. I did a lot of research before making a selection, reading excerpts from, and reviews about, a number of memoirs including: A House in the Sky, Eat Pray Love, and Half Broken Horses. And although each of the aforementioned titles have received high critical acclaim, I choose Wave for the emotional power I presumed it would express.

Wave is the story of Sonali Deraniyagala, who was vacationing with her family in Sri Lanka during Christmas week of 2004. On December 26th, a devastating tsunami and earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean and her hotel in Yala was consumed by waves. Deraniyagala lost her parents, husband, and sons to the tsunami, and Wave is her incomprehensible story of recovery.

I still have yet to reach the story's conclusion, but I have no doubt will agree with The New York Times Book Review who said, "[Wave is] unsparing as they come, but also defiantly flooded with light...Extraordinary."

Interested In
I LOVE Downton Abbey. And I hate to say it, but part of the reason I haven't posted in a while is because after school I've been catching up on all of the seasons instead of blogging. I received Season One of the popular show for Christmas, and was immediately hooked. For those of you who don't know anything about the show, here's a brief overview:

The show follows the happenings of the aristocratic Crawley family (the residents of Yorkshire's fictional Downton Abbey) and their servants. Season One opens in 1912, just after the sinking of the Titanic. The show continues to be influenced by the major events in history - everything from World War I to the formation of the Irish Free State.

Because of watching so much of this I suppose, (I just completed the most up-to-date season) I have become increasingly interested in anything having to do with the women's suffrage movement, and even more interested in the 1920s than I was before. The book Downton Abbey: Behind the Scenes will have to suffice until the show resumes again the January 2015!

Working On
For the next few days, my Honors English class will be debating a topic with regard to Shakespeare's Macbeth. The topic is: Is Macbeth a victim of fate? My group will be debating the affirmative, which is good, because I actually agree with that. The debate is being laid out like an argumentative essay, so I was tasked with writing my group's introduction. In the introduction, I laid out our three main points, got to be creative in my explanation of fate, and even managed to reference Harry Potter!

"We don't have the ability to change out own fate, but we can change others'."
-J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix