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.

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