I don't often do little reviews like this on the blog (at least, not since the beginning of my blog years ago), but Ryan and I sat down and actually watched the Divergent movie yesterday for the first time, and I felt the need to actually write down my thoughts on it. It's rare that I actually feel passionate enough - good or bad - to write a review, but I have to be honest…I can't help it with this one.
Part of the great power and charm of Divergent, the novel, is the fact that this passive, conformist society had such a sociopathic underbelly just teeming with dissatisfaction, resentment and power struggles. I found it to be a searing and scathing portrayal of what society could actually become someday, so reading the novel was extremely profound. Likewise, watching Tris grow into her own, find herself in a militant and powerful faction was a real treat - not to mention empowering to women everywhere.
Unfortunately, when we watched Divergent, the movie, both my husband and I felt a little bit cheated by the adaptation. Yes, we realize that cinematic portrayals will always take certain liberties for dramatic effect, but we felt as though the movie lost the actual power of the novel altogether. Rather than focus on this broken society, we get a brief interlude here and there about why society is split into factions, and then we focus on Tris's relationship with Four from there on in. Frankly, I feel as though Tris's character didn't resonate nearly as much as she did in the novel either.
Four was, and is, quiet and brooding, and I could definitely appreciate the fact that he fit the bill for me in the movie. However, I feel as though part of his tortured past that defined him so clearly in the novel was also simply glossed over. Whereas I wanted to see Tris and Four connect on a deeper level than just their Divergent connection, I felt as though we were left to settle for a cinematic, teeny-bopper romance that didn't capture a fraction of the power within the novel. Furthermore, both my husband and I remarked that the introduction of Dauntless in the movie was vaguely reminiscent of West Side Story, and I half expected these "hooligans" to break into song and start snapping.
Yes, I'm being extremely harsh about this movie, but when I see an adaption like The Hunger Games soar despite my expectations, I begin to understand that it actually is possible. Yet, I want more than just a pretty onscreen romance. I want power, and depth, and backstory, and it can be done. Sadly though, the Divergent movie just didn't do it for us, and we were sorely disappointed.
Did any of you watch the Divergent movie? If so, what did you think about it?