For those of you living under a rock who don't know what Divergent is it’s a film adaptation of the first book in a trilogy by Veronica Roth. It's a dystopian world years after a war where society split into 5 different factions to help balance peace. Those who valued each trait above all others would live in and devote themselves to their faction, be it bravery for Dauntless, selflessness in Abnegation, wisdom and learning in Erudite, honesty in Candor, or peace for the Amity. Each year there is a choosing ceremony where you must chose a faction. Faction before blood. Everyone is given a test before, a test meant to show them where they should be but the choice is yours. Now when your test is inconclusive on one faction and you show a proclivity for multiple then you are Divergent and as society is unable to put you in a nice little box you are a threat to the peace, and dangerous. So you must hide what you are, hide within a faction. Easier said than done.
Our heroin Tris is raised in Abnegation with her family and is unsure where she belongs. She doesn't want to leave her family of course but the life there doesn't come as easily for her, she doesn't jump in with the selfless action as easily as others. Her test only confuses her more and when the time comes he chooses Dauntless. A huge thing. A complete 180 actually. She starts her new life right away and is thrust into it without preamble, and Dauntless are tested immediately. In the book and movie we follow her initiation, see not everyone will make the cut and if you don't you become factionless, basically the homeless who belong nowhere. She, along with her class some of who are transfers like herself, must adapt and train to stay in the race under Four and the much more aggressive and boundary challenged Eric. In a competition it is easy to make enemies which she does but she is also able to make a few friends in this dangerous new world.
And then there is Four, a strong silent type that is oh so pleasant to gaze upon. Tris, like all the females in my group, is drawn to him in some way. He confuses her. He's a bad ass but he also seems to be more reigned in than the others who take the 'Dauntless' thing to the extreme. He's a trainer and clearly someone who finished top of his class but he doesn't stand beside the harsher things that develop as more brutality than honor.
There is something for everyone, even those who aren't avid readers and just want to see a film. It has a ton of action from jumping on and off moving trains, war games, training, and simulations. All of that was great for the story and was visually appealing and the stunt coordinators I give them props because it has to be hard to choreograph all of that action and make it cohesive and look legit. Speaking of visuals, with both of our leads seeing them in the fear scapes/simulations. Talk about a nightmare. One minute you're fine the next…your worst fears. And yes a semi spoiler but honestly it was in the trailer, someone is dive bombed and attacked by birds…clearly would have been one of my fears only the sadistic serum would probably have made mine chickens. I can't remember if that happened in the book and I forgot or if I just blocked it for obvious reasons. But I digress, everything down to the clear difference in the factions in terms of colors, style, even textures came across on the screen vividly.
Now as a book to movie adaptation, how does it stack up? I think it did a pretty good job. Clearly some of the more graphic/violent stuff had to be shot in a creative way and some things were left out in that regard. Also some things were tweeked to fit, some things sounds great on a page but the translation might not work so well to the screen but it worked. They left out the 3rd phase of the initiation, a major conflict between two characters that comes into play in the next book and makes one of the characters more sadistic psycho than teasing jerk, so I am curious how that will play out. Also some of the lesser relationships and connections were there on the outskirt but it wasn't as clear, to those who hadn't read anyways. And there wasn't much explanation about the tattoos which was a bit of a bummer because I liked there talks, and why Tris got the ones she did and the ones she's missing. Though I did not mind Four explaining his to her as we got to see the impressive artwork over his very nicely shaped and defined back.
And the biggest change is the end. Now don't freak, the end doesn't CHANGE the story just how it unfolds. There was more Jeannie. Now I read the whole series in December so they are pretty fresh in my mind and I was worried this would mess with the flow. For me it seemed to up the ante, gave use more action and some satisfaction on one part (you'll know it when you see it). Now this does change things for the next book some and I'm curious to see how this change in the ending with the other changes will reflect in Insurgent. I'm excited to see it.
Overall I loved this movie, I've seen it 3 times and I can't wait to see it again. I think it managed to be true to the book for us fans and also deliver a good movie to everyone else. I give it 5 Zip lines.