The thing with having read a book before catching the movie is that you end up internally comparing what the movie is missing from the book. But I also understand that if they squeeze in everything in the book, it will turn into a possibly unbearable film. I can’t view Divergent apart from the book and I know that will always cloud my judgment towards it. I love the book series so it automatically meant I was going to at least give the film a chance. It helps its cause that it has Theo James acting as Four.
The rest of this entry will contain SPOILERS so don’t read if you haven’t seen the film or read the book and still plan to do so.
I noticed though how the movie feels like it has been made specifically for fans of the books and it might leave non-readers a bit confused about some plot points. Like how they assume the audience knows Four is divergent, too. And how evil Peter is. In the book, he stabs Edward in the eye with a knife so he can be the best Dauntless initiate. And taking out the introduction of Uriah in the film. Unless they plan on bringing him in for Insurgent, that is. He does play a small but significant role in Tris’s and Four’s relationship in Allegiant. And I secretly wanted the Dauntless cake bit to have made it in their somewhere as well as the romantic waterfall scene.
I did like how they integrated the bit about the Dauntless manifesto and somehow made sense that Jeanine was in the control room with Four. The war games and the zip line scenes were also excellent. And that last fight between Tris and Four was done well. The movie was even able to explain how Tris should work the fear landscape to make it seem like she was doing it the same way that other Dauntless people would. I’m not sure if Veronica Roth was able to really do that in the book. (I did miss the Four and Six bit though a.k.a. the four fears for Tobias and the six fears for Tris.)
I am hoping it reels in more fans into the series. But I do know it is just seen as another story set in a dystopian society. I can’t change other people’s opinion of it as much as they can’t change my mind about it. It might have had its share of shortcomings but it just makes me excited to catch Insurgent. I still relish being able to watch this series be acted out and with a great set of actors to boot. (I am a recent Shailene Woodley convert.) If you want a more detailed look at what got left out of the movie or changed, Vulture has published an article on it.
If there are any other Divergent fans out there, please do share your thoughts with me. I feel like I need to talk this out more with people.