Oh, Divergent. I wanted to like this movie so much. I really did. But I really didn't.
*There are big time spoilers in the post. So if you don't want to know, I suggest not reading this right now.*
In anticipation of the movie, I read the first two books in the trilogy (lagging on that last book, it kinda sucks). I really think that I did myself a disservice by reading it before I saw the movie. The movie left out a lot of pivotal moments from the book, and threw Jeanine Matthews into parts that she didn't even belong. But let me back it up.
Visually, the movie got Chicago very much how the book described it, minus the Dauntless Pit (it was dark and had water in the chasm in the book, in the movie it was light and lacked the water). Regarding the faction dress code, they didn't stick to it exactly, and I didn't really like that either (that's how each faction was identified to others in the book). The plot, I felt, didn't stick to the book very much. There was a lot that was changed, and I wonder how that will affect the other movies. For instance, they did not introduce the character of Edward. Edward becomes very important in the second and third book, because he is a big part of the Factionless movement. He is also the boy that Peter stabs in the eye with a butter knife to get the number one spot. But they don't show that scene in the movie. They don't identify that Peter is one of the boys that tried to rape and kill Tris. You get to see Al in that scene, and you get to see that he killed himself later, but you don't get to see any of the back story with Al. You don't get to see how much he likes Tris, how terribly he was doing in training- all the reasons that those negative actions meant so much. They tried to make Peter rude in a funny way, and that wasn't him in the book at all. You don't get to see any of the Dauntless born initiates, so there's no Uriah (another fairly important character later on). And in Tris' final fear landscape, they felt the need to have it like Four was trying to rape her, when in the book, she was afraid of being close to him. And like I said before, they put Jeanine Matthews in a lot of scenes that she wasn't in in the book. The scene that was most ruined by her presence was the control room. That fight was supposed to be just between Tris and Four, not them and a ton of Erudite. In a way, they used the character of Jeanine as a narrator, filling in information that you need to know and wouldn't know if you hadn't read the book. I think if they wanted to do that though, they could've just stayed truer to the book and the information would've come out organically, but whatever. There were a lot of differences in the way the family conducted themselves too, and some scenes were changed where you lose very important hints about their background.
Casting-wise, I liked most of the people they chose. Shailene Woodley made a really good Tris. Ashley Judd made the perfect mom. If they had done the mother's back story the right way, it would've been even better. I thought Peter and Caleb were miscast though. I think Miles Teller would've made the better Caleb, and Ansel Elgort would've made the better Peter. I felt that Shailene and Ansel had no chemistry whatsoever as brother and sister, so it will be interesting to see if they make better lovers in this summer's The Fault in Our Stars (they are Hazel and Augustus after all). I also thought Christina was a little miscast. When I read the book, I pictured Naya Rivera in that role, not Zoe Kravitz. Its not that she did a bad job, I just pictured someone different. Jai Courtney did Eric very well, although he did look a little like Macklemore.
The movie wasn't horrible, even though I'm venting a lot. It was still suspenseful, even without all the ultra violence that was in the book. And there's a part where Theo James takes his shirt off, that's visually pleasing (so much so that a group of girls in the front of the theater clapped and cheered when he did it). Overall, I would give the movie 3/5 stars. I'm hoping that the directors of the movie will realize that they pulled a Hunger Games and correct in time for the second movie.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it?