Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Movie: Divergent

Talk about visual satisfaction. Once I saw the trailer for Divergent, I got the epubs immediately and read them on my (now lost) ipad. I feel like there is a hole in my life because I filled my spare time buried in stories and read till I fell asleep. It was such a vital part of my life that I sometimes just stand listlessly in the middle of my room, wondering what to do with my life now that it's gone. OK, before this movie review turns into a rant... Let's dive right in.

Divergent was written for the big screen. The plot and ideas translated nicely across with the talent of the director who was able to rewrite the story in a way that nothing was lost - including precious time. He didn't waste even a second on unnecessary scenes - aside from one, which I will describe under spoilers below. What people seldom understand is the ability to visualize a book which takes place over the course of months into a series of footage that goes just a little over 2 hours. People expect the movie to include every single pedantic detail and many fans of the book will try their best to impress you with what scenes they felt were important which were left out or the discrepancies from the book. They imagine the scenes as they read and when what they see don't conform with what they visualize, they judge it to be crap. But Divergent took my breath away, the director threw in new elements which gripped me and never let go. It was as though I never read the books and made me want to reread them. But because some lowlife decided they need my ipad more than I do, I'm reduced to reading on my iphone. (I realize how much of a spoilt brat I sound like but I'm entitled to whine for at least a week, k?)

Divergent is the one book which I've read prior to watching the movie that made me think the movie was better than the book. Let me digress a little: I believe that if you read a book before you watch the movie, the movie will never live up to your expectations. Therefore it is always better to watch the movie before you read the book because while you most probably will enjoy the movie more, the book still has something to offer you and thus making both almost equally enjoyable. But this movie is one of the best book to movies ever. Period.

Shailene Woodley's acting is so realistic, I believe that Beatrice Prior exists. A simple pause conveyed her awkwardness and I could almost hear the whirring of her brain and see as she decides on a course of action or what to say. She isn't an actress, spewing out lines and acting accordingly... She is believable. You can relate to her because you recognize her behavior in yourself and the people around you. Theo (Four) falls a little flat next to Shailene, but I can hardly blame him because that's just the way his character is written. He is the quiet, steady man who lurks in the shadows, with time as his only ally due to his reserved manner. But the director's eye for subtleties is refreshing.

The movie's soundtrack is unparalleled. It matched the movie so well that I hardly even noticed it because it felt so right. That's all I can say about it because it was that perfect.

Overall, the movie is not your run of the mill YA dystopian flick because it questions societal values and humanity. The characters are not as one dimension as many other kinds of characters who are evil because they are inherently evil or kind to the point of bordering on retarded. There is a reason for their actions, reasons that they themselves may be unable to understand or accept. And from someone who has read the trilogy - nothing is as it seems. It is an intelligent idea, written by someone who understands the human mind. I truly applaud Veronica Roth although her words didn't flow for me.

Which faction would you have chosen?

I want to believe that I would choose Dauntless but I would most likely be in Candor. I value my life and I want to live it but that doesn't mean I should try to throw it away at every given opportunity.

I believe in justice over peace but I am too afraid of balloons, cockroaches, clowns, death and ghosts. I believe that truth will set us free, with crystal clear intentions, life would be so much easier... But easier does not always mean better. We might all drop dead from simplicity. Who knows?

(Highlight to read)

The director failed to connect why Beatrice was un-disqualified after chasing after the train and joining them against orders. While it was implied that 'Dauntless never give up' in a previous scene, it was never exactly explained why she was able to continue being Dauntless. It was a half assed attempt at making Beatrice look like a fighter because he didn't drive the point across hard enough. Other than that, I don't have any real qualms with the movie. 

(Below is a personal thought, meant only for those who have read the trilogy. Write 'Allegiant' in the comments if you agree with me!)

Most abnegation are healed because at the end of the day, we are good. Nobody is born evil, only damaged. 


Since many people compare Divergent with Hunger Games... I feel obliged to write the following: Hunger Games is well written but it can't really compare to Divergent because plot-wise, Divergent wins - hands down. It's way better than Hunger Games and a perpetually grumpy Jennifer Lawrence's manly Katniss. Don't get me wrong, I like how spontaneous and real Jennifer is but she is no Katniss. She is... What's the word? Overrated. Click to read my Hunger Games review!

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