Sometimes you see a film’s adaptation of a book which was so amazing, you just have to see it again. And sometimes you see a film which leaves you thinking “WHY did they think making that was a good idea?” Divergent, based on Veronica Roth’s novel of the same name, doesn’t really fit into either of those categories; instead it falls relatively nicely into the middle. I knew it wasn’t going to be exactly like the book, and I knew things would be missed – but that didn’t prepare me for how angry I was going to be at some of the things they missed out.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad film – it just wasn’t accurate. If this wasn’t a book adaptation I would say it was a very good, enjoyable film, but as it is I was slightly disappointed at how certain things panned out. Let’s take my main annoyance – Edward. Remember how, in the book, Edward came in first place, so Peter stabbed him in the eye which resulted in Edward being made Factionless? You know how that’s quite important in Insurgent? Well guess what DIDN’T happen in the film! Yeah, that part not being included in the film made me quite angry. In fact, I don’t think we were even shown who Edward really was, except possibly a brief cameo and someone saying “Edward”. I guess it wasn’t totally important to the film, but it would have helped to show how ruthless the character of Peter was, which was definitely something important. Even the scene where Peter, Al, and I think Drew attacked Tris and were trying to hang her over the chasm is done wrong; instead of grabbing her from the room, they somehow manage to nab her as she walks down a corridor, even though they didn’t know that she was going to be there! Despite that though, I really liked that whole scene and feel it was done pretty well.
In fact, that’s how I felt for most of the film: “That’s not how it happened, but they’ve done it pretty well”. My favourite part was from the start of the game of Capture the Flag (seriously, the Ferris Wheel scene… amazing) straight through to the zip–lining scene; that entire part was just fantastic. My heart was genuinely in my throat when Tris was going down on the zip–line, but at the same I really wished I was there, doing it myself. It was just done so brilliantly and looked so exciting – it was one thing to read about it, but honestly, getting to see it like that was something else. Actually, that’s definitely something I loved about the film; reading about it could in some cases be a bit difficult to picture, but when you were watching it happen it obviously really helped and actually made a difference. Normally I don’t like films as much because they mean you don’t get to use your imagination in the same way you would by reading it, but Divergent didn’t make me feel like that at all.
Going onto our main characters now, and I feel that Shailene Woodley was perfectly cast as Tris. She’s also going to be playing Hazel Grace Lancaster in the film The Fault in Our Stars (out in June) which I’m really looking forward to, so it was nice to get a feel for her acting and see what I thought of her. As it turns out, I really liked her and she is a very good actress. Tris, in the book, annoyed me a little bit so I was quite worried about her portrayal in the film, but as it was I had nothing to worry about – Tris was a likeable character in the film and it certainly made the film more enjoyable. Four/Tobias, played by Theo James, was also a good cast choice, as he matched the idea of him I had in my head, and that doesn’t happen too much these days. Despite the two aforementioned characters being our protagonists, my favourite character was probably, of all people, Eric, one of the leaders of Dauntless. Played by Jai Courtney, he didn’t look or act at all how I thought he would, but seriously he was so much better than I could ever have imagined. Admittedly every time he was on the screen, I got quite distracted by his tattoos and piercings (though I think that’s partially why I liked him!), but he was an extremely good character and actor.
Even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, I found that I really rather enjoyed the film – though, somehow, I would have enjoyed it more if they had stuck more to some of the book – and I’m hoping that they do make the sequel, Insurgent, into a film too. Not only was that book far more enjoyable, I’ve just not quite got my Divergent fill yet, which I wasn’t expecting at all! I recommend going to see the film; if you’ve not read the book it probably won’t have much of an effect on your enjoyment of the film, although I don’t know if it will all make sense that way. If you have read the book, then like me you might get a bit annoyed at some of the thinks they missed out, but it’s definitely worth seeing regardless of whether you’ve read the book or not.