3.22.2014

Movie Review: Divergent!



 
I haven’t done a movie review in a while, but I decided that I needed to write one for Divergent.

The last batch of YA movie adaptions: The Host (it isn’t a YA book, but it was marketed as a movie for YA readers, so I’m including it here), Beautiful Creatures, and Vampire Academy haven’t done well at the box office. And there’s a reason for that. They failed to capture the books properly. Sure, Vampire Academy was amusing a fun movie, and Beautiful Creatures was a decent movie. But overall? For me, they never made me want to see their stories continue on the big screen.

And then there was Catching Fire, a damn good adaption.

Why did Catching Fire work? Because the movie not only followed the book closely, but it also offered up wonderful performances by the cast. Something that the other adaptions lacked.

But thankfully, that wasn’t an issue with Divergent.

I’ll admit, when I started to read the reviews from critics, I feared that I’d find the movie to be boring and I wouldn’t care about Insurgent heading to the big screen. But then I started to see fan reactions, and how positive almost all of them were, and I decided to go early today, figuring the crowds would’ve died down some. (They didn’t. My theater was fully packed for the first showing of the day.) And I’m so glad that I did.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Divergent, but I felt that the movie was an excellent adaption. I left with a smile on my face, and the urge to go right back into the theater to watch it again.

I’ll be the first to admit that when Shailene Woodley was first announced as Tris, I was worried she wouldn’t be able to pull it off. At this point, I’d only seen her in the ABC show, and I wasn’t impressed. And then The Spectacular Now came out, and I was beginning to understand why film blogs were saying she was the “next big thing”.  And then Divergent came out, and well, she nailed Tris. She was fantastic, especially in her scenes with Kate Winslet. I don’t think that Summit could’ve found a better Tris. She brought the character to life; she gave everything in her portrayal, and I can’t wait to see what she brings to Insurgent.

Four. Oh, Four. I never really had a picture of Four in my head when I read Divergent, so I wasn’t entirely picky when they announced the actor for this role. But Theo James did an awesome job. Shailene and Theo worked fantastically off one another. I think they were the perfect leads for this movie (er, well series since Insurgent has been given the go ahead).

The romance: The best part of the movie for me was that they didn’t try to play up the romance. I was worried that they would, but they didn’t. It never felt as though the romance was the central plot of the story.

Because I don’t want to turn this into a five page review, since I’m sure I can ramble on about why I loved this adaption, I’m just going to sum up my favorite parts below:
  1. The cast: The casting was spot on for this movie. Each and every actor really knocked it out of the park here. Kate Winslet, as expected, was fantastic. But for me, the best performances came from Shailene (Tris), Theo (Four), Miles (Peter), and Jai (Eric).
  2. The action: The action scenes were pretty awesome. My favorite was the final showdown. Shailene was fantastic in this scene. I know a lot of critics are bashing the ending, but for me, that was when Shailene really shined.
  3. Can I just say everything? I mean, sure, there were some slow parts, but the movie reminded me why I loved the book.

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