'Divergent' film: better than the book - The Echo News
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‘Divergent’ film: better than the book

Veronica Roth's novel is well-adapted into film

By Katelyn S. Irons | Echo

Despite being touted as the next “Hunger Games,” “Divergent” transcends the comparison and goes beyond expectations. While keeping with the themes of dystopia and a plucky heroine, this movie portrays its characters well and leaves its audience hopeful and courageous.

 The dystopian action film, based on book one of the trilogy by author Veronica Roth, follows 16-year-old Beatrice “Tris” Prior. Tris (Shailene Woodley) lives in a futuristic Chicago, where the populace is divided into factions categorized by specific virtues: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (kindness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery) and Erudite (intelligence). When it comes time for Tris to be tested to see which faction she fits in, she finds her results are inconclusive: Divergent. This means that she cannot be categorized into just one faction and is considered dangerous by the government.

 Tris chooses to leave her family in the altruistic Abnegation faction and join the brave and sometimes extreme Dauntless. As she struggles to fit in with this new clan, Tris learns that the infamous Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is planning to overthrow the current peaceful government and put a bounty on the heads of the divergent.

Fans of the book will be pleased with the movie adaption. While the film does differ from the book version at several key points, the changes make the transition to the screen much better visually. Several of the book’s dialogue heavy scenes were changed to include more action and allow for more interesting visual elements. Since the book relies heavily on Tris’ narration, this was an allowable change for the transition.

The movie has very realistic CGI and special effects. The scenes showing the crumbling ruins of Chicago are particularly believable. Throughout the movie, “Divergent” tends to make its CGI a very natural experience, which is unique in the action-film genre, where more explosive and surreal effects are typically used.

The other thing that makes “Divergent” stand out is that it kept the undercurrent tone of morality from Roth, a Christian writer. One example of this is in a scene that shows one of Tris’ biggest fears—going too far too fast in her relationship with the tall, dark and mysterious Four (Theo James). The movie emphasizes that she retains her purity in her relationship in a positive way that is seldom seen from Hollywood.

“Divergent” is a perfect action movie. From fast-paced scenes to the blossoming romance between Tris and Four, the film combines genres to draw in a wide audience. While there are some dark scenes, the movie gets its hope from the lighthearted moments of comedy and the camaraderie of the Dauntless members. This movie is definitely not made for kids, or delicate adults, with scenes of intense violence and suspense.

Thumbnail photograph courtesy of cinemotions.com.

One Comment

  1. Dissatisfied Jack says:

    With the utmost possible respect, no. Just no. If that film was better than the book, I’m disappointed in the taste of everyone who’s told me the book was worthwhile, because the film is mindless teenage ego-stroking. Admittedly, a vast majority of movies are mindless teenage ego-stroking, but I haven’t seen it on this scale since Twilight. (So at least it’s not unprecedented.)

    Tris’s only flaw is the fact that she’s too special—the lone free thinker in a morass of stereotyped people. That’s the whole premise of the story, isn’t it? She’s Divergent. She’s a super-special-snowflake person. Some stories stroke the ego by making the protagonist special or chosen in some way, but it’s rare to see something so blatantly Randian. Tris’s whole problem is that she’s the only one in her society who doesn’t fit neatly into a prescribed box.

    Further, that scene with Four did NOT showcase a fear of going too far too fast or her morality about sex. Four was trying to coerce her into sex; that is, she was in danger of being raped. She wasn’t resisting temptation so much as she was resisting molestation.

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