I have some advice for all of you that read Divergent and loved it, adored it, and raved about it.
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS!
If you lower your expectations, you will enjoy the movie. As for me, I left unsatisfied. But I went in with high expectations. I wanted amazing. I wanted intensity. I wanted Hunger Games.
What I got was lukewarm Divergent. It wasn’t bad, per se. I enjoyed moments, but overall it left me hanging. There were characters who weren’t mentioned or developed, which is, of course, to be expected. You can’t fit everything from a book into a 2 hour movie. But I still wanted more.
The movie is based on the best selling first book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. It’s the story of a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.
I struggled a bit with Shailene as Tris. I think she’s a great actress but I wanted more grit. She was a little soft for my taste. As for her relationship with Four, I felt that it was very two dimensional. There is so much more to their relationship that was left to our imaginations. They did manage to have a pretty amazing onscreen kiss (our screening audience actually whooped out loud during the scene!) but that was about as indepth as it went.
To be truthful, I spent most of the movie waiting. Waiting to be exhilarated. Waiting to be on the edge of my seat. Waiting to be completely and totally IN the story.
I just wasn’t.
I don’t know if I would feel differently had Catching Fire not been so completely amazing, but I don’t think so. While the films are in the same genre, the stories are different., leaving room for both to be successful. I’ll be curious to see what everyone else thinks.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some really great scenes and great characters. As readers would expect, you will fall in love with Four (he’s very pretty to look at) and completely despise Eric. Scandal fans will be tickled to see Fitz as Tris’s father and I, a huge Ashely Judd fan, was excited that she was in the role of Tris’s mother.
I’m not abandoning all hope. I’ll absolutely see Insurgent (due out next spring) and hope that it succeeds where I believe Divergent failed.
So for all of you who haven’t read the book — go see it. You’ll enjoy the action, the storyline, the cinematography. For all you book fans, set the bar low and see what happens. Maybe you’ll disagree with me.
Divergent opens today in theaters nationwide. It’s rated PG-13 for some violence and has a run time of 143 minutes.