Thursday, April 3, 2014

Divergent: A Rant, Not Really a Review

This is not a movie review, rather not the type I usually do. This is the sound of my brain screaming, then calming down, then screaming, then just zoning out.

I will be blunt. Divergent the movie was disappointing.

Before I judge, I first have to set the background of my watching the movie.

I guess it's hard to make a dystopian young adult novel come to life on the big screen. I guess it's hard to make a dystopian young adult novel come to life on the big screen when it's a best seller and has a large fan base. I guess it's especially hard to make a dystopian young adult novel come to life on the big screen when the Hunger Games has already established its throne on that genre.

I may be biased to the Hunger Games and I understand that Divergent is not the same as the Hunger Games, but I cannot help myself from seeing the similarities . . . similarities I need not discuss because I'm sure other fans have exhausted that topic.

My guess for the disappointment here is that when I watched the HG, it was already a couple of months after I finished reading the series. I had time to prepare myself for the movie. I had time to lower my expectations. I had time to accept that whatever they change, they're doing it for the good of humanity or some similar reason. And I was still disappointed at the movie, and you can read the very long post that's practically a commentary of the whole movie here. But the thing is, HG made a lot of good decisions when it comes to changes from book to screen.

And therein lies my great dismay at Divergent.


I'm flexible. I understand that there are some things that need to be changed for the book to become a movie. I understand that there are plots that need to die, characters that need not to be mentioned, events that can be ignored. But they didn't have to make so much drastic changes. Sure, it didn't ruin the story. It was still in line with what happened in the book. But for those who've read the book and are sticklers for detail, it's just not the same.

Those who haven't read the book will never know why Christina would be so angry at (I was about to type Katniss but I stopped myself) Tris during Insurgent.

  • The Choosing Ceremony bowls were supposed to be man-sized.
  • Tris didn't volunteer to be first jumper. Gah! She was just going to look, but then she couldn't back out so she jumped. She is not Katniss Everdeen (I volunteer!).
  • The bathrooms were in a separate room. (Why am I even concerned about this?)
  • The Dauntless training didn't seem like Dauntless training at all! It was like they were just playing around. For me, it didn't establish the urgency and desperation of the initiates to actually pass the initiation. Maybe it worked for the rest of the world, but it was just . . . too little. 
  • I mean, the first time Tris got beaten up in the movie, there weren't even enough bruises!
  • Eric did not cut Tris from training before they went playing capture the flag.
  • They were supposed to use paint balls! Why shoot someone with a simulation of a real gunshot hit? Why can't they just use paint balls?
  • *I appreciate how they were trying to establish Eric's jealousy over Four's superiority in skills and strength.
  • Christina was supposed to take the flag, not Tris. There was supposed to be professional jealousy there because, like every other YA novel with a girl as a star, Tris is insecure.
  • Uriah didn't invite Tris to the Hancock building to zip line across Chicago right after capture the flag. It happened after that, and because of the zip line escapade, Tris's friends (Christina, Will, and Al) started to become jealous.
  • *I love the zip line and would love to try that out someday.
  • They didn't need brakes to stop the zip line. Or I don't remember that part in the book.
  • Uriah and Tris got caught by Four after the zip line. That was the first time Tris held Four's hand.
  • Why is the chasm dry? WHY!
  • Goodness! Christina was just hanging there for, like, seconds. She could do better. 
  • The trickle of water from the bridge over the chasm is a poor excuse for water described in the book. (Yes, I wanted it to be more challenging for her even though she just got beat up by Molly.)
  • Molly seemed really okay . . . which is not who Molly really is. She is mean and vicious and, oh, just not like that Molly.
  • No Edward? Really? No butter knife stabbing an eye?
  • Erudite headquarters could have been cooler. Not box-type. I'm guessing there will be renovations soon.
  • No receptionist? Just Caleb? 
  • Caleb, no glasses? I thought you were trying to be Erudite-looking?
  • No visiting day? What's with the hiding behind sacks of whatever to talk to Mrs. Prior? Because there was not visiting day, there is no establishment of Cara's dislike for Tris (aside from Tris shooting Cara's brother, Will).
  • Four acknowledged that Tris was Divergent. He said it to her. There were no assumptions or "You know why." 
  • The tapping of the "aquarium" . . . not so cool as just pressing your palm onto the glass, like what the book described. Details. Details.
  • Eric, not much screen time? Tsktsk. You don't look so mean to me.
  • Four's fear landscape was, fine, okay. But it was Four's fear landscape. Four's fears. Tris was helping him overcome it, not doing the overcoming by herself for him. The Marcus scene, though, was cool.
  • Why is Tris sleeping in Four's room? Doesn't that arouse suspicion from Tris's friends and defeat the purpose of their hiding their relationship in hopes that the said friends won't think Tris is getting high scores because she's with their instructor like the book described? (I'm being sarcastic here. This is a sarcastic rhetorical question. Please don't attempt to answer and tell me I don't understand what's going on.)
  • Four did not watch Tris's final exam. Jeanine wasn't there. 
  • The serum injections happened right after the exam, not when they were going back.
  • The real movie started around this part . . . like thirty minutes left in the hour and a half movie.
  • Tris's mother saved her from the aquarium. Not in an execution.
  • Tris's mother died while she distracted the Dauntless zombies. Tris never got to hug her.
  • Tris killed Will after her mother died.
  • Peter didn't seem all that hurt by the gunshot to the arm. Dude, you're bleeding.
  • Tris's father died while he led the Dauntless zombies to a dead-end corridor. He was much better with guns than the movie version. Caleb didn't see his dad die. Nobody got to hug him.
  • Four was operating the simulation controls. There were no Erudites or Dauntless in the Pire's control room.
  • She's much too smart for that.
  • Four was alone. 
  • How in the world can only two Dauntless take on X number of Erudite and Dauntless traitors when Tris and Four already beat themselves up? 
  • Because they put Jeanine there, we can now ask, Why would they leave her there and not take her hostage or just kill her? (Because then there'd be no Insurgent movie.)
  • Why didn't they take the hard drive like the author said they would?
  • The Dauntless zombies didn't look as confused as they should be when they woke up as murderers. Tris and Four weren't to see them wake up like that. It was supposed to be chaos all over again.
  • Voice overs.
Watching the movie felt like watching Bella of Twilight (the movie, not Bella in the book) run around with Katniss-like strength in a Hunger Games arena. Although there are scenes wherein Four becomes Bella and Tris becomes Edward, which is weird and awkward. I mean, they focus the touching scenes just to establish that Four liked Tris. I am sad.

There are a number of things that make me sad about the movie. So I guess when I say that Four/Tobias Eaton/Theo James makes me happy, that should cover up everything. Yeah, I can be girly and have crushes I'll never get to meet too. And I love Tris/Beatrice Prior/Shailene Woodley when she talks. I love her voice. It sounds like Lindsay Lohan (and I mean it in a good way).

I also love that in this movie, Caleb and Tris are siblings. The Fault in Our Stars comes out in June and they become lovers. Then when Insurgent comes out, Tris finds out that Caleb betrayed her. All this happens after Tris and Peter fell in love in The Spectacular Now, which must be why Tris hates Peter so much. All this crossing over of actors is making me feel funny and happy.

Anyway, there. Frustration is out. I don't know how they'll make the next two movies, but I hope it works. 

If you haven't read the books but have already watched the movie, well, I'd like to know if it was okay for you. Much like Hunger Games? Not at all like it? Loved the movie? Yes, well, we all have our opinions.

We are all factionless, after all.