Review: ‘Divergent’ may disappoint readers but thrill viewers

The new novel-based movie “Divergent” has readers up in arms in both excitement and disappointment. The movie is great to watch and experience, but some scenes and characters do not capture the exact picture of the adventurous book “Divergent,” written by Veronica Roth. The novel has already sold 10 million copies as of Jan. 1, 2014, says publisher HarperCollins.

The film tells about a sixteen-year-old girl named Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) living in a dystopian society in a future version of Chicago. The society is based on virtuous fractions to keep peace in the community. When the children turn the age of sixteen, they are destined to choose what fraction they will live in for the rest of their lives.

There are five factions: Erudite, the intelligent; Dauntless, the brave; Amity, the peaceful; Abnegation, the selfless; and Candor, the honest. Tris grows up in Abnegation and always felt that she did not quite belong. Tris and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) must choose what they are and who they are going to be. Will they be who they were born into, Abnegation, or will they choose their own destiny?

Going through the process is elaborate and in the testing, Tris realizes that she is not just an ordinary girl; she is Divergent. When she discovers that her kind is being hunted, she and a mysterious gorgeous boy, Four (Theo James), start on a journey to find out why Divergents are being hunted before it is too late.

The movie goes along the book quite well, but some scenes were made up or excluded from the novel, which destroys the story for some readers who are seeing the film. The director should have just stuck with the book to make everyone happy, the viewers and the critics. To take away or add scenes from the book to the movie is like a cookie recipe; if an ingredient is added or forgotten, then the whole batch is ruined.

The movie has great actors, like the famous Shailene Woodley, who was the star in the television series “A Secret Life of an American Teenager.” Woodley portrays Tris’ strength flawlessly but does not capture her physical features, like Tris’ blond hair and unattractive features. In the novel, Tris’ appearance compliments her strength, but in the film Woodley’s beauty takes away from that image.

James makes a great Four who captures his tall and attractive figure that Tris inevitably falls for. He can be harsh but soft which is exactly who Four is.

The costume design are absolutely perfect in the movie to so how divided the fractions were. For every fraction they would have a color and the person in the fraction must wear their color. They also got the hippyish vibe from the Amity into the clothing that emphasizes the attitudes of the different fractions that really brought the story to life.

“Divergent” is an engaging movie with guns, fear, and love that has the audience’s attention but not the audience’s mood or eagerness.

The adventurous film has the viewer wishing that he or she could do something courageous, to face their fears and become the furious Tris and the courageous Four. It teaches kids and young adults how to conquer their fears instead of letting them take control. As Four says in the film, “Fear doesn’t shut you down. It wakes you up.”

Our Grade: B


Rated: PG-13

Length: 104 minutes

Genre: Action

Directed by: Neil Burger

Starring:  Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet