Sunday, 30 March 2014

Divergent Movie

The Divergent Trilogy Reviews
Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant

The Divergent Film Reviews

Yesterday, March 29 2014, I went with someone else who enjoyed the book Divergent, and we saw the movie at the theatres. This article will be different from what I usually write. The essence of this post is to get my thoughts down and out there to readers. I’m not trying to analyze this film or talk about adaptions. I’m just here to gush and gripe. I reviewed the first two books of the trilogy (Divergent and Insurgent), and for the price of the ticket and some popcorn, the money was well worth it.

Major spoilers ahead!

The film had some amazing scenes of the city. It really gave me a sense of what the city looks like. I can’t recall if I had the feeling that this is what the city looked like in the first book.

The factions are more segregated than I expected. Their clothes made it really stand out. The picture I have below is when they are standing in the faction lines, so yes, it is obvious, but there were scenes of these clustered colours moving through the streets that were neat to look at. Except in the beginning of the film, I swear I saw a woman with an orange shirt and a blue/white dress.

Story wise, the key moments are there. It is the small details that were left out. These small details pile up to a noticeable mountain, but the main idea of the story is still there. 

 The small differences:

  • Beatrice’s mother does not tell her daughter that she was Divergent too.
  • Christina and Will are not in a relationship, or at least they had not made it public knowledge.
  • There was no day that the parents could come see the initiates.
  • Tris doesn’t have a victory in the fighting ring against Molly or anyone.
  • Peter barely leaves any marks on Tris after their fight.
  • Al doesn’t like like Tris.
  • Tris has to find different ways to defeat her fear landscapes to keep her Divergence hidden.
  • During capture the flag, they use darts that simulate the real pain of being shot instead of paint balls.
  • Tris doesn’t get her towel removed by Peter and his lackeys.
  • Abnegation families hug and let their kids talk at the table.
  • Tris only got the bird tattoos, nothing more.
  • Four never tells Tris why his name is Four.
  • Dauntless HQ is smooth grey stone, not black rough stone. 
  • Jeanine (Kate Winslet) shows up all the time. Hey, you have a job to do, stop hanging around so Tris can “accidentally” bump into you all the time.
Go away, Jeanine.

The big differences:

  • The butter knife incident is gone! (But you can see the deleted scene on youtube)
  • Peter is just annoying and a little mean about her former faction.
  • Tris and Four don’t have a lot of time together. Then suddenly Tris tells Four that she loves him. Maybe she like likes him, but love?
  • Tris doesn’t identify that Peter was one of the men who assaulted her. When she shoots him later, I couldn’t help but think she’s overreacting to someone who was just a jerk to her.
  • The sexual aspect of the assault isn’t obvious. Her shirt is torn at her chest, but she doesn’t actively say or imply that it was sexual. In the book, they grab at her chest.
  • When Tris lost to Peter in the ring, she was cut from Dauntless. What the hell movie?
  • Tris got the flag for Dauntless; there was no conflict with Christina.
  • The ending had a fight between Jeanine and Tris.

Note: Very few people understand about how I feel about the removal of the butter knife incident. It portrays Peter as the psychopath that he is, and Edward is somewhat important in the second book.

Note: Four tells Tris that you can’t change your name once you make up a new one in the net. Except that he must have, because he didn’t know he only had Four fears until his fear landscape training, several weeks into initiation.

Update September 13, 2014

After some thought, a concern I had with this film was how well this film told its story to people who hadn't read the book(s). Cinema Sins made a video about the "sins" of the film, from the perspective from someone who hadn't read the books. I can definitely see where the audience who read all the books filled in the information gaps in the film, but the rest of the audience would be confused. Below is the video (but be warned, he uses crude language and occasionally adult humour:


Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The Divergent Trilogy Reviews
Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant
The Divergent Film Review 
Published: May 1 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Series: #2 of the Divergent Trilogy  
Website: Author’s Blog

                Unrest is sweeping through the city and war threatens to tear apart what is left. The factionless emerge from the shadows and complicate the balance of the factions. Tris, Four, and their allies are looking for a solution to the conflict caused by Erudite’s Jeanine Matthews. However, the bond between Tris and Four is tested as well.

                Yes, my introduction is lacking here, because the story is more or less obsessed with talking, waiting in rooms, and arguing. There are some truly invigorating and moving moments in the book, if you can get by the boring chapters. Even if you are bored, I implore you to at least read the book through to the end, then decide if you want to finish the trilogy.

Tris and Tobias
I feel like Tris and Tobias are only together because of their Divergence. He knew she was one, and as far as I have read, there were no other people who were openly Divergent. Perhaps it will be unpolitically correct of me, but it reminds me of the episode of South Park entitled “Cartman Finds Love”. You don’t match people together because of one common interest or how they were born. If there was another love interest for Tris, I’m inclined to say that she should go for it. History isn’t everything. Yet, I appreciate that Roth didn’t take the easy route and insert a love triangle just because that’s what YA does.
On the other hand, in Insurgence, Tobias becomes a jerk, and Tris makes some of the dumbest and most illogical decisions I have ever read. Instead of being the strong, badass female protagonist, she is extremely angst-ridden. She does have reason to be, but we have way too much reflection that tells us what she is experiencing instead of showing us. Tris gets more angst-ridden than Katniss in Mocking Jay, and Katniss’s mopy depression is a tiring and boring experience (for me, at least).  
If Insurgent gets a movie, I can’t wait until film makers try to make this connect with the audience. Reading it was so alienating and uncomfortable it would be painful to watch on the screen.  

Tris (mild spoilers!)
                Tris has a problem holding guns now. Ok. But she is ok stabbing someone? Yeah, sure, Roth. Characterization fail. She’s depressed so her behaviours are dissimilar from the first book, but she doesn’t make sense. She is torn between wielding a Taser or a gun. She chooses a Taser because it won’t kill people. And then she stabs to kill. Whatever. I can’t take Tris very seriously. I am praying to all the invisible beings that the third book fixes the mockery that has become of Tris.   

The Writing
                In my review of the first book, I mentioned that the writing irked me at times. In this book, I took some notes of the sentences that have poor grammar. If I can spot it, you have a problem. To avoid spoilers, I have only included two safe examples:

                “Unfortunately it’s also the best plant we have,” she points out. (Page 429)
A sick feeling in my stomach, I follow Marcus and Christina out of the control room and towards the stairs. (Page 480)

The End
The end was traumatic because there was one and my copy of the next book, Allegiant wasn’t with me, and I couldn’t get it for two days. I don’t know if I will like where the final book is going, but the ending of Insurgent is cruel. However, I do want to point out that the explanation about what the Divergent are, and what their city is, is boarding on illogical. I am now waiting for the third book for this to make sense to me. If Allegiant doesn’t make this clear to me, I’m going to destroy metaphorical cities in my rage.   

Final Verdict
                Despite all the bickering between the main characters, and the constant, useless meetings with the other factions, I enjoyed the book. I look back and realize that there were enough boring parts to make other people put the book down. For me, I felt that even the “boring” parts were hinting at new plot and excitement, so I read them without much fuss. Allegiant has a big job to fill because Insurgent left off with some large questions.   

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Divergent Trilogy Reviews
Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant
The Divergent Film Review
Published: May 3 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: #1 of the Divergent Trilogy
Website: Author’s Blog

Society is divided into five factions. Once you turn 16, you are forced to choose which faction you will join for life, or risk being factionless. Beatrice has always been part of her family’s Abnegation faction, living a quiet life of selflessness. When she turns 16, she surprises everyone, including herself, by choosing to leave her family permanently to join the wild Dauntless faction. There’s one problem: her faction test was inconclusive. She doesn’t belong to any single faction. She’s Divergent, a problem in their system, and if her secret comes out, she’ll be at the mercy of those who made the rules. Of course, she has to survive the Dauntless initiation process, where the mysterious instructor Four is trying to keep her safe by throwing her into danger.  

Beatrix’s Character
                The story is engrossing; it is easy to forget about other aspects of the novel, such as the characters. The protagonist, Tris, is one of those characters I have to defend. Yes, she has very little personality. She has desires (that surprise even her) and motivations, but what are her personality traits? There are actually surprisingly few character traits you can pin to her, though there are reasons why this makes sense.
                Abnegation is a faction that is selfless. They strive to be invisible by dressing in bland, grey clothes. Their children do not speak unless spoken to. They are taught to help whenever help is needed, to give what they have to others, and they are committed to community service. Their faction strikes away the idea of having an individual image. The adults have a private image, as they can do fun things like talk at home. The kids are meant to be perfect and quiet.
                Whether it was a well-planned move by the author or not, Beatrice, who grew up in Abnegation, lacks a definitive personality because she wasn’t allowed to explore her individual self.  Additionally, teens fluctuate in their personalities almost daily as they are still trying to define themselves. When it is her time to choose her faction, she has to do some soul searching. Children of Abnegation parents generally stay in Abnegation; their parents are in Abnegation, and they are raised to be obedient to them and not stand out in any way. Leaving Abnegation would cause a fuss and it would sadden their parents.
                What Beatrice does have is uncertainty, feelings of not-belonging, and a desire to break free and be an individual. The Dauntless are reckless in physically and psychologically. They also have the bravery aspect, and Beatrice wants to be brave enough to break free of her Abnegation ways.     

The Problem with Factions
One problem that I have is that the factions run on your personality and your job prospects. In my situation, I like community service and helping people, but I don’t want to be in the government. I am creative and peaceful, so I would also like Amity. Yet all Divergent shows them doing is picking fruit. While I am sure I would have fun picking fruit, it isn’t what I want to do with my life. I enjoy studying, learning, and teaching, so Euridite is probably the best for me because I could probably be a librarian with them (yay!), but there are aspects that I dislike about that faction. And what do Candor do? As far as I can tell, they are lie-detectors. Aside from prosecutors, what are the jobs they are supposed to be suited for?

The Society
                I want to know how their society came into being. The Hunger Games’ Panem is explained, and it is central to the plot. Since I have read Divergent, I have spoken to a teen who has read the whole trilogy, and she has informed me that the later books do explain it. However, I would have liked to hear about it in the first book. That is standard world building that has been missed. As I was reading, I wanted to know if the city has always been like this and if it is just this city or the whole world. I wondered what is beyond the city’s walls. Is it full of monsters, murderers, radiation in the soil? Something that drives the plot of the video game Resonance of Fate is the mystery of what is outside of the tower, Basel, that they live in. Finding out was an amazing experience, and I was confused when I read the last page of Divergent and closed the book. I want to know more about the world they live in! Yes, apparently I’ll get to read all about it in the next books, but there is a huge gap in world the building in the first book that aggravates me!

The Government
                What I do like about this dystopian is that the government is not immediately evil, like in 1984 or Brave New World. After all, when people set out to create new governments, they do not purposefully intend to create a dystopia; the people who set the rules believe they are doing the right thing. I can see why you would want to group like-minded people together for an efficient society. It is when the details of the society come to light that you realize that you don’t want to live there.

The Writing
                The writing works, though it is nothing special, and the lack of commas pesters me to no end. Since I started writing this review, I began reading Insurgent, the second book, and there are also moments when I noticed that Roth really should be using commas and she isn’t. I don’t have access to the first book at the moment, and if I catch any more while reading Insurgent, I’ll flag them so I can post them in my Insurgent review.  

Final Verdict
                I hate to jump on hypes, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had a lot of questions regarding the history of the city, why Tris falls for Four (perhaps because no one else is interested in her?), and the grammar quality is sometimes lacking, and this brings my critique down. But should everyone and their moms read this? Yes! Regardless if you believe running a society this way would work or not, Divergent has a story that unfurls and keeps you reading.

The Movie
                I admit, I didn’t read the books until I saw the first trailer for the film during the previews at the theatre for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I had access to the books, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading them. So, here are two trailers, in case you haven’t seen them, and I personally haven’t seen any on T.V.:

                The actress that plays Tris, Shailene Woodley, doesn’t reflect the image in my head. In the book, Tris is very small with a boyish figure. The actress is very pretty, but I didn’t envision Tris to look like that. I also pictured Four to look more tough, angrier, and gruff.
And WHY does IMDB state: “When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late”? It isn’t like this in the book. *Cries hysterically in a snow bank*   
With that said, I am still planning on seeing it with someone. If I were forced to go alone, I wouldn’t; I’d wait until it came out on DVD. I’m interested in how this will turn out, though. 

Edit: Movie Trailer Reaction
I, and some other people, are concerned that Four doesn't appear to be the Four that we know from the books. The best reaction to the movie trailer has been (and I'm paraphrasing), is Four saying: "Welcome to Dauntless. We're all about free love here."

Edit: Tattoos
In the book, Tris gets three crows tattooed along her collarbone. Has anyone noticed the popularity of bird tattoos on collarbones? I wonder if the popularity happened before the book, or after. It's unfortunate that they are overdone now, because I have a soft spot for bird tattoos.