You probably noticed that Divergent gets the special treatment around here at The Young Folks. As fans of the book, we were really excited for the movie, and for our review of the film, Melissa decided that we should do something a little different than usual. Since four (LOL.) of the TYF writers had a chance to see the movie earlier this month, we chose to share our thoughts on film through a conversation with each other.
The playing field is even. Two of us have read the books and are fans, while the other two were new to the world of Divergent. Read on below to see what Gabrielle, Melissa, Cachie and Tyler had to say about DIVERGENT.
Divergent Film Review by Gabrielle Bondi, Melissa Berne, Cachie Gonzalez, and Tyler Stevens
**MAJOR MOVIE SPOILER WARNING**
Gabrielle: Commence the FOUR way review of Divergent…
Cachie: Well, I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced and easy to follow. The cast was amazing & the acting was great. Better than a lot of other [YA] book films. Theo has a great smolder. lol
You guys are so cute with your references
Can’t help it.
Gabrielle: I agree with Theo’s smolder… But overall, I thought the movie was good, not great. I feel like it didn’t have that “oomph” I wanted it to have (as a book fan).
Melissa: I thought it was good, too. It didn’t spark in all the right places for me, but it was enjoyable.
Tyler: I can’t say I was a huge fan, unfortunately. I thought the two leads were particularly charming and had strong enough chemistry to keep the core romance from going stale, but other than that I found the film to be an overlong mess that stuffed too much into a poorly-written script. I can see it being a much better book, but it didn’t work for me here.
Cachie: Well, I didn’t read the book, so this is from a non-readers perspective.
Tyler: I’m coming from a non-reader perspective too.
Gabrielle: Pretty much what Tyler said. The script was the movie’s biggest issue. And the book is fast paced, so it’s NOT that hard to adapt it into film. From the beginning, I never liked the movie’s screenwriter anyway.
Cachie: I actually don’t think I want to read the book after seeing the movie though, because I don’t think a lot of the scenes are readable.
Melissa: What do you guys think it was about essentially?
Tyler: A group of teens divided into twelve districts who two are chosen from to fight to the death in a —
Sorry wrong franchise.
Cachie: Yeah it is hunger games-y.
Melissa: The way it’s written in the book, you’d think this would totally be a movie because it’s so action-packed…
Gabrielle: Clearly, the movie didn’t set itself apart, which should’ve been the screenwriter’s first priority.
Melissa: I agree.
After you watch it, you might have enjoyed it, but nothing really POPS out at you. Nothing leaves you kinda hooked.
Tyler: I agree completely, I thought the best parts of the movie were when the writing took a backseat to the spectacle, which really set itself apart. For example, I thought the capture the flag scene and all the “mental test” dream sequences were well done.
Cachie: Yeah, it didn’t set it up for book 2 really.
Melissa: My favorite sequence is Capture the Flag.
Tyler: By far, from climbing the ferris wheel to the zipline, that’s the film’s strongpoint.
Gabrielle: With a world separated by factions, you think they’d emphasize the psychology behind such a different societal structure. The fact that people separated not by economic class, but by personality is very interesting and raises many questions. The script had a lot to work with, all the while having fun with the action sequences.
Ok, so I want to touch on something that maybe as a book fan is a little unfair but whatever…
Her divergence is complex. In the books (all three) it’s treated as something that’s a dangerous threat to her life, which it is. However, it’s also why she has such an internal conflict about where she really belongs. And I don’t think that was really brought to light in this one.
She’s mostly afraid about getting killed, not about belonging somewhere.
And some things were kinda lost. She goes from terrified of Four knowing she’s divergent to all of a sudden trusting him. “You know why.” REALLY?
Tyler: Yeah, I felt from the beginning, Tris was not carved out as a character at all. We didn’t get to know her, we were just simply told that she didn’t know where to belong.
Then they kinda dropped that.
Gabrielle: If you think about it, the book makes it out to be a sort of twisted coming of age story, which the movie completely disregards. The movie would’ve benefited from it.
Melissa: She says it the beginning, I don’t belong in Abenegation. But when she gets to Dauntless, she feels that she may not belong there either. It would have been cool if they showed that a little more
Cachie: I agree. I didn’t get a sense of who Tris really was. But isn’t that saying something? She was raised her whole life to think of others and not herself.
Gabrielle: However, I think Shailene made the best of it. I enjoyed her performance; she does a good job of carrying the film.
Melissa: Shailene did great. It’s the editing and writing that’s a problem.
True, Cachie; I’m just saying we should have seen the conflict within herself more.
Cachie: Yes, I see that. The writing above all else was too simple. Especially concerning such a complex, and psychological storyline. Well, it could have been.
Gabrielle: Besides how hot Theo is, what did you think of him as Four? Was the transition from “mentor” to “love interest” abrupt or natural to you?
Cachie: Abrupt. To me at least.
Melissa: Thank you, Cachie!! As a non-book reader, then I know I’m right. LOL. The love came out of nowhere.
Tyler: I wouldn’t say abrupt, since it’s really telegraphed from the beginning, but it didn’t feel natural either.
Gabrielle: I felt that first kiss was so cheesy…. It makes me embarrassed to be a YA fan.
Melissa: In the book, it’s awesome because it’s gradual. But in the movie, there’s NO transition.
Tyler: Then again I actually thought his character was the most interesting thing about that movie.
Melissa: What did you think of him, Tyler?
Tyler: I thought he was charming enough. He had a certain screen presence, kind of drawing on the I Am Number Four-smolder that’s overdone, but it still set himself apart as something dark and brooding in a film that I felt was particularly bland.
Gabrielle: Really? I didn’t find Four as captivating as character in the movie. I guess I was expecting someone more enigmatic.
Tyler: Yes, I just referenced I Am Number Four, which is all I was thinking about when they mentioned his name.
Cachie: Yep. I mean you sense that something will happen between then because the way they pan to him touching her waist in training and her face when he does, but I thought it was abrupt.
Melissa: I just felt that he wasn’t really mysterious..
My point, is that it’s all one-sided on her part. So, it seems strange that he just goes and kisses her.
Let me point out that we never see the instructor Four actually instruct…
Tyler: He instructs her with some of the fighting early on, with the punching bag.
See what we thought of the fear landscape scenes and more by clicking NEXT.