“Divergent” brings a popular dystopian series to the big screen

The Regal Cinema in Christiansburg, Va. was packed March 20 for the premiere of the highly-anticipated movie “Divergent.” Fans were filling up seats over two hours in advance to the 8 p.m. showing. By the time the film started, nearly every seat in the house was filled by an anxious fan waiting to see his or her favorite book become realized on the big screen.

Overall, the film was a good adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. It also aimed to appeal to those outside of the fan base.

Image from IMDb.
Movie poster for Divergent. Image from IMDb.

The acting in this film was better than I anticipated; Shailene Woodley surpassed my expectations of her indie film acting range and managed to deliver a believable Tris. While she was not my first choice to fill the lead role, I think Woodley did well. Her chemistry with Four, played by Theo James, was a force to be reckoned with. You could feel their attraction, which helped carry the film in its latter half.

Kate Winslet also radiated power in her role as Jeanine Matthews (her first villain role to date). Even though her screen time was limited, the time she did have was commanding, powerful and-most importantly-believable. I believed that she was Jeanine, and she certainly looked like the one I had imagined too.

The score used for “Divergent” seemed a bit like free advertising for Ellie Goulding, who helped create original songs for the film. My personal distaste for Goulding left me disgruntled every time some overly techno ethereal jam came through the speakers at an awkward time.

To me, the sets and overall look of this film were spot-on. Every location in dystopian Chicago was exactly as I had imagined it while readingI was very pleased by the attention to detail in almost every visual aspect of the film. From the costuming of each faction, to the cavernous Dauntless headquarters – every visual aspect seemed perfect to me.

Naturally, when it comes to adapting a novel to film, there are parts that can and will be left out. The same goes for the Divergent books. I’ll only say that I’m curious to see how they will play one character’s story out in the future films now that they’ve removed a part of his narrative.

While this film had its flaws, I think this was a good adaptation as well as a good dystopian film. Since “Divergent” did so well opening weekend, the sequels Insurgent and Allegiant have both been confirmed to be filmed and released within the next two years. I cannot wait to see what this series turns into with the remaining novels in the trilogy.

 

3/5 stars