books in cinema
page to screen discussion
Lots of energy, good pacing and hunky Theo James leave us ready for more! We do have some issues with a little lack of suspense, but overall like the adaptations.
so can we start by saying that we
Jay: Yes, yes—swoon.
the movie was more focused on the larger global conflict and highlighted the physicality of the dauntless as their tie to the larger world
Vin: There was a lot less focus on internal conflict. They simplified Tris’ personal conflicts and the conflicts between the Dauntless initiates.
Jay: There were scenes between the Dauntless initiates in the book that were painful to read so I prefer the movie simplification in some ways. I agree though—for example Eric was more of just a meathead in the movie, not someone who was psychologically torturing the initiates.
Vin: Yeah, they also took out any animosity between Tris and her friend group—like they changed that part of the book where Tris' friend ends up claiming the enemy flag, even though Tris really won the capture the flag game. You didn’t really see how hard it was to compete against your own group.
I also noticed that they took out a lot of her family conflict. They made her parents more understanding and supportive and gave any lines that involved judgment of her new Dauntless attitude to other characters. I actually thought the effect was to really focus less on the faction philosophies, which is strange because that seems to be the real heart of the book.
Sree: It definitely seemed that the heart of the movie was the war and political conflicts. They might switch that up in the next movies and take a closer look at the factions and the philosophies that divide them. Also, the focus on physicality kind of shows how the Dauntless were being trained to be robots, soldiers as part of the war.
great adaptation: the fear landscape
Sree: This was so much better in the movie. They definitely simplified how they portrayed Tris getting through her final fear landscape, but I thought it made more sense. It really showed how she had to adapt to avoid being recognized as Divergent.
Vin: I actually didn’t think it made much sense in the book. I thought the movie fixed it really. In the book I remember thinking that she didn’t seem to be adapting very much at all and that she was probably going to get caught.
Sree: I think in the book it was supposed to be as though she couldn’t do anything else in the heat of the moment, but she went slow enough to not catch anyone’s attention. But, yeah, I think it was better in the movie.
Jay: That scene with Four in her fear landscape was hilarious. Awkward. But hilarious.
cool effects: chicago looks awesome
Sree: That zipline scene was intense! I was freaked out not knowing where the end was going to be—I kept thinking it was the end and she was going to run into one of those buildings! By the way, how are they are supposed to use that break—you couldn’t even see it while you’re attached to the line!
Vin: Okay any Chicagoan should see this movie! I love seeing future Chicago-scapes—I only sat through Transformers 3 for that reason. They do an awesome job of using the city in Divergent. I love seeing the ruins of our current landmarks. And giant Lake Michigan turned into a marsh is actually the worst nightmare of the Midwest. Even though the Dauntless training area is indoors, I felt like this movie was packed with views of the city. I can count seeing this movie/reading this book as supporting local business, right?
not so great: lack of suspense
Vin: Why did they decide to let you know from the very beginning of the movie that the Erudite were working with the Dauntless? That was a big reveal in the book that gave it a lot of intensity.
Jay: There were so many things that were made so clear that were huge surprises in the book. Like the head of the Erudite (played by Kate Winslet) being the “bad guy” or the total lack of impact when they reveal that Tris’ mom was Dauntless.
Sree: It seems like another area of simplifying. They made it clear to the audience what was happening by spelling it out from the beginning.
Jay: Yeah, but I think they were just treating the audience as stupid.
Sree: Yeah, it’s a weird choice. I guess it’s also again to bring the focus on the more global conflict rather than keeping the movie’s focus on the Dauntless. I mean in the book you don’t even know that being Divergent is as deviant as it is—it was pretty clear in the movie that it was something she should be worried about.
Vin: Even the trailers for this movie gave a lot away. I read the book after having already seen the trailers and I have to say that I didn’t really appreciate that they totally give away who Four is in that two-minute preview!
Sree: Maybe they were just going for the core audience, who has already read the books?
Jay: It was pretty big-budget for that.
Vin: I don’t get it.
Jay: The reviews have more issues with the story than the movie itself.
Sree: That’s silly. I mean, they loved Hunger Games and that story is a dystopian that takes some suspension of disbelief too.
that one issue aside—we still liked it. so what’s with the 40% rating on rottentomatoes.com?
Sree: Ugh! The third book of this series does not need to be shown in two movies! (Same for Mockingjay by the way.)
Vin: Note to Hollywood—it is only appropriate to turn 800-page books into two-part movies!
another two-part ending?
oh well—this was a fun movie, so we’re in for the next part of the series!