Divergent takes the best points from the opening of the book trilogy and sets the stage for a great story, doing so in an entertaining fashion.
When I heard that Divergent was going to be made in to a movie, I wasn’t sure what to think. I had read the books (and enjoyed them) yet the marketing was not grabbing my enthusiasm. I felt like the marketing was focusing on the mind trips from the tests that characters go through in the story, rather than other aspects of the story.
In fact, the marketing made me rather blah about wanting to see the film, so I was in no rush. I did not hurtle towards the movie theater on opening day nor was I hovering over my remote to rent it the moment it was available.
But I had time on a lazy Thursday afternoon and pulled it up, and I have to say that going in with no expectations, I found Divergent to be entertaining and the story engaging.
Despite having read the books, it had been a while so most of the story felt fresh instead of being reminded of aspects of the book. (I had that problem with the first Hunger Games movie, where I watched the movie way too soon after reading the books. I’ll never do that again because it ruined the movie for me.)
But Divergent starts the story succinctly explaining how their society works and what the different factions are. Pretty soon, we learn about how people in the different factions are truly ruled by their virtues. And how our main character, Tris (Shailene Woodley), does not only conform, but is a bit of a threat to this established society being a Divergent.
As the story develops, it does so at a great pace… not too fast, not too slow. And the relationships that exist or develop between characters seem to be fairly natural and it’s just a great story, all in all.
I was worried while watching the movie how they’re going to end this film, considering it’s based on the beginning of a book trilogy, but it seemed to end in a good spot that makes the film a good stand-alone chapter.
Director Neil Burger took the most important points from the story and put them on screen eloquently.
Other cast includes Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer and the author of the books herself, Veronica Roth, who made an appearance in the film as an insurgent.
Overall, I’d give the movie a popcorn 8! It has something to say, says it in an entertaining fashion and it isn’t hobbled by the fact that it came from a trilogy book series.