After reading Divergent I was really excited to see the movie because the story seemed perfect for a film adaptation. I’m sad to say, however, that they really missed the boat on this one. So many aspects of the book were left underdeveloped that the movie ended up a shallow, formulaic adaptation of a solid young adult novel.
Problem number one for me was that the whole movie felt rushed. Instead of cutting some subplots out in order to do justice to the overall story, the makers tried to cram in every single thing that happened in the whole book. Unfortunately this left a story line that, while inclusive of all plot points, felt disjointed. The jump from climax to climax also left no time for character development. In the end we are left with a list of events that read like bullet points, executed by characters with no time to do anything but jump on trains and punch each other in the face.
Some more minor problems I had with it were:
1) Shailene Woodley was OBVIOUSLY wearing makeup! I know we all know that actors are always wearing makeup, but they could have made it a little more subtle. If her original faction won’t even look in a mirror, I”m pretty sure they’re not going around caking on the mascara.
2) They neglected to kill several of the people who were killed and/or severely hurt early on in the book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just itching for more blood and gore in entertainment. It’s just that when you omit all these deaths, you lower the stakes of the whole story. You change fundamentally the world in which the characters are living, and I just don’t like that.
This movie was a missed opportunity. I’d definitely still recommend the books though!