VERONICA ROTH, YOU CANNOT PUT YOURSELF IN A MOVIE BASED ON YOUR BOOK. JUST NO.
About halfway through the film, Dauntless initiates burst through a door on the roof to go zip-lining across the abandon Chicago skyline. The first initiate to burst through said door: Veronica Roth.
Okay, so regardless of that snafu, was the movie good?
Firstly, when your source material is a YA novel written by Veronica Roth, you’ve got to set your bar pretty low. Divergent was filled with moments I enjoyed reading: the tension during Dauntless initiate scenes, the world building about the different faction. But there were also plenty of times I laughed out loud and thought: “what? seriously Tris?” I chalked it up to the fact that Tris is a teenage girl so maybe she has no common sense. But as Divergent reaches its climax, the melodrama piles on. This is something maybe much harder to notice in a book where you can take breaks, or at least pause and digest what’s just happened. In the movie, you can’t. It’s much harder to become immersed in a film narrative than a book, so if you snap out of it for a second, more seconds go by where you are checked out. You can’t really re-immerse yourself in the paragraph you broke focus within. The fault with the book is amplified. People die and then more people die and then more people die and you’re like, “what the hell?!?” and then the films over.
But okay, we’ll chalk that up to the inherent issues with the plot of the book and forgive Divergent of its sins… NOPE.
The movie could’ve been much better, but it seems like they didn’t care about making a movie. They wanted to make a product.
But you say, “Erisa, you’re stupid. That’s the whole point these days. They’ve got to make something they can SELL. SELL TO TWEENS.”
It made no sense to me why they would include music from our world in the Divergent world. Ellie Goulding’s music took me completely out of the narrative. I was digging the Junkie XL score, but everytime I heard Ellie Goulding’s voice, it was like nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to go up to the Divergent producers and say, “Did you know people go to see movies that are enjoyable, not just movies that feature music by their favorite singer? Also, whose favorite singer is Ellie Goulding?” (Let’s not mention the main selling point for me seeing Tron: Legacy was the fact that Daft Punk did the music, but also I think we can all agree Daft Punk > Ellie Goulding).
Divergent is failing to reach its money-making goal, and it’s not failing because The Hunger Games already exists. It’s failing because it’s not as good as The Hunger Games, in both plot and execution. A lot of people didn’t like the shaky cam in The Hunger Games, but at least it was a style choice enacted by the director, not a ploy to get tweens to watch the film. There was no style, no subtlety, and no story in Divergent. It was just not good.