Last night RT's Elisa and DJ had the pleasure of attending an advanced screening of one of the most anticipated book-to-film adaptations of the year: Divergent! Below are their thoughts and many, many feelings about the film, which releases nationwide this Friday, March 21.

Photo of the Divergent movie poster

It's finally here!

DJ: Neil Burger’s adaptation of Veronica Roth’s hit novel is a sleek and appropriately violent film that hits the major points of the book and introduces audiences to a surprisingly relatable dystopian world. The film possesses a warm, golden palette that contrasts well with the otherwise grim story. Shailene Woodley’s performance as Tris is a bit stiff in the first half, but Woodley seems to find her footing toward the end. Her and Theo James’s chemistry is palpable, though the cheesy dialogue often hinders their romantic scenes.

Speaking of which, while the script is rather faithful to the source material, it certainly isn’t free of flaws. The most glaring issue is the science and explanation behind the Factions and the oppressed society Kate Winslet’s Jeanine is so desperate to maintain. The screenwriters have stripped the science so bare that it just doesn’t make sense. Author Veronica Roth made it work in the novels, but the screenwriters have tried too hard. Still, Divergent is a pulse-pounding film.

A photo of a movie theater seat with a sign on it that reads 'Dauntless Faction, Grey Wristbands Only'

If movie theaters were factions.

Elisa: I was thrilled to see the film adaptation of Divergent. I felt that while Roth's writing wasn't groundbreaking, her world and story were so captivating that it would translate beautifully on screen. And in many ways it did. The post-apocalyptic Chicago filmmakers created was absolutely stunning and was by far my favorite aspect of the film. The zip line scene and capture the flag scene, which utilize Chicago's landscape, were so much fun to watch. But Divergent is a big story and many of the secondary characters became lost in the film. What happened with Al, Peter, Will and Christina still happens in the movie, but because filmmakers had to condense a nearly 500 page novel into a ~two hour film, some things got lost. I didn't feel as connected to the secondary characters as I did in the book, I wasn't as emotionally affected during Al's dramatic scenes as I was when I read it in the novel (then, I nearly cried). DJ's critique of the science in the film is spot on and audiences may find it difficult to suspend their disbelief. In short, if you've read the book, the movie is worth your time. But if you haven't read the book, you may not appreciate Divergent.

Do you plan on seeing Divergent this weekend? Have you already caught an advanced screening? Tell us in the comments! And for more young adult stories, be sure to visit our Everything Young Adult page! 

Tags: RT Daily Blog, Young Adult
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